The new App Clips feature in iOS 14 has been sadly under-utilized since it was first introduced, so we can’t really blame you if you’ve forgotten the feature was even there in the first place. However, Apple has at least added its own App Clip now, so you can get an idea of how it can be put to practical use.
Alongside a recent update to the official Apple Support app, Apple has also added a new App Clip to its Check Coverage page, allowing users to more quickly and easily check warranty or AppleCare+ coverage for any of their products without having to fuss with punching in (or even pasting in) serial numbers.
You can try this out for yourself simply by visiting http://checkcoverage.apple.com in Safari on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
The App Clip seems to initially appear in the same banner at the top of the screen that normally allows you to open or install the official support app.
In this case, however, if you don’t have the Apple Support app installed, you can still tap on the “Open” button to reveal the Apple Support App Clip.
Opening this takes you into a full app interface that will show you the products associated with your Apple ID. From here, you can tap on one to find more details on what coverage you have and when it expires or renews (in the case of monthly AppleCare+).
An option at the very top also allows you to enter a serial number manually, but in addition to typing or pasting it in, you can also use your device’s camera to scan it off the product, screen, or packaging.
This is one of these things that has us wondering what took Apple so long — it’s the one that put the feature into iOS 14 in the first place, after all — but we’ll simply shrug it off as “better late than never.”
While the release notes for the Apple Support app update don’t mention the feature, that’s probably fair since it’s really not a function of the app — if you have the app installed, that will open instead of the App Clip.
Instead, the App Clip is delivered as a chunk of microcode — sort of a “mini-app” — directly from Apple’s support page. Apple Support is also promoting the new feature directly from its official Twitter account.
The full Apple Support app has also gained a few handy new features, including more details on the benefits and service options. For example, while the previous version simply showed that you had AppleCare+, version 4.2 now breaks down exactly what categories that covers, such as Accidental Damage, Express Replacement, and more. This also effectively mirrors what’s shown in the App Clip.
If you’ve scheduled an appointment with a Genius Bar or Apple Authorized Service Provider, you can also opt to receive reminders by text message or phone call.
As a concept, App Clips are a pretty cool idea, as they allow users to access rich, app-like features, including Apple Pay and Sign in with Apple, without having to actually go to the App Store and install an appropriate app. While Apple’s Support App Clip is a somewhat pedestrian example, the actual real-world possibilities are actually quite interesting.
For example, you can pick up a car or scooter rental in a new town, order from a coffee shop, or even just look up a review, without the bother of installing an app that you might only want to use occasionally, or even never again. Of course, in an era when people aren’t venturing out as much as they once did, it’s easy to see why many developers haven’t been rushing to create App Clips for their services. They are slowly starting to gain traction with service businesses such as scooter-sharing company Lime.