Apple’s public release of iOS 11 yesterday includes a lot of great new updates. One of the most anticipated new features is the ability for iPhones and iPads with an A9 chip or later to run augmented reality apps made possible by Apple’s ARKit platform. Let’s take a look at some of the best AR enabled apps available now.
Since Apple announced ARKit back at WWDC in June, we’ve seen a lot of impressive demos from developers. From the IKEA virtual furnishing app, to powerful measuring tools, real-world navigation to games, education, or creative uses it quickly became clear that AR on iOS would be a game changer.
In a recent interview, Tim Cook said that while AR isn’t anything new, Apple is “…taking the complex and making it simple. We want everybody to be able to use AR.” He also added that “in one day we can make AR available for hundreds of millions of people.”
An updated App Store comes with iOS 11 that features some of the new AR enabled apps. However, there are also many worthwhile ones that aren’t featured. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting and useful AR apps available now which we’ve broken down into the categories of fun/creative, games, utility/shopping, and learning/education below.
Keep in mind that even if your device doesn’t support ARKit, you can still buy the following apps (which has led to some negative reviews from some unaware customers). While each developer may vary, Apple states that any iPhone or iPad with an A9 processor or later is compatible to run apps built with ARKit. That includes the iPhone SE/6s and later, along with the iPad Pro models.
Also make sure to note whether the app you’re looking at is iPhone/iPad compatible or iPhone only. Lookout for the warning, particularly when browsing AR apps on iPad that says “This app requires specific features not available on this device.”
This app lets you create your own holograms to add to your photos and videos or also browse and use Holo’s collection of celebrities, original characters, and animals.
Optimized for iOS 11 with ARKit, Holo is the first app that lets you move around 3D holograms of people and interact with them as if truly there in real life, giving you an entirely new way to create content and tell stories with personalities you love in AR.
Price: Free, no in-app purchases
Like Holo, Paint Space AR is a fun, creative app that lets you draw, paint, and add effects to your photos and videos.
Paint Space lets you draw in the air with all sorts of brushes and colors. You can insert photos and videos from your device and place them anywhere in the real world. Add special effects like snow, rain, and fireworks to help bring your creations to life. After you are done, you can screenshot or create a video of your creation to share with others. Create an art piece, annotate the real world, hang pictures before you print them, doodle on your car, make the ultimate instagram post, and more! The only limit is your imagination.
Price: Free, $0.99 in-app purchase for full version
Similar to Paint Space AR in that it lets your paint the environment around you, World Brush adds a twist to its app.
Every painting is anonymous and is saved at the approximate GPS location where it was created.
Users have the ability to like, dislike and report paintings which hides the bad stuff and showcases the good. We use a scoring algorithm that combines popularity and time of creation to serve up the best content based on your location.
Whether you’d like to create a floor plan for personal or professional use, magicplan offers what looks like the easiest way to get going.
The award winning magicplan app lets you create professional floor plans simply by taking pictures. Use magicplan to generate complete job estimates, view your space in 3D, plan DIY projects, or furnish your home.
Create floor plans in minutes and edit them with ease. Add objects, photos, annotations, product price lists, tasks, and taxes in a single tap.
Price: Free, in-app purchases $2.99 and up to save floor plans
This new drawing tool lets users uncover virtual perspective grids, to scale, anywhere – making complex sketching easy and accessible. The scaling of the projected grids is revolutionary, and is only made possible by the power of iPad and ARKit to read and interpret the environment for you. Trace grants anyone access to the architect’s tool kit for uses ranging from home or landscape renovations to larger design projects.
Trace is a drawing app for architects and designers that infuses digital magic into the analog tools of trace paper, technical pens, rulers, triangles and stencils. “Drawing is experiencing a renaissance with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil,” says Anna Kenoff, Morpholio Co Founder. “Our app puts scale drawing at the center of the experience, letting designers work intuitively with an iPad Pro and their hands while not losing any accuracy in the process.”
Price: Free, $0.99 and up in-app purchases
First up is an AR zombie shooter where you control a helicopter gunship.
AR GAMEPLAY Fly a Gunship Helicopter controlled by your movements and defend against a zombie apocalypse.
INTENSE BATTLES Fight hordes of zombies with beautiful new thermal camera graphics.
DEVASTATING WEAPONS Arm your gunship with gatling guns, cannons, rockets, missiles and the sniper pod.
COLLECT THEM ALL Upgrade and enhance your arsenal with resources you earn in battle.
Price: Free, offers in-app purchases from $0.99-$4.99
An AR puzzle game that has players discover and solve optical illusions, ARise sounds like an immersive, inspired app akin to the popular Monument Valley (this is one that has a low rating due to customer who didn’t realize the hardware requirements).
ARise is an experience about perspective. Using the AR capabilities of your device, you aim to align magical connections and create paths.
No touch or swipe is needed to complete the puzzles, simply move around the floating islands, and look for the visual cues.
First 3 worlds are available today and new puzzles being added for FREE every month.
Price: $2.99, no in-app purchases
A prehistoric take on mini golf takes 1-4 players through caveman themed, play and pass style gameplay.
Mammoth Mini Golf AR is big time fun for the whole family! The magic of augmented reality brings a wacky caveman themed world of mini golf right into your home! Place the course anywhere you like, grab your friends and let the fun begin! Move around to get the best angle, set direction and power and putt for glory! But watch out for the crazy mammoths, dino-birds and cavemen trying to stop your ball from reaching it’s home!
Price: $4.99, no in-app purchases
This app makes indoor and outdoor racing challenges possible with players from around the world and includes 3 different game modes. Just watch your step while you try and focus on the screen as you’re going for that record time 😉
Run through checkpoints and set new records! Compete against other players worldwide! Play indoors or outside! AR Runner is a one-of-a-kind competitive augmented reality game.
Price: Free, $1.99 for premium version
This simple stacking game bills itself as a way to unwind and relax, although there is a competitive aspect to it as well.
Stack up the blocks as high as you can!
◉ Play in Augmented Reality anywhere ◉ Simple & Beautiful graphics designed ◉ Compete for the best score in the world
Price: Free, $1.99 to remove ads
Many people will find the Place app useful for trying out the wide range of IKEA products in their homes before deciding buy.
IKEA Place lets you virtually ‘place’ IKEA products in your space. The app includes 3D and true-to-scale models of everything from sofas and armchairs to footstools and coffee tables. IKEA Place gives you an accurate impression of the furniture’s size, design and functionality in your home so you can stop wondering and start doing.
CARROT Weather is the humorous and witty weather app that uses Dark Sky’s hyperlocal data to dish out its weather forecasts. It’s now been updated with fun AR features.
Augmented Reality Use ARKit to CARROT into your world. Just don’t poke her ocular sensor.
Price: $3.99, offers in-app purchases
This robust AR measuring app includes seven different tools and also includes the ability to link multiple rulers together.
1) Ruler — measure straight lines on any surface, such as a desk or wall. 2) Trajectory — measure by “drawing” (moving your device) in the real world. 3) Marker Pin — measure distance from device camera to fixed points in space. 4) Angles — measure corners. 5) Person Height — measure how tall someone is. 6) Cube — visualize how big something is. 7) Level — check if something is horizontal or vertical
Price: Free, $2.99 for Pro version
Similar to IKEA’s Place, Houzz has been updated to try out an AR version of its many products in your home before you commit to spending your cash. You’ll also find iOS 11 drag and drop support for iPad.
View in My Room 3D is an indispensable tool for your next home project with Apple’s new AR technology available in iOS 11. Preview 500k+ furniture and decor products in 3D at lifesize scale from the Houzz Shop before you buy. Design your room’s layout by positioning products exactly where you want them and experience the full effect by walking around your room. Hold your iPhone or iPad close to virtual products to see realistic materials, textures, surfaces and more. Products are organized in shopping list making it easy to buy the ones you like. Managing your ideabooks is more convenient with iOS 11 drag and drop. Use drag and drop multi-touch to move multiple saved photos, products and sketches between ideabooks. On iPad, use drag and drop to copy files or photos from Safari directly into ideabooks.
This one sounds like an AR evolution of Wikipedia. JigSpace’s mantra is “We learn better in 3D, that’s how we experience the world.”
JigSpace is the platform to create and share truly interactive, 3D knowledge for anything. When you ask “How does that work?” the answer is immediately available in front of you. Explore dozens of Jigs, learn at your own pace, and satisfy your curiosity. With the upcoming release of the Jig Workshop, anyone will be able to create Jigs and share them with the world.
Our SolAR provides a fun and engaging way to experience and learn about our solar system.
Our SolAR allows you to see our Solar System anywhere at all! All you do is tilt your device up and you see our whole solar system in your current setting, from your backyard to your bedroom, to wherever! It’s never been more fun to learn about our Solar System!
Price: $0.99 (currently 50% off)
An amazingly robust app diving deep into astronomy in a user friendly way, Sky Guide AR provides a new AR experience with its latest update. Amazingly, this app has 4.9/5 stars on over 18,000 reviews.
A star app has never been more beautiful and easy to use. Just hold it to the sky to automatically find constellations, planets, satellites and more. It’s stargazing fun for all ages and experience levels!
Price: $2.99, $9.99 for SUPERMASSIVE version
Sure to be popular for those with kiddos, this app lets you create and customize your own train set.
Budge Studios™ presents Thomas & Friends™ Minis! Create your very own train set piece by piece and bring it to life with Thomas and all his friends. Customize endlessly and let your imagination run free with whirly waterslides, frozen loops, rainbow bridges, dino spine rails and more! Climb aboard your favorite Minis engine and experience every twist, turn and stunt! Ready, set, build!
Price: Free, $0.99 and up in-app purchases
Another app sure to be popular with kids, or anyone feeling nostalgic is My Very Hungry Caterpillar AR.
For the first time, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is brought to life in the real world, with a stunning AUGMENTED REALITY experience.
It’s almost 50 years since Eric Carle introduced his much-loved character The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the world.
Now with Apple ARKit, the Very Hungry Caterpillar comes to life wherever you are. With Augmented Reality you can see the caterpillar and you can still see the world around you. Watch him appear in your living room, on your kitchen table, in your garden, or anywhere you want to play with him.
Price: $2.99, no in-app purchases
Math Ninja is bringing its popular series to an interactive AR version that looks like a lot of fun.
Math Ninja AR uses the latest technology, augmented Reality or “AR”, to get kids involved in learning addition. The Math Ninja series have proven to be a big hit in Japan with 2 million downloads and over 600 million problem solved. The Math Ninja Series has especially proven to work with kids who don’t like learning or who fall behind by gaining their interest and building motivation.
This is just a small sampling of the AR apps now available. And no doubt many, many more are sure to be released in the coming weeks, months, and years. Have you already found some amazing AR apps that weren’t included above? Share them in the comments below!