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LINE limitations

While mainland Chinese people are under pressure from a 'network effect' to use the WeChat messaging service, those in Taiwan seem to be having a similar 'network effect' around LINE, so if you have Chinese contacts from both sides of the Strait you will probably want to subscribe to both services.

You may wish to be aware of these limitations of LINE which I have observed:

  1. The "Lite" version of LINE is not able to port its chat history across devices or to/from the larger version of LINE. This is still true after the May 2019 update which says "You can now log in to LINE and LINE Lite at the same time." Yes you can, but only if you log in to the full version of LINE first---if you start with the Lite version and then install the full version, the Lite version will spontaneously delete history as soon as the full version is registered. You can however now use an extra copy of the Lite version on a second device in much the same way as you can use the Web version---this won't delete history on the original device provided you select the correct option during setup, but you still won't get that history copied to the new device. The only supported way to copy history to new devices is by using the more resource-heavy non-Lite version and backing up to Google.
  2. You can rename LINE contacts (which is useful if their self-chosen nicknames are confusing and you're not able to keep chat history to remind you who it is), but:
    • the new names are limited to 20 characters (so you can't put "Sam's friend Bing in Berlin" unless you have a good shorthand---I suppose it's not so bad for users fully literate in Chinese characters), and
    • sometimes the system spontaneously reverts some of your contact names to their self-chosen nicknames, especially during migration to a new device, which is particularly unhelpful if it coincides with a history loss.
  3. The only clue you have that someone might have blocked you is you no longer see "R" (read) acknowledgements against messages you send. But that might also mean they just didn't open your chat (and may still have seen part of your most recent message in the chats-list or system notifications).
  4. If you choose to use the full version of LINE, beware pressing "Like" on Timeline posts: by default your entire contact list can see every post you pressed "Like" on (this behaviour is different from that of WeChat Moments, which makes your "Like" visible only to mutually-shared contacts).

Pictures sent via LINE are always converted to JPG, and the recipient must save (to a folder called Pictures/LINE) to access resolutions higher than the zoomed-out screen---this screen's "pinch to zoom" does not add more detail.

Disclaimer: The notes on this page are provided in the hope that they are useful, but they are not official instructions and may contain mistakes. Your use of them is at your own risk.


All material © Silas S. Brown unless otherwise stated.
Bing is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp.
Google is a trademark of Google LLC.
WeChat is a trademark of Tencent Holdings Limited.
Any other trademarks I mentioned without realising are trademarks of their respective holders.