Is ARKit Only for iOS? Understanding the Limits and Possibilities

Estimated read time 4 min read

ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality (AR) development framework, was first introduced in 2016 with the release of iOS 10. It has since become a popular tool among developers looking to create engaging AR experiences for mobile devices. However, many people are still unsure if ARKit is only limited to iOS or if it can be used on other platforms as well. In this article, we will explore the limits and possibilities of ARKit, and discuss how it can be used on both iOS and macOS.

ARKit vs. ARCore: A Comparison

Before diving into the specific capabilities of ARKit, it’s important to understand how it compares to its main competitor, Google’s ARCore. While both frameworks are designed to create immersive AR experiences, they have some key differences.

Firstly, ARKit is exclusively available on iOS devices, while ARCore can be used on a variety of platforms, including Android and Windows. This means that if you want to reach the largest possible audience with your AR app, you’ll need to develop for both iOS and Android.

Secondly, ARKit has a slightly smaller user base than ARCore, as it is only available on Apple devices. However, this also means that there is less competition in the ARKit ecosystem, which can be an advantage for developers looking to stand out from the crowd.

ARKit vs. ARKit-compatible Devices

Now that we’ve established that ARKit is exclusively available on iOS devices, it’s important to understand which devices are compatible with the framework. ARKit is designed to work on any device running iOS 10 or later, including iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. However, not all devices are created equal when it comes to AR capabilities.

For example, older iPhones may struggle to run more complex AR apps, as they simply don’t have the hardware required to handle the computations involved in AR. Similarly, iPod touches may not have a large enough screen or sufficient processing power to create truly immersive experiences.

On the other hand, newer devices like the iPhone X and later models are highly capable of running ARKit apps, with advanced cameras and powerful processors that allow for smooth, high-quality AR experiences.

ARKit Compatibility with macOS

While ARKit is primarily designed for iOS devices, it’s also possible to use the framework on macOS. In fact, Apple has included an ARKit SDK for macOS since the release of macOS High Sierra in 2017. This means that developers can create AR experiences that work on both iOS and macOS devices, potentially reaching a wider audience.

However, it’s worth noting that the macOS version of ARKit is not as powerful or feature-rich as the iOS version. For example, it doesn’t have access to certain hardware features like the camera or gyroscope, which are essential for many AR experiences. Additionally, the user interface for creating and deploying ARKit apps on macOS is different from that of iOS, which can be a learning curve for developers who are used to working with Apple’s mobile development tools.

Case Studies: Using ARKit on iOS and macOS

To better understand the capabilities and limitations of ARKit, let’s take a look at some real-world examples of how the framework has been used on both iOS and macOS.

One notable example is the popular augmented reality game, Ingress. The game uses ARKit to create an immersive, location-based experience that encourages players to explore their surroundings in search of virtual objects and landmarks. While the game was initially developed for iOS devices, it has since been adapted for Android and macOS as well, allowing players on a variety of platforms to join in on the fun.

Another example is the ARKit-powered app, Snapchat Lenses. The app uses ARKit to create a variety of interactive filters

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