iOS 14 may let users test apps before downloading them

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Every smartphone user can relate to the feeling of downloading an app and realizing that it isn’t what you expected. Going through the hassle of installing (and then quickly uninstalling) apps like that is a pain.

According to a new report from 9to5Mac, Apple’s forthcoming iOS 14 could include a feature that eliminates the problem altogether. The functionality is referred to as “Clips” in an early build of the operating system. It could let users test out an app without actually downloading it.

Welcome to the Future

Sometimes, scrolling through screenshots and user reviews isn’t enough to provide a clear picture of what an app contains. Even an informative video can’t always replicate the experience of navigating an app’s interface for yourself.

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For developers, the ability to give users a test run without them needing to download anything would be huge. The new feature will supposedly arrive with iOS 14 in the form of an API. According to 9to5Mac, the feature “allows developers to offer interactive and dynamic content from their apps even if you haven’t installed them.”

Users will hypothetically be able to scan a QR code to start interacting with select parts of an app. The card that pops up will give users a preview of the software and give them the choice to download the full version of the app.

According to early code from iOS 14, Apple may be testing the feature with apps like OpenTable, Yelp, DoorDash, YouTube, and Sony’s PS4 Second Screen.

Another Android Knock-Off?

In the past, Apple has marketed “groundbreaking” features across its iOS line despite Android devices having access to similar things for years. Although Apple devices do have their advantages (hint, iMessages) they aren’t always the most innovative.

The Clips feature may be more of the same. Many have been quick to point out that it sounds notoriously like the Slices feature on Android. This gives users the ability to access parts of an app from within a Google Search. It also works with results provided by Google Assistant. Another Android feature, Instant Apps, works similarly. It loads a miniature version of an app when a user taps on a certain link.

As of now, it’s unclear whether Apple plans to use Clips beyond QR codes. It could be an interesting addition to Spotlight and Siri searches.

Of course, there’s also no guarantee that Clips makes it into the final build of iOS 14. Apple could choose to scrap the feature altogether. Likewise, complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic could force it to be delayed into another iOS version instead.

Regardless, Clips is an interesting feature that many Apple users would find helpful.

According to the same early build code, the new OS is likely to include updates to iCloud Keychain, a list view of the home screen, a new fitness app, and much more. Stay tuned to The Burn-In for the latest news regarding iOS 14 and everything tech.

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