App Clips in iOS 14: Use an app without downloading via QR Code or NFC

  • Last Updated: July 21, 2020

  • During its WWDC event, Apple previewed iOS 14 to be released this fall, but the most powerful announcement was ‘App Clips,’ where users can access parts of an app without having to download it or navigate the entire app via QR Code or an NFC tag. 

    Apple’s app clips are about making the usage of apps as seamless as possible. They are intended to be fast, fleeting, and eliminating the barrier to enter an app without downloading it from the App Store. 

    App clips in iOS 14 - Use an app without downloading via QR Code or an NFC tag


    App Clips in iOS 14: Now, use an app without downloading it via QR Code or an NFC tag

    Example of app clip in iOS 14 using an app via QR Code or an NFC tag


    According to Apple, an app clip is a small part of an app experience designed to be discovered the moment it is needed. 

    In other words, an app clip launches instantly and offers the specific service of an app to users without having to download the app from the App Store. They can be easily discovered and used by scanning a new Apple-designed app clip code, or through NFC tags or QR Codes, all with the security and privacy expected from apps. 

    Read how to scan a QR Code using an iPhone

    App clip in iOS 14


    Fundamentally, it provides a generic interface for a quick and seamless transition of apps into useful on-the-spot services. 

    For instance, let’s say, a user is trying to park their car at a meter. Typically, the user has to open an app dedicated to mark the parking spot, pay for it, and then close it. But, with app clips, the user can quickly load the part of the app where they pay for their spot by even skipping the manual credit card entry. This is done by signing in with their Apple ID included in the app clip. 

    App clips are associated with a particular product or business and load within seconds to complete a specific task, such as purchasing coffee or renting a scooter. 

    Read iOS 13 updates including QR Codes, Bluetooth, and NFC tags

    What are the advantages of app clips in iOS 14?

    Functionality of app clip in iOS 14


    Data privacy

    The primary advantage of using the app clip is how Apple has addressed data privacy concerns. App clips are essentially a way to run app code on demand, they are stopped from tapping into the user’s more sensitive data – like location and health information for example. 

    In addition, if the app clip is not used periodically, its data disappears automatically. 


    If a particular app clip is used regularly, perhaps one for their favorite sandwich at their neighborhood deli, the app clip’s lifetime is extended and it can get smarter. The app clip could cache the user’s last order and present it as a recommendation, to speed up the ordering process. 


    App clips can be sent as links in iMessage, popped up as a suggestion when browsing Safari, or may even appear in Siri’s Nearby suggestions. 

    With Apple bringing about this major update, businesses and marketers can now expect a surge in the usage of QR Codes and NFC tags to complete a task, follow on social media, or even unlock a coupon code since the app clips eliminate the need to download an app. 

    Even in cases where an app is already installed, an app clip will still be available and act as a shortcut to a section of the app without having to be launched or navigated. 

    The idea basically is – wherever a user may be on their device – or out, the app clip can be there, too. 

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    Content Marketing Strategist


    Tech-aficionado, curious about all things related to marketing, and an ardent junkie of The Office.

    This blog was originally published on July 21st, 2020 at 02:28 pm

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