Android Instant Apps – What they are and how to use them on your phone

Author: Kamesh Garimella
Published: September 9, 2019

An Instant app is a lighter version of a regular android app which gives users full access to the application features without having to install it on their device. In the realm of application development, trying the “lite”  version is beneficial to both the user and developers, because users don’t need to commit and developers can learn about users habits immediately after releasing their product.

Instant apps usually work through a URL and provide users with the same ease and immediacy they get while surfing the web. As such, they have become a universal android solution with quite a lot of advantages both to the developer and the end user.

Why Instant Apps? 

Here are some features that make up instant apps:

Easy Access to User Base

A lot of times, users get overwhelmed with the many apps being advertised on social media, websites, promotional links, and videos. So, they find it hard to install as many as they would have wanted to, due to memory space and bandwidth issues. Instant apps solve this problem, as all they need to do is just click and enjoy the app.

Ease with Sharing and Distribution

Sharing apps can be quite tasking as users usually have to download and install another application just to share the app. Instant apps eliminate this problem as the app can now be shared by just sharing the link.

The “Trial” Privilege

The natural instinct of most users would be to take a peek to see how the app looks, feels and works, and perhaps play around a bit before making a download decision. The instant version of the app gives this privilege for free to the user. Check the app, appreciate its look and feel, see how it functions, and then make the choice.

User Retention 

Apps that have a web version tend to have better retention rates than apps that do not. This is because in the end, only interested users get to download and keep the actual app.

Increase Feedback

Developers may now get their much-needed feedback, as users are able to provide feedback based on their experience with the instant app.

How Instant Apps Work

It’s simple: Google Play receives a request for a URL matching the instant app from a device and sends the necessary code files to the device. This enables the app to run in the device. All users need to do to use this feature is to enable Instant Apps from settings.

How do I enable the instant app feature? 

  1. Go to the Phone Settings menu.
  2. Scroll down to the Personal category and tap Google.
  3. Under the Services category, select Instant Apps.
  4. Tap the toggle on the top-right of the screen.
  5. Read through the Terms of Service and select “Yes” in agreement

Supported Versions:

Instant apps work with Android devices above Lollipop 5.0 and API level 21

Everyday Advantages of Instant Apps:

Easy/Quick Feature Access:

Actions such as making payments have never been easier with instant apps.

Timely User Acquisition:

A new user who desperately needs a cab to get out from the rain doesn’t need to wait for the Uber app to download over their data plan. Using an Instant app makes it faster, and gets users what they need immediately.

Better E-commerce:

They give further information about a product faster than the regular app.