App Clips for iOS 14: There's an app for that, but you don't have to download it

The App Clips feature aims to give you access to the right app when you need it.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown

Here's a look at App Clips in iOS 14. 

Sarah Tew/ CNET

Apple announced App Clips for the new iOS 14 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. App Clips let users preview "small parts" of apps quickly without downloading them. The new feature is meant to help users discover more of what the App Store has to offer, without cluttering the home screen. 

When you scan a QR code, a dedicated App Clip code or NFC tags, your iPhone will launch the App Clip card. You can tap Open to launch the app without downloading it. App Clips are compatible with  Apple Pay  and Sign in with Apple. This means you don't have to make an account with an app or use your credit card information. Users will be able to pay for takeout or parking and learn more about local businesses just by scanning.

You'll also be able to open App Clips in Messages, Maps and Safari, according to Apple. The feature is similar to Android's "Instant Apps." 

Apple focused on app accessibility and organization with home screen widgets and a new App Library that builds on the previous app folder. The new App Library will also house recently used App Clips.

Watch this: App Clips get you the apps you need right when you need them

App Clips will come with iOS 14. The new OS launches in developer beta Monday, public beta in July and will be made available in its entirety this fall. 

WWDC is being held virtually for the first time this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.