App Clips: How you can make your iOS app better

App Clips: How you can make your iOS app better

At WWDC20 Apple announced the new iOS 14 and, alongside it, some new features it will support. For me, one of the most interesting features among them were App Clips. Why?

There is an app for pretty much everything you need, but sometimes you either do not know that an app you need exists, or you just do not have the time to search for it. Even when you do find it, you could lack the required space to download it on your phone, or you simply do not want to download an app to use only one feature.

That is where App Clips come in.

What are App Clips?

As one of the main spotlights of iOS 14, an App Clip is a smaller version of an app that includesonly a certain part of its features. They are fast and lightweight so users can open them quicklywhen they need them to perform everyday tasks, without downloading and installing the full app.After a period of inactivity, the system automatically removes an App Clip from the user’s deviceto free up space.

A single app can have multiple App Clips, and inside them you can offer the user to downloadthe full app from the App Store. If a user installs an App Clip’s corresponding full app, the fullapp replaces the App Clip. After that, every invocation launches the full app instead of the AppClip, and the user gets the functionality of the App Clip within the full app.

App Clips can be used in many cases, like paying for parking, renting a scooter, orderingtake-out from a restaurant etc. Here is an example of how you can use App Clips to order adrink:

How to discover App Clips?

A key part of the App Clips experience is how you discover them. The image below shows how this can be done:

App Clip Codes App Clip Codes

App Clip Codes

The best way for your users to discover your App Clip. It’s visually beautiful and distinct, so when someone sees one, they’ll know there’s an App Clip waiting for them. Each App Clip Code encodes a URL and can incorporate an NFC tag, so the code can be tapped on or scanned by the camera.

Learn more


NFC Tags

Users can tap their iPhone on NFC tags that you place at specific locations to launch an App Clip, even from the lock screen.


QR Codes

Place QR codes at specific locations to let users launch an App Clip by scanning the code with the Barcode reader or the Camera app.


Safari App Banner

When your webpage is configured with a Smart App Banner for App Clips, users can just tap to open it from there.


Links in Messages

When you enable sharing within your App Clip, users can send it via iMessage, and the person who receives it can open it right from Messages.

Group 3

Place Cards in Maps

When your App Clip is associated with a specific location, you can register your App Clip to appear on a place card in Maps so users can open it from there.

Group 2

Recently Used App Clips

App Clips don’t clutter the Home Screen, but recently used App Clips can be found and launched from the Recents category of the new App Library.

Why are App Clips good for your business?

If you own an iOS app, you should consider adding App Clips to it. Here are some of the benefits:

  • The application will be more accessible
    As mentioned above, there are many ways to detect your App Clips. Currently, users can find your app by searching for it in the App Store, visiting your website, etc. Each of these methods assumes that customers already know about your app or approximately know what they want. With App Clips you have the ability to serve them a part of your app exactly when they need it, increasing your app’s overall availability.
  • Getting new users
    Some users may not see how your app can benefit them and will not download it. With App Clips you offer them the opportunity to experience only the parts they can benefit from. Afterwards, if they want, they can download the full app.
  • Improving business performance
    You can use App Clips to improve your business performance and reduce employee workload. For example, if you have a coffee shop you can use App Clips in the aforementioned way and thus reduce the queue for ordering and payment. Since the App Clip is small and requires no download, a lot of people could see it as a service improvement.
  • Multiple App Clip experiences
    Some apps provide multiple experiences and App Clips can be configured to support each of them in a special way. For example, a coffee shop app may support multiple shops. App Clips make it possible to create a unique experience for each coffee shop through a single customizable App Clip.
  • Notifications and locations
    App Clips use a special kind of notification and location permissions. These permissions are enabled by default, unlike classic push notifications, and are valid for up to eight hours after each App Clip launch. You can use these notifications to inform users about certain situational actions, such as showing them a push notification that their coffee is ready in one of the coffee shops nearby.

What should you avoid?

If you are considering adding App Clips to your app here are some of the things you should avoid:

  • Using App Clips solely for marketing purposes
    App Clips should provide real value and help people accomplish tasks. Do not use them as a means to advertise services or products, and do not display ads in your App Clip.
  • Complexity
    It is very important that App Clips can be launched quickly on the device and therefore their size is limited to 10 MB. Keep App Clips simple, and save complex features, design, and navigation for the full app.
  • Requiring people to create an account
    If you cannot avoid this, try to limit the amount of information people need to provide, and think about asking people to create accounts after they finish the task.
  • Forcing people to install your app
    People should be able to complete a task without installing the full app. You can recommend your app, but consider the right time to do so and do it in a polite way.
  • Using notifications for information unrelated to the task
    Use notifications only to help people complete a task. Do not use them to promote or recommend your app.

From a business perspective, App Clips are designed to get more users into the funnel and to keep them engaged. So, if you find that interesting but do not know how you can use it for your app feel free to contact us.

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