iOS 14 may include Clips feature to try an app without downloading it

iPhone 11 home screen

Recent rumors have said that Apple might be adding support for “real” widgets on iOS 14 that you can place anywhere on your home screen, but that’s not the only major new feature that’s rumored for the next big iOS update.

A new iOS 14 feature is reportedly being worked on that would give you access to some features of a third-party app without having to take the time download and install it. That’s according to 9to5Mac, who say that this new API is being referred to as “Clips” inside Apple.

This feature is said to be related to the QR code reader built into iOS. This suggests that Clips will allow you to scan a QR code with your phone and then get access to an app’s feature right away, even if you don’t have it installed on your phone. For example, you could scan a QR code for a YouTube video and if you don’t have the YouTube app on your phone, the video could start playing in a floating card with a native UI.

This floating card is expected to also show options to download the full version of the app from the App Store or to open the content with that app if you do have it installed.

We saw Google add a similar feature to Android with the 9.0 Pie release. Called Slices, it can show you relevant info from an app when you search even if you don’t have it installed. You could type “Lyft” into Google and get prices for a ride home even if you don’t have the Lyft app installed on your phone, for example.

We’ve seen Apple and Google both borrow features to use in iOS and Android, and so it’s not a huge deal to see Apple implementing a feature that was previously added to Google’s mobile OS. We’re glad to see Apple adding more features to iOS 14, and this new Clips API could be useful for letting you access an app’s special feature when you need it without having to take the time and storage to download the full app onto your phone.

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