App development is one of the demanding spaces that evolves continuously over the period. Mini programs are the latest in the trend to offer specific feature within another main app. Though this not yet popular with mainstream apps, some apps like WeChat runs primarily with mini programs. In this article, let us explore more about mini apps and how to use them in WeChat.
What Are Mini Programs?
WeChat has more than a billion users across the world though the main userbase is from Chinese mainland. There are many small scale companies that do not have popular apps. They offer a mini program within WeChat to make use of the huge userbase. This is a win-win situation for both the companies that users with common interest can use single platform to complete their tasks.
Example of Mini Programs
The best example is the Covid-19 Health Kit program offered for the tracking purposes. This program uses big data to keep the record of people traveling around with the latest nucleic acid and vaccination status. You need to scan the QR code to show your status is in green in order to enter into any buildings, buses or subways. This would not be a success if people need to use a separate app like the way it is done in many countries. However, Health Kit is a mini program inside WeChat app and people can simply scan the QR code using WeChat. Because of WeChat’s huge userbase, it is easy for the mini program to reach out almost all people living in the country.
There are many other useful mini programs that you can use on daily purposes:
- Bicycle or e-bike ride
- Tracking the bus arrival for commuting
- Tracking financials and currency exchanges with mini programs from banks
- Check stock market status
- Search and order food and other items
- Find your favorite music and other videos
Well, you can do literally anything using mini programs within WeChat app. Remember, most of the mini program features are not related to WeChat’s core purpose of instant messaging and payment gateway. However, it is a combination that makes it as a huge success for both mini program owners as well as WeChat.
How to Find Mini Programs in WeChat?
WeChat is popular for the minimalistic approach and mini programs work with similar approach.
- Open WeChat app in your Android or iPhone.
- Simply swipe down from the top to open all your recently used mini programs.
- If you have never used any mini programs before, tap on the search icon. Here, you will again see the frequently used programs and other related details.
- Type the program you want to search. For example, let us search “food” to find some nearby restaurants and order the food items. WeChat will show a list of nearby mini programs when you type the keywords.
- You can either tap one of the mini programs from the list or tap “Search” button on the keyboard.
- This will show you all nearby mini programs from food shops. Tap on any program to view the menu items which will be similar to the one you see on main food ordering apps.
- You can add the items to cart and order your favorite food using the mini program.
- The winning part for WeChat app here is that you can pay through WeChat Pay gateway.
- After finishing the transaction, you can close the mini program by tapping on the double circle icon on top right corner and return to WeChat app.
Related: 11 ways to find friends in WeChat app.
Accessing Mini Programs Through Menu
If swiping down and finding is not your way, then navigate to “Discover > Mini Programs” menu.
Here, you can do similar search and find mini programs.
- Find programs nearby your location
- View and track previously placed orders
- View mini programs you have added into your list for quick access
- Find recently used programs
How to Add Mini Programs to My Mini Programs List?
If you want to frequently use a mini program then every time searching and finding will be a difficult task. Though WeChat will show recently used mini programs, you can add the programs into a list for quick access.
- After finding your favorite program, tap on the three dots icon on the top right corner.
- You will see multiple options and tap on “Add to My Mini Programs”. This will add the mini program into your favorite list.
- You can access the list by navigating to “Discover > Mini Programs > My Mini Programs”.
- Alternatively, swipe down when you are in chat section to find your mini programs added before. You can also tap and hold on the recently used program to add it your list.
Earlier, WeChat was allowing to add up to five mini programs in the floating list. This was very useful to access them quickly without distraction. However, the latest app removed this feature and you need to use my mini programs option.
Getting Details of Mini Program
When you are in the mini program, tap on the three dots icon on top right corner. You will see a slide showing few options as shown in the above screenshot and tap on the program name.
- You can open, share, like the program and view the developer name.
- Also add to your list by tapping on three dots icon.
- Tap on “More Info” to get more details about the developer and the service terms of the mini program.
- In case if you find anything wrong, tap on “Report” to choose the reason and submit your abuse report.
Mini programs are one of the best ways to get things done quickly without using search engine apps or websites. Though most of the programs are only available in Chinese, this is very useful for those who do not know Chinese also to use programs for ordering, bike pickup and health kit.