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What Are App Clips?

Subharun Mukherjee 18+ years of experience leading product strategy, Go-To-Market (GTM), new market entry, value-based sales, analyst relations, and customer experience programs. Expertise in Financial Services, eCommerce, on-demand services, and the SaaS industry.
What Are App Clips?

App clips are lightweight versions of full-size iOs applications that can provide immediate service to someone needing to perform a task or transaction.  Think of it like a mobile fast food restaurant, with the app clip being a ketchup packet. It’s a way for the customer to get what they need when they need it without having to buy a full bottle of the condiment — or, download the full app. 
App clips are the solution to the awkwardness of forcing customers to download and sign up for an app before they can reap its benefits. When they’re in a pinch, the clip can help them conveniently and easily rent a car, order food, make a purchase, or do any other number of tasks.
With so many apps on the market, an app clip can help drive business to yours. Below, we’ll break down how this feature can help your business. 

How to Use App Clips

App clips are a quick way for a customer to experience what your app has to offer when they need it the most. Even before they’ve downloaded your app, clips allow them to use it to fulfill an immediate need like ordering food or getting a ride. After they’ve gotten what they needed, they are then prompted to download the full application. 

When do people use app clips? 

You can create app clips for pretty much any type of app, though they may work best with apps that provide a quick service or instructions to perform a task. Some situations when app clips may be useful include: 

  • Ordering a meal at a restaurant
  • Hailing a ride from an on-demand taxi service
  • Installing a new appliance or software
  • Getting a rental bike or scooter
  • Making an ecommerce purchase 
  • Ordering drinks at a coffee shop or bar
  • Paying for parking
  • Buying tickets to an event

How Do App Clips Work? 

App clips can be triggered in a few different ways. Scanning a QR code can bring up a prompt to open a clip, or searching for a restaurant or food in Google Maps can also open one up. App clips can also be sent through iMessage. 
The app clips open in the bottom half of the phone screen with instructions telling users what they can get if they open. If they choose to interact, the full-screen app clip will appear and allow them to complete their action without downloading the full app. 

For example, food chain Panera Bread uses this feature. Someone putting the company’s name into their GPS application would be promoted with the app clip, which upon opening they can use to order and pay for their meal. 

App Clips For Marketers

App clips can be a powerful tool for marketers when used right. By providing a sneak peek into your offerings, you can show users the value in downloading the real thing. 

Use all invocations

There are several ways to trigger app clips. Optimizing your app for each type can help make sure that users are seeing the full value of your product. Here are a few of the ways an app clip can be triggered: 

  • Scanning QR codes
  • Clicking a link in the Maps app
  • Tapping a smart banner
  • Tapping a link in the Messages app 

Convert users 

When using the clip, users should be able to see the value in downloading your full app. You’ll want to make sure your branding is clear, simple and accessible, and that the icon and description on the clip matches your full version. Having clear branding can help establish the connection between the clip and the full-sized app. 
You’ll also want to make sure you provide a clear, direct description of what the app clip is doing and how to download the full app. Include a clear call to action encouraging users to download. 

Benefits of App Clips

App clips can let users see the value of your offerings quickly and easily. First and foremost, they offer convenience and a quick solution to a problem. If someone is in immediate need of a rental car, they can get one booked without going through the process of downloading and signing up for an app. Then, they can see what your app has to offer and consider downloading it for repeat future business. 


App clips streamline the mobile funnel to make it easy for a customer to go from need to purchase. Someone walking past a rental scooter might not be tempted by the prospect of downloading an app, signing up, entering card information, and purchasing their ride. However, an app clip synced to Apple Pay could have them cruising in seconds. 


These clips come with a number of safeguards to protect the user, which can instill confidence in the person who uses your clip and, ideally, downloads the corresponding app. Through the app clip, the owner can’t access any of the user’s data from other apps or Apple Music, and continuous location access can not be granted.  

Demonstrated value 

It’s a win-win: the user gets a quick and simple solution to their problem, and your business gets a customer who may return. App clips are ways for a company to prove their usefulness to the customer by providing them a service at the exact time they need it. 

Downside of App Clips

App clips are a new Apple feature that is only available on Apple products with iOS 14.3 or later installed. Because of this, Android users, Apple users with iPhone models older than a 6s or those slow to update may be left out of the opportunity to experience your app.  
In the world of smartphones, convenience is key. It’s no longer enough to offer base-level service — if you don’t provide the quick and easy solutions that the customer wants, someone else will. 
So much is the need for speed that 78% of consumers have reported abandoning a transaction when asked to download an app to continue1. In those situations, an app clip can not only help you complete the transaction, but it can also impress a potential loyal customer. 

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Last updated on May 16, 2024