Your iPhone is going to change forever, and look and feel a whole lot different when iOS 14 launches later this year. You now get the option for homescreen widgets, there’s an app drawer, and improved privacy controls.  

When it comes to how you actually use your apps, well that’s changing too, with the introduction of App Clips. It’s something like Instant app on Android – slices of an app that gives you access to some of the features of an app without having to download and sign in to the full app. 

App Clips are going to let you do quick actions like grab a cup of coffee, make a restaurant reservation, or get your latest piece of home tech set up, without ever having to add a new app to your phone, according to Jason Cipriani in his article for cnet.  

We’re going to go through what these App Clips actually are, how you’ll get them, and what functions you get out of them.  

What exactly are iPhone App Clips?

An App Clip is a mini version of your apps, giving you the main functions of what the app can do. 

Think about the process you need to go through to get an electric scooter on the street. You need to search for the company’s app in the App Store, get in downloaded and installed, set up your account, then add your payment information. It takes a few minutes and can be a pain when you want to get moving.  

Enter the App Clip – in this scenario you’d only have to scan a QR code or use the NFC functionality to tap your phone on the scooter you want to take, and you get a card pop up on your iPhone screen. 

What are App Clips? Image credit: bigmonster.net

Rather than having to deal with the full app and everything it can do, like a map of scooters that you probably don’t need when you’re stood next to one, you get the App Clip that gives you just enough functions to do what you need there and then – rent the scooter. Sticking with this example, the scooter app would use Apple Pay to complete your payment processing. 

I want to create an account; if it’s not the full app, how do I do it? 

The “Sign in with Apple” feature is enabled when you use Clips, which you probably got to grips with when iOS 13 came out last year. With the service, you get an account created for you, links it to your Apple ID, and negates the need for you to create yet another username and password combo. You can even keep your email address anonymous and keep your personal information out of the hands of companies, meaning you should get less spam landing in your inbox, too. 

How do payments work with App Clips?

App Clips links up to your Apple Pay account, so the money will come from any of the debit or credit cards you’ve uploaded.  

What’s the process to add an App Clip?

There’s a few different processes for adding an App Clip to your iPhone. Apple released a keynote video in which it demonstrated how to add a Clip through a website, whilst chatting in iMessage, from an Apple Maps business listing, by using an NFC terminal, or using your camera to scan a QR code.  

There are even codes that are specially created for App Clips so that you know it’s adding a pared-down version of the app when you scan. 

Once you’ve checked out the details of an App Clip, which you’ll see pip up from the bottom edge of your screen and look like a small card, you tap Open and the clip gets added directly to your phone.

Now the Clip’son your phone, you don’t need to add it again the next time you need it, unless you chose to delete the Clip after you finished up what you were doing. 

Where on my phone are App Clips stored? 

You’re not going to get a homescreen filled with these App Clips, they sit in the new App Library that comes brand new on the iOS 14. 

The App Library is where all of your installed apps and Clips get organized, something like a storage drawer, and they even get categorized. 

Why do I need App Clips? 

When you want to get on the waitlist for the cool restaurant around the corner, reserve a table at a bar, or get your smart devices set up quickly, you can use App Clips. 

At this point, it’s in the hand of app developers to find new and innovative ways to take advantage of App Clips. It might work for finding out the tune playing in a bar or for doing a super quick upload of a video on to your TikTok account. 

What if I want the full app? Do I just have to deal with the App Clip once I’ve got it? 

Whenever you need it, you can still go into App Store and get the full app if you need some of the extra functions that the App Clip doesn’t offer. Once you’ve got your smart security camera set up at home with the manufacturer’s Clip, you probably at some point want to get it hooked up to all of your other smart home tech. Just find the full app in the App Store and you get all the functions available. 

We don’t know everything about App Clips yet. The release of iOS 14 is set for this fall but developers have access to the beta versions at the moment. There are some cool features in there, such as customizable widgets and other stuff that we’ll keep you posted about.