What are App Clips & How do they Work?

App clips are the lighter version of an application that allows you to perform app-related tasks in a jiffy. It is available on iOS 14 and above. 

According to Apple, an app clip gives access to the app’s functionality whenever and wherever users need it. It is a smaller and lighter version of an app that can be used without downloading the entire app. It can be accessed when receiving a website banner, Quick Response (QR) code, Near Field Communication (NFC) Tag, etc. 

With the help of an app clip, you can perform a particular task instantly, like paying for parking, previewing the features of the game, ordering food, and much more. If you like the features of app clips and how it works, you can install the application permanently on your device. 

How are App Clips different from Apps?

Even though an app clip is a smaller version of its full-fledged application (Instant App), both of them differ in three major points. 


An application is found in the App Store to download, whereas an App Clip is not available in the App Store. Usually, App Clips come embedded or shared and are displayed at the right moment before the customers. 

Therefore, to install an app, you need to visit the App Store, while an App Clip keeps the user’s journey outside it. 


The developers can develop multiple App Clips for an app based on its different functions and represent the App Clip most suited to the customer’s requirements at that moment. 

For instance, there can be different App Clips of a chain of restaurants that offers different services such as ordering online, planning the time of delivery, online payment, etc. At the same time, different App Clips also show menus depending on the restaurant’s location and specials. 

However, an Instant App does not change and offers the same content each time the user opens it for different contexts. Users have to navigate from one feature to another to perform the desired tasks.   

Account Creation 

Since App Clips allow users to access a particular service immediately, you can skip account creation formalities for every app. It supports payment processing as long as you Sign In with Apple and Apple Pay to enjoy such features. In this way, it ensures easy onboarding and helps save time and effort. 

On the contrary, in an Instant App, you need to create an account and share your details to reach the core features. Here, the onboarding and navigation to the desired service take time. 

Features of App Clips

Some prominent features of app clips are the following:

  • Small in size, preferably under 10MB. 
  • Launches at the bottom of the device’s screen 
  • Gives a chance to access a specific part of an app and utilize particular services
  • Not downloaded from the app store but come embedded or shared
  • Doesn’t require sign up process 
  • Easy onboarding 

What are the major benefits of app clips?

The foremost benefit of App Clips is it saves time. App Clip empowers you to enjoy an app’s service without downloading it from the App Store and creating an account. Thus, it minimizes the time and effort of app usage.

 Other benefits of App Clips are:

  • Gives a firsthand and seamless experience of an application. Depending upon it, customers can decide if they want to download the app permanently on their devices. 
  • Offers quick access to the desired service and delivers the core functionality to the best and optimal user experience.
  • Allows using an app’s services for a one-time use without downloading 

How does App Clip Works?

If an application has an App Clip, it will appear at the bottom of your iPhone or iPad, and the device will prompt you to open it. 

It can be understood with the below example:

You are in the parking lot and need to pay for the parking. However, you do not have the parking payment app installed on your device. It is when you can scan the QR code, NFC tag, or App Clip code at the parking lot. Immediately an App Clip card will flash at the bottom of your screen, compelling you to open it.

Now you can open that App Clip and use Apple Pay to complete the payment. Once the payment is completed, the App Clip will disappear from the screen. You don’t have to delete it manually. 

In this way, an App Clip seems more efficient and time-saving. Apart from parking payments, it is widely used for services like paying for food, renting a motorbike, creating a wish list, etc. 

Where to Find App Clips?

App Clips on the Screen

When you visit a website from your iPhone, you may find App Clips advertised at the top of the screen. Likewise, if an app supports App Clips, you can open it and get the firsthand experience instantly without downloading. You can also find direct links to App Clips, such as Messages. 

Apart from the screen, App Clips are also found in the real world, like fuel pumps and parking meters, for easy payment. Moreover, there are App Clips like QR codes and NFC tags that you can access with an iPhone camera as soon they come in close proximity.

Some App Clips may prompt you to download the full version after you have used their services, such as finishing the initial level of a game. You may also find a download link with App Clips to get its full version. You may ignore it if you don’t use the app again anytime soon. 

App Clips from App Library

If you have used an app and want to access it again or download its full version, check the App Library. On the last page of your device’s Home Screen, you can find all the recently used App Clips. 

Remember, App Clips from the Home Screen disappear after a period of inactivity. You cannot delete it manually like a standard app.

Mani Pandey
Mani Pandey

Mani Pandey is an app marketing expert with over 5 years of experience in the industry. She has extensive knowledge about App Store Optimization (ASO) and loves to share all her expertise by writing informational content.She is passionate about helping businesses reach their true potential and maximise their ROI. She also loves to travel around the world to explore different cultures and meet new people.