The JigSpace App Clip viewer lets users quickly access and view complex 3D content in augmented reality (AR), without needing to download a native app on iPhone or iPad. Android devices use WebAR to view JigSpace 3D content in a similar app-less experience.
What is an App Clip?
App Clips is a feature introduced by Apple in iOS 14, providing users with a bite-sized portion of an app that's designed for quick, on-demand access, without needing to download an actual app from the AppStore.
App Clips can be triggered through various actions like clicking a share link, scanning a QR code or NFC tag, tapping a Safari app banner, or even via iMessages and maps.
For example a restaurant app can use App Clips to allow customers to quickly check in and order food directly from a menu shown at the table, by simply scanning a QR code. It avoids the need for downloading the entire app, making the experience more convenient and faster for one-time or infrequent customers.
JigSpace App Clip viewer
The JigSpace App Clip viewer enables users to have a fast and seamless AR experience, wherever they click a shared link or scan a QR code, such as in a document, on a website, or on product packaging.
The App Clip viewer is one of several viewers that comprise JigSpace Universal AR, which includes:
- App Clip viewer
- JigSpace iOS app
- WebAR viewer for Android
- Web browser viewer
- Native desktop app for MacOS and Windows
- Apple Vision Pro viewer (coming in 2024).
By using App Clips as part of Universal AR, JigSpace ensures your 3D content can be viewed across different devices and platforms from a single share link or QR code, enhancing its accessibility.
How to use an App Clip
Most users won’t realise they are opening your 3D content in an App Clip. Rather, it should feel like a quick and simple native experience.
To open an App Clip, all a viewer of your content needs to do is one of the following:
- Click a share link from an email, message, app, or website (usually prefixed by link.jig.space)
- Scan a QR code with their camera on iPhone or iPad
- Click ‘View in AR’ on an iPhone or iPad when your content is embedded in a web-page.
Example of opening an augmented reality App Clip from a QR code
App clips launch in two ways, depending on how the link or QR code is scanned, and from what software. By default, the App Clip will immediately open a preview card, which the user simply needs to tap View, which launches into your 3D content in augmented reality. Apple-owned apps like Camera, Mail or iMessage tend to default to this method.
Sometimes, a link will start by redirecting to an App Clip landing page, which the user then needs to click on an App Clip banner, which will appear at the top of the page. Clicking on a link in a website, or from a 3rd party email or messaging apps like Gmail or WhatsApp tend to follow this path.
Where are App Clips not supported?
Apple App Clips has some technical restrictions due to their nature and design. While they are designed to be fast, lightweight, and easy to access, they cannot be used in every context. The most common of these include Private Browsing in Safari, Embedded web views (inside other apps), and non-Apple web browsers on iPhone or iPad like Chrome.
App Clips won't work in private browsing mode in Safari. Private browsing is designed to not retain any information once a session is closed. Given that App Clips may need to store certain data temporarily to function, private browsing would interfere with their operation and is not supported by Apple.
Embedded Web Views
App Clips can't be invoked directly from within an embedded web view, such as inside the Instagram app, or Gmail app, on iPhone.
When a link from JigSpace is clicked on in an embedded web view a special banner will be displayed instructing users to tap the option to "Open in system browser" or Safari if they want to view in augmented reality. Users can also choose to stay in their current app, and simply view the content in a 3D-only format.
According to Review42, 93% of iOS users use Safari. If you’re one of the remaining 7% and you try to open an App Clip inside a non-Safari browser, like Chrome for iPhone or Firefox for iPad, you will be prompted by JigSpace to open the link in Safari. Alternatively users can also choose to view the non-augmented reality (3D only) version of the content inside their browser of choice.
App Clips Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need to download an App Clip?
No, App Clips are designed for instant use, so you don't need to download or install them.
Can I keep an App Clip on my iPhone for future use?
No, App Clips aren't permanently saved on your device. They're meant for temporary use and disappear after a period of inactivity.
To open an App Clip again, save the link you clicked on, or take a photo of the QR code you scanned. You can click on a QR code inside your iPhone photos app and it will open the App Clip.
Do App Clips have access to all the features of the full app?
No, App Clips are streamlined versions of apps, designed to perform a specific task quickly. JigSpace app exclusive features include creating and editing Jigs, offline mode, 3D only viewing mode, and viewing private content.
How secure are App Clips?
App Clips support password protected 3D content in JigSpace. This means if you share secured content with someone outside your team, they can open it without downloading an app, as long as they have the matching password key to view it.
How are App Clips different from Instant Apps on Android?
While both offer similar functions, App Clips are for iOS, while Instant Apps are for Android. JigSpace does not offer Instant Apps for Android, but prefers to use WebAR to deliver 3D and augmented reality experiences to Android users.
Can App Clips access my personal data?
App Clips can only access the minimum necessary data to perform their task. In JigSpace, this is limited to your camera (which the App Clip will ask permission to use) so that it can render the augmented reality experience in your context.
Do App Clips support all devices running iOS 14 and later?
Yes, as long as your Apple device is capable of running iOS 14 or later, it will support App Clips. This extends to the vast majority of devices using JigSpace today.
How can businesses benefit from App Clips?
Businesses can provide quick, on-demand viewing of complex 3D content to users without them needing to download any software. For example in tradeshows and in marketing, this dramatically increases engagement rates due to this vastly improved user experience. In launching training or instructional content from packaging or from online software like learning management systems, adoption rates increase as both Apple and Android users can access the content with very low barriers.
Can I see reporting on my content App Clips views?
Yes, when your content from JigSpace is viewed by someone via an App Clip, it will be included in your aggregated content analytics reporting.
Metrics from the App Clip viewer included in analytics reporting includes:
- Total views
- Engagement time
- Actions triggered.
Why did JigSpace develop the App Clip viewer?
The App Clip viewer ensures that anyone opening your content to view it can do so without needing to download an app. We described the importance of Seamless AR viewing for iOS users in a blog post in 2022. Whilst the JigSpace apps for iPhone and iPad have more features, the App Clip viewer is designed for non-team users who may only require infrequent or single-viewing of a Jigs.
Why can’t I open an App Clip?
Check if you are trying to open it in private browsing in Safari, in a non-Apple browser, or from inside a 3rd party app like Instagram or WhatsApp. Typically JigSpace will instruct you to open the link in Safari. App Clips work on iPhone or iPad with iOS 14 or later, which covers over 95% of all active business user devices.