Apple may let you try out parts of third-party iOS apps without installing them on your iPhone by scanning a QR code, according to code in an early build of iOS 14 reviewed by 9to5Mac. The functionality is apparently part of a new API referred to in iOS 14 as “Clips.”
The Clips API “allows developers to offer interactive and dynamic content from their apps even if you haven’t installed them,” according to 9to5Mac. When you scan a QR code, a card will apparently appear that lets you interact with the parts of an app. The card may also let users choose to download a full version of the app from the App Store or, if you already have the app that the QR code is previewing, open the interactive experience in that app.
Apple could be testing the new app previews with OpenTable, Yelp, DoorDash, Sony’s PS4 Second Screen app, and YouTube, according to the code viewed by 9to5Mac.
This new feature sounds somewhat like the Slices feature on Android, which surfaces parts of an app in search results and in Google Assistant, or Android’s Instant Apps, which loads a tiny version of an app when you tap on a link. However, 9to5Mac says the code it reviewed only mentions Clips API integration with QR codes, so it’s unclear if Apple plans to integrate the new feature with Spotlight, Siri, or other parts of iOS.