Tencent officially launched WeChat Mini Programs on January 9th, 2017. It’s a significant milestone for WeChat and a turning point for mobile operating systems. Industry insiders even predict that WeChat could one day rival iOS and Android to become another major mobile operating system.
So what do you need to know about WeChat mini programs?
1. What is a mini program?
WeChat mini programs, also known as mini apps, are applications that function within the WeChat app itself. They can be used right away without installation or downloading. Users only need to find them on WeChat to access their functions. The functionalities of mini apps are not as complete as those of iOS or Android apps. Nevertheless, the features of the most used mini programs meet the majority of users’ needs.
Currently, thousands of mini programs have already been launched, covering various industries with diverse functions. For example: travel ticket booking, stock checking, video watching, food ordering, movie ticket booking, bike sharing, taxi hailing, online shopping, picture editing and many more.
2. Where can you find them?
There are three ways to get a WeChat mini program.
1) Type the mini app name into the WeChat search bar. Fuzzy search doesn’t work so the correct name must be used.
2) Shared by friends on the Chats page. If a friend sends a mini program status update in a chat, users can use the mini app by clicking on the update.
3) Scan the QR code for the mini app .
There’s no central repository like the App Store or the Play Store that displays all of WeChat’s mini apps and only WeChat versions above 6.5.3 have access to the Mini Program platform.
3. How do you activate the Mini Program platform?
As mentioned, the Mini Program platform doesn’t have an interface or separate site where you can register, enroll or find mini apps. After using one of the three methods above to access a mini app, WeChat adds a Mini Program bar in the Discover section where you can find all the mini apps you’ve saved.
Mini programs can only be shared in chats with your friends or in WeChat groups. They can’t be shared on your Moments page.
What’s more, mini program QR codes don’t allow users to long press to extract the code and users can only access the mini app through WeChat scanning. If your friend shares a mini app QR code, you can’t extract it with your phone’s QR code scanner.
5. Using mini apps and chatting simultaneously
Previously users needed to exit a WeChat article if they wanted to chat with someone and then find the article again later. Mini apps avoid this problem. Users can pin the app on their Chats page by selecting “Display on Top”. Then they can re-enter the app whenever they want.
6. Advantages for Android users
Android users can pin mini programs to their home screen.
Do you want to know how applications are operated in WeChat Mini Program? Let’s read more and we will give you some typical examples among different industries!
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