Introducing App Clips:

An App Clip is a small part of your app which shows up to users when the app is not installed on their device. Its purpose is to achieve smaller tasks like for example if you want to make an order payment in a new restaurant that you visited and their app is not installed on your device, you could just use App Clip to make the payment.

Benefits:

Earlier, to use any features provided by an app, it had to be installed which would lead to unnecessary storage space getting used. 

To overcome this problem Apple has introduced the concept of App Clips using which any app developer can have app clips for their apps for multiple features in the app. This rids the user of the mandatory process of completely installing an app for a particular feature. Instead, they just could make use of the app clip and achieve their needs. Another example where this could be much useful is renting a bike,if a user wishes to try a new bike service introduced then they can just use the app clip instead of the app and try the bike once.

How to access App Clips:

App Clips can be accessed using several ways, in a low level, it’s just a web link when shared with the device and the respective App Clip opens. An App Clip can be opened through:

  • NFC tag
  • Visual code link QR code
  • Cards in Maps
  • Smart App banner on a website
  • Sharing a link in iMessage
  • Siri nearby suggestions for registered business

Things a Developer should know:

  • App Clips are part of your app. They can be submitted to AppStore only along with the actual app and not separately.
  • If the user already has a particular app, it opens instead of the App Clip. App Clips show up only when a particular app is not available in the device.
  • The same files and assets used in the App can be shared with App Clip as well.
  • The data used/gathered in the App Clip can be transferred to the main App as well.
  • The flow used in the App Clip should be maintained even in the main App for a better user experience.

Workflow:

The following image will explain how App Clips are invoked, and followed by the key components involved.

  • Invocation URL

It is a URL that we have to configure in App Store Connect to launch an app clip for our app. It has additional data along with the URL. When a device encounters any such links, the system will verify the app clip’s configuration and the invocation URL and display an App Clip Card.

  • App Clip Card 

App Clip Card is a short view that shows additional information about the app and has a button to open the App Clip. Also, it has options to manage the data like Location, Notification,etc.

  • App Clip 

App Clip doesn’t show all the features as in the actual app but has a flow similar to that of the actual app from where the user can perform required actions.

Limitations:

  • App Clip’s size should be limited to less than 10 MB (post app thinning process).
  • Once an App Clip is opened, notifications can be sent up to 8 hours.

Things to keep in mind:

  • App Clips should be designed in order to keep minimum friction for Users for a better experience.
  • Always keep a handy button to get the app from AppStore at the end. ie, once the main purpose of the AppClip (check for possible ways to show the button for download and choose as you desire) gets completed.
  • Prefer Apple Pay whenever possible for payment.
  • Prefer Login with Apple option for login purpose to avoid unwanted flow of signup in the App Clips.

Privacy:

  • Permission to receive notification is enabled by default with the App Clip. But there will be an option shown to manage(turn on/off) it in the App Clip screen.
  • Also, permission for location service is also authorized by default, which again can be managed. (Apple had introduced a new location verification service specifically for App Clip purpose for this default permission.)
  • App Clip can also request permission to use Bluetooth, Camera and Microphone.
  • The data used in the App Clip will get deleted after a few hours of usage.

Conclusion:

App Clips, in short, are a short efficient version of your App’s features separated out from the app but without the need of actually installing it on the device, which could help in various ways for diverse apps. It could in-turn make the user install the app if their experience with the App Clip is satisfactory.

The above blog has been collaborated on by Bharath R from our Tech Team. For more such articles, stay tuned to Square Off’s Blog space.

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