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What are iOS 14’s App Clips and how do you use them?

Apple has gone to town with iOS 14, introducing a range of new features — such as Home-screen widgets and an App Library — that will almost certainly improve how we use our iPhones. This includes App Clips, an interesting addition that lets you use smaller, streamlined versions of apps without having to download them in full.

App Clips is designed to overcome any reluctance a user might have in trying new apps. Most of us have had an iPhone for some time now, so we’ve accumulated more than our fair share of apps and potentially don’t want to clog up our devices with any more. However, App Clips solves this problem by letting you add a more streamlined version of an app, while also hiding it away in the App Library, where it won’t take up valuable Home-screen real estate. In this article, we explain how to use and make the most of App Clips, from downloading clips for specific apps to removing them from your iPhone.

How do you use iOS 14’s App Clips?

Remember, app clips aren’t available from the App Store. Even with an app that does have a clip available for it, its page on the App Store will only let you download it in full.

Instead, you can access app clips through a variety of sources. Either you click on a link contained in a Safari webpage, in a message, or on Maps, or you scan a QR code using your iPhone’s camera. You can also download app clips using near-field communication (NFC), although this is only available for the iPhone 7 and later models.

Given that app clips are downloadable through various sources, there’s no single database, page, or repository containing all the possible clips you can find. You’ll have to find them yourselves, using web and social media searches. More often than not, you’ll probably stumble upon them.

If there is a new app you’re interested in, going to its webpage using Safari is usually a good way of finding out if it has a clip available. If there is an app clip, you’ll most likely see a download link in a banner at the top of its homepage.

Clicking on this link will bring up a sub-window at the bottom of the screen. Tap Open or Play to download the clip for the app. The app clip will launch soon after.

Using iOS 14’s App Clips

When using an app clip, you’ll occasionally see one of two banners appear, either at the top or bottom of the screen. These banners notify you that the app clip is “powered by” the full app, while they’ll also include a link to the full app on the App Store.

You can choose to ignore these, swiping up or down on the corresponding banner to remove it. However, while you can continue using an app clip indefinitely, remember that it will have significantly reduced functionality compared to the full app.

App clips will be downloaded to (and findable in) your App Library. You won’t be able to move them to your Home screen.

How to delete app clips from your iPhone

You also can’t delete app clips from your App Library by going to the library and holding down on the clip’s icon (like you can with normal apps). Instead, you have to go to Settings > App Clips to delete clips from your iPhone. From there, you can tap Remove All App Clips to delete all app clips. You can also tap on an individual clip, which will bring you to a new screen where you can delete it (Remove App Clip) or go to its page on the App Store.

If you remove an app clip from your iPhone, you’ll obviously have to find its download link all over again if you want to put it back on your device.

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Simon Chandler
Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London, UK. He covers technology and finance, contributing to such titles as Digital…
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