Setting Up and Testing App Clips in iOS 14

With iOS 14 fast approaching a public release, one of the big new features is undoubtedly App Clips, but until this week, it was not possible to submit any apps to TestFlight with App Clips included, nor really test them.

Thanks to the release of Beta 5, that has all changed, but testing App Clips is a bit, to say the least, precarious at the moment. Below are a few tips and tricks to be able to test your App Clip experience locally, as well as a few caveats.

To begin, Apple’s guide on creating App Clips is solid, so be sure to follow these steps first:

Testing App Clips Locally

Running the App Clip extension on a test device
  • Set up a Local Experience by going into the Settings app on your test device, tap on the Developer menu, and under APP CLIPS TESTING you’ll see a Local Experiences menu.
  • Tap on Register Local Experience...
  • Set up the various fields here. Be sure that the URL PREFIX matches what you configured above, the bundle ID is the one you set up for your new App Clip above, and the Title, Subtitle, Action, and image fields are what will be used to populate the App Clip Card which you’ll learn how to trigger below.
Configure the Local Experience (in live apps, this would be configured in App Store Connect)
Smart App Banner in action, showing the new App Clip design and prompt

You’ll now see the Smart App Banner at the top of the page with the title you configured in the Local Experience. Tapping on the Open button here will immediately launch you to your App Clip, but you probably wanted to see the fancy new App Clip Card, right? Read on…

Display App Clip Card

  • Go back into the Settings app and scroll down to the very top of the section with all of your apps, where you’ll find a new entry titled App Clips
  • Tap on App Clips where you can then see your currently cached App Clips, and tap on Remove All App Clips to remove yours from the cache.
  • Now go back into Safari (but do NOT refresh the page, as the smart app banner would then not be able to find your App Clip since you just removed it from the cache), and when you tap on the Open button at the top like you did before, instead of being launched into the App Clip directly, you’ll get to see your configured App Clip Card from the Local Experience setup you did above.
Remove the App Clip from the cache, then tap on the OPEN button again to see your configured App Clip Card

Note that the Open button in the App Clip Card seems to be disabled right now, and tapping on the App Store link at the bottom of the App Clip Card just dismisses the card during this development phase.


  • If you change any of the data in your Local Experience, and immediately switch back to Safari to try to open it again, you’ll likely get this screen:
Broken App Clip Card following a Local Experience change
  • To fix this, you’ll need to start this whole testing process over by reinstalling the App Clip target onto your device, open your activation URL in Safari (note that you might need to add on an extra query parameter to prevent a cache issue which I’ve run into a few times, eg, I used to get the smart app banner to load again). Leave that window open, open the Settings appand remove it from the App Clips menu in Settings, then switch back to Safari and tap on OPEN again and you should see the revised Local Experience.

There is one other caveat to mention, which is an issue that many folks have run into when submitting an app with an App Clip extension to TestFlight, it gets stuck indefinitely in the “Processing” stage, even days later. If you submit an empty App Clip, it seems to get through just fine. I’ve yet to figure out a solution to this problem, so if you have a way to get it through TestFlight with Beta 5, please DM me @emcro on Twitter.

Undoubtedly this process will improve in future betas, but hopefully this helps get some more App Clip work moving along. I’d love to see what you’ve been working on, so please do get in touch.

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If you want to see everything that I’ve been working on for iOS 14, including a number of different widgets and (I think) the world’s first finance app with interactive gaming light bar support (yep, really!), you can join the CardPointers beta on TestFlight and the Airport App, or download the iOS 13 version from the App Store.