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Home / Tips and Tricks / iOS 14 will free your iPhone from apps you use only once. You don’t even download them

iOS 14 will free your iPhone from apps you use only once. You don’t even download them


Do you really need all these home screen apps? With iOS 14 on iPhone, Apple thinks you might not.

Angela Lang / CNET

Big changes come when you use your iPhone screen. Apple will release iOS 14 in the fall, adds widgets on your home screen and an app library, basically a pen for all icons, to help hold your screens. A new, sophisticated feature called Appklipp is part of this effort to cut back pages with app icons and folders.

Think of app clips as thumbnails that offer a subset of features you can find in any application. Without downloading or installing an entire app, you can still just use a “piece” of it for a basic and occasional purpose, like renting a tourist bike in a new city, booking your favorite restaurant or setting up your new one robot vacuum cleaner, all without having to install a new app every time.

Normally, you would only be able to access these features after downloading the entire app and in many cases creating a new account or logging in. App clips are similar Android’s Instant Apps, which, although announced years ago, never really caught on.

Let’s take a closer look at what app clips are, how you add them, and what all they can do.

screen-shot 2020/06/22-at-1-28-13-pm.png

App clips are about speed and convenience. When you really need access to an app you don’t have, you no longer have to download it and wait for it to install.


What are app clips for iPhone?

Think of app clips as miniature stairs, which offer the core feature of a larger app.

For example, the current process of doing something like unlocking an electric scooter requires you to find the company’s app in the App Store, download it, create an account, and then enter your payment information. It is a process that takes several minutes and is not very convenient.

With an app clip, however, you only need to scan a QR code or tap your phone against an NFC tag on the scooter you want to rent, for example to show a small card on your iPhone.

Instead of providing access to the full app’s functionality, such as a map of where all the available scooters are located, the app clip will only include what is necessary to unlock and rent the scooter. It will use Apple Pay to verify and secure your payment.


Logging in with Apple makes it easy to create a new account in an app.

Screenshot of Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

If it’s not the whole app, how do I create an account?

Clips will use Apple’s “Sign in with Apple“feature, which debuted last year with the launch of iOS 13. The service creates an account for you, associates it with your Apple ID, forgives the need for you to come up with a new password. And if you want, it can and by hiding your email address from the service, keeping your personal information private and keeping you from possibly getting more email spam.

How do you make payments in app clips?

App Clips uses any debit or credit card you have added to Apple Pay.

How do you add an app clip?

Adding an app clip to your iPhone can be done in several ways. In Apple’s key video, Apple demonstrated adding a clip from a website, in an iMessage conversation, to a business information on Apple Maps or by touching your phone to an NFC tag or scanning a QR code with the Camera app.

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Apple also created specialized App Clip codes that let you know that if you scan it, it adds to the miniaturized version of the app.

Once you’ve seen the information about an app clip, which pops up from the bottom of the screen like a small card, you can press Open to add the clip to your phone.

Once a clip has been added to your phone, you do not need to add it to your iPhone the next time you want to use it, unless, of course, you did not delete it after you were done.

App clip code

App clip codes will soon be everywhere.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Where can I find app clips I’ve added?

App clips will not ring your home screen like regular app icons do. Instead, you can find them in new App Library which also debuts in iOS 14.

The App library acts as an app drawer, organizes all installed apps and clips into folders based on category.

app library ios-14

The iOS 14 App Library hides your app clips.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

What are app clips useful for?

You can use app clips to join the waiting list at a nearby restaurant, book, or even go through the initial installation process for a connected device such as an Instant Pot or smart bulb.

It’s up to the developers to come up with new ways to use app clips with their apps. You may be able to use app clips to find out which song is playing, try a new photo filter, or upload a quick video to a social network.

Ideas-clip-ios 14.png

You can use app clips to see all types of information.


Am I stuck with just one app clip? Or can I upgrade to the entire app?

At any time, you can download and install the entire app if you need to do more than App Clip provides. For example, if you want to connect it to other services or have full control, you can install the full app from the App Store after installing your smart bulb.

There is still much to learn about app clips. Apple is coming release iOS 14 this fall, but if you have a developer account, you can help test beta right now. We have tested it and found one handful of features we love, including the new customizable widget and some has no one talking about right now.

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