Instagram May Soon Let Users Watch Reels on iOS Without Downloading App

Instagram is reportedly testing a new feature on iOS that will allow people who do not have the app to still watch Reels in the app’s native interface. This will be done through App Clips, a feature that was added to iPhone in 2021 with the iOS 14 update. App Clips are like previews where users can use a particular feature before they decide to download the full app. Notably, TikTok also has an App Clip that lets non-users watch its short video content.

The information comes from a 9to5Mac report that found an App Clip in the Instagram app version 319.0.2, which is available to beta testers through TestFlight. The App Clip lets iOS users watch Instagram’s short video content Reels in the app’s native UI instead of on the browser. So, if a friend shares a link to a Reel in iMessage, users can now view it normally as it would appear on the Instagram app. The report adds that there is no need to create an Instagram account to use this feature.

With App Clip, users can watch a Reel, scroll to see more popular videos, and even share them with others. However, after the sixth Reel, the App Clip nudges the user to download the app, highlights the report.

Apple defines App Clips as “a small part of your app that’s discoverable at the moment it’s needed and lets people complete a quick task from your app — even before installing your full app.” Some of these tasks can be renting a bike, making a payment at a restaurant, and more. However, do note that App Clips are still mini apps that need to be downloaded first. They are just smaller in size and will become discoverable when the user encounters a specific command.

App Clips can be triggered through several methods, ranging from NFC tags and QR codes to shared links. Clicking on it opens a drawer at the bottom that shows the name of the app and an Open button, tapping which opens the App Clip in full screen and lets the user perform the task. App Clips can send notifications for up to eight hours after it has been opened.

These are meant to serve as a demo or a preview of the app so that users who are apprehensive about it can give it a test run before going through the longer process of downloading and installing it.

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