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The App Clips Playbook: 5 Inspiring Examples & Teardowns

Katarina Borg
Author Katarina Borg
Published On Mar 17, 2021

iOS 14 App Clips offer a powerful solution for businesses to get new users to discover and interact with their brands.

How so?

App Clips appear organically as users go about their normal day-to-day tasks, like ordering food or looking for information, and offer streamlined ways to complete those tasks.

As such, App Clips can enable businesses to enjoy:

  • Increased brand reach
  • Improved transaction conversion rates
  • Higher customer satisfaction

If these benefits sound awesome to you, we recommend putting App Clips to use in your business (which we’ll show you how to do later — it’s easy).

The only problem?

If you were to take a few minutes to research App Clips, you’ll see the exact same use case described over and over again — menus, menus and more menus.

Keep reading long enough and you’re bound to be convinced App Clips are made for restaurants, rental kiosks and nothing else. Even Apple’s official Developer Docs are guilty of this! And we get why, these examples do highlight the in-the-moment convenience App Clips offer.

But the truth is, App Clips have use cases in nearly every conceivable industry — including yours.

In our free eBook, From Longshot to Launch: A 30-Day Implementation Roadmap for iOS App Clips, we break down three real-world App Clips examples in vastly different verticals:

  1. Finance
  2. Industrial product supply
  3. Music

Download your free copy to explore those unique and highly successful App Clips implementations (plus access our step-by-step guide for implementing App Clips yourself).

But if you want to learn more now, keep reading to see five more examples of App Clips in action and follow along as we point out the aspects of their implementations that make them great.

App Clips enable increased brand reach, improved transaction conversion rates, higher customer satisfaction

5 Examples of App Clips in Action Across Industries

Curious to see what App Clips can really do? Then come along as we explore several different examples of brands putting them to work in creative ways.

1. Elloveo

Industry: Science & Premium Games

Elloveo is a science app funded by the National Science Foundation. It’s geared toward children to help them understand principles of electricity and magnetism through fun, interactive games. The full app costs $4.99 to download, but they also offer a free trial version through an App Clip to let users try before buying.


App Clips are perfectly suited for the demo or free trial model because they’re available instantly and reduce the barrier to entry, which is the entire point of free trials.

To emphasize how perfect App Clips are for this use case, let’s compare the “App Clip free trial” model to an alternate “free trial download” model where users install a full app for free and then subscribe to unlock additional functionality.

While both the App Clip and full download trial are free, one is more free than the other.

In our hypothetical “free trial download” model, the user doesn’t have to pay anything to test the app, but they do incur two soft costs:

  • Time: It takes longer to download and install a full app compared to the instantaneous launch experience App Clips provide.
  • Privacy: Many “free trial download” models require users to create an account. Understandably, many users are wary of providing their contact info to a company they don’t know. App Clips don’t require users to share anything.

Elloveo’s App Clip trial eliminates those barriers. Users can sample Elloveo’s app instantly, giving the company a chance to impress and convert those trials into purchases.


2. ParkWhiz

Industry: Parking

ParkWhiz helps users find and pay for parking spots in cities all across the United States. Their full app unlocks all of ParkWhiz’s power, letting you reserve spots in advance, manage account details, and pull up your parking history. If you’re on the go and just need to pay for a spot quickly, ParkWhiz’s App Clip has you covered — no app required — even if you’re a first-time ParkWhiz user.


Paying for parking can be stressful. As you’re holding up traffic looking for a parking spot, any number of questions could be going through your head:

  • Does the meter only take coins?
  • If it takes cards, will I be able to use debit or just credit?
  • What if I need to pay through a new app that I don’t have?

This use case is a perfect example of how App Clips can transform the way users interact with your business. Here’s how they take new ParkWhiz users from stressed to relieved.

ParkWhiz’s App Clip lets customers pay for their parking spot — without needing to take the time to download an app or navigate a not-so-mobile-friendly website — simply by tapping the NFC tag at their parking spot. Their App Clip launches and customers can complete their transaction quickly through Apple Pay. Customers don’t even need to configure an account, getting them on their way in under a minute.

If customers find themselves using ParkWhiz’s App Clip frequently, they may decide to download the full app to unlock more functionality.

This use case works great for scooter rentals, bicycle rentals, and parking lots, but it has wider applications as well. Almost any time a customer interacts with a business through a physical place or object, that business can use an App Clip to either automate a current person-powered process or streamline an existing automated process that redirects to a webpage or full mobile app.


3. Flash Note Cards

Flash Note Cards lets users create, edit and share note cards for all sorts of tasks: Shopping lists, event details, daily to-dos and anything else you want to jot down. With their full app, you can create an account, manage all of your notes, sync them to your Apple Watch, and add the Flash Note Cards widget to your device’s home screen.

Don’t have the app installed? You can use their App Clip to create a note and share it with friends and family through iMessage. Your recipients don’t even need to have Flash Note Cards installed to view your note.

This use case is an excellent example of how App Clips can improve the experience for both users and businesses because they don’t require a full app in order to run. Flash Note Cards takes advantage of this feature by allowing users to share notes with other users who don’t have the full app installed. This has two benefits:


  1. Offers a better experience for users who do have the full app installed.
  2. Introduces new users to Flash Note Cards, as recipients can view notes shared through iMessage even if they aren’t Flash Note Cards users — yet.

Without App Clips, Flash Note Cards needed a workaround for sharing notes, possibly sending through email, sending a screenshot or converting the note to a text message. Those workarounds would have gotten the job done, but Flash Note Cards loses an opportunity to promote their app to recipients who have never used them before.

Now, when one of those recipients opens a note shared via iMessage, they launch the Flash Note Cards App Clip and are prompted to (but not required to) download the full app.


4. Parcel

Industry: Shipping & Deliveries

Parcel is a delivery tracking app that consolidates tracking information for over 300 parcel delivery services into one convenient place. Their full app lets you track all of your deliveries and manage notifications. Their App Clip lets you track a single package and share that tracking information.


Have you ever sent someone a package and shared the tracking number? If you’re like me, you sent a text or email that read, “I just shipped it through UPS. The tracking number is [insert long number you hope you didn’t screw up].”

Your recipient has to find the carrier’s website or app, enter that tracking number, and hope they didn’t screw it up.

Parcel’s App Clip eliminates that hassle by letting you share a link to the package’s tracking info, which your recipient can open even if they don’t have Parcel’s full app installed.


5. SignEasy

Industry: Business

SignEasy makes it easy to sign documents on iOS devices with e-signatures that are as legally binding as the real thing. Their full app lets you manage all of your documents in one place, and their App Clip lets you send documents to recipients who can launch an instance of SignEasy’s App Clip to complete the signing process.


This isn’t the first use case explored here to leverage App Clips’ shareability with recipients who may not have the associated full app installed, but SignEasy takes it to a new level by allowing users to share documents with other users through an App Clip and allowing recipients to complete required fields and provide signatures.

Before App Clips, the process of sending and completing documents wasn’t as clean — recipients were redirected to a webpage to complete the signing process, which was slower and clunkier. Because App Clips are lightweight and launch almost instantly, the new send-and-sign process is smoother, which means a better experience for your customers.

App Clips can improve the experience for both users and businesses

Best Practices for App Clip Development That We’ve Learned from These Examples

It’s important to note that the above examples of Elloveo, ParkWhiz, Flash Note Cards, Parcel and SignEasy are all brands that already had full applications before developing App Clips.

They chose to add App Clips to the user experience to create another powerful yet affordable source for getting their brands as well as their full apps in front of more users.

You can reap the same benefits they've seen by following these best practices to leverage App Clips as a part of your user experience:


Keep it Simple

If your goal is to encourage demos or complete transactions, use App Clips to help users complete processes as quickly as possible. Avoid intros, log-ins or anything else that makes it harder for users to complete their tasks.

Identify the Best Invocations

Invocations are how users discover your App Clip. They might include iMessage, NFC tags or the Maps app. Whichever task your App Clip simplifies, consider the best way for users to launch it.

Provide Value

App Clips are designed to help users by making tasks simpler, so focus on streamlining tasks that provide the most value. If you demonstrate enough value, users will notice and download your app.

Make it Lightweight

App Clips must be 10 MB or less, but smaller is better to provide a near-instant launch experience, especially on weaker connections.

Offer Your Full App

Once the user has completed their task, they’re undoubtedly overjoyed with how easy your App Clip made the process. This is a great time to offer your full app for download, though don’t push too hard and sacrifice the positive associations they have with your app and brand.

Take Advantage of Ephemeral Location and Notification Features

Some App Clips work best when they can tell a user’s location and/or they’re able to send notifications. A chain restaurant is a great example of a business that could use App Clips to make sure to display the local menu and also let a user know when their order is ready. With the right code, App Clips can collect the information they need to identify user locations and/or send notifications for a limited amount of time (hence the term “ephemeral”).


App Clips are a powerful, affordable way to get your business in front of more users

Keep Learning About App Clips

Our free eBook, From Longshot to Launch: A 30-Day Implementation Roadmap for iOS App Clips, explores three more real-world examples and explains the entire App Clips development process. It’s a must-read for anyone who’s evaluating App Clips for their business (which should be everyone). Get your copy, now.

If you’re looking for a partner to help future-proof your brand’s mobile presence, Heady is here for you. We’re mobile app specialists and will help translate your goals into a best-in-class mobile product that meets your business’s needs and surpasses your customer’s expectations.



Ready to Meet Your Customers Where They Are At?

Download our free eBook with step-by-step instructions for implementing App Clips for your brand plus real-life examples of App Clips in action.


Ready to Meet Your Customers Where They Are At?

Download our free eBook with step-by-step instructions for implementing App Clips for your brand plus real-life examples of App Clips in action.


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