RealityKit vs ARKit: A Comprehensive Guide

Estimated read time 4 min read


Augmented reality (AR) has revolutionized the way we interact with digital content in our daily lives, from gaming to education and beyond. Two of the most popular AR frameworks on iOS are RealityKit and ARKit. In this article, we will explore the key differences between these two frameworks, their respective strengths and weaknesses, and help you determine which one is best suited for your AR app development needs.

What is RealityKit?

RealityKit is a cross-platform AR development framework created by Apple that allows developers to build immersive AR experiences with ease. It was introduced as an alternative to ARKit in the iOS 13 beta, and has since become the recommended framework for building AR apps on both iOS and macOS.

One of RealityKit’s key features is its simplicity and ease of use. Developers can easily create and manipulate AR objects using a range of built-in tools and APIs, without having to write any code from scratch. This makes it an ideal choice for developers who want to quickly prototype and test their AR apps without the need for extensive programming knowledge.

Another major advantage of RealityKit is its compatibility with Apple’s latest hardware. It is optimized to run smoothly on devices such as the iPhone 11, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro, ensuring that your app will look and run great on any device that supports it.

What is ARKit?

ARKit is Apple’s original AR development framework for iOS devices. It was first introduced in the iOS 6 beta and has since been widely used to build a range of AR apps, from games like Ingress and Pokemon Go to educational tools like Aurasma.

One of ARKit’s main strengths is its flexibility and customization options. Developers have access to a wide range of APIs and tools that allow them to create highly customized AR experiences tailored to their specific needs. This makes it an ideal choice for developers who want more control over the look and feel of their app, or who need to integrate complex AR features such as object recognition and tracking.

Another advantage of ARKit is its support for a wider range of devices and operating systems. It can be used to develop apps for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, making it a versatile choice for developers who want to reach a larger audience.

The key differences between RealityKit and ARKit

While both frameworks share some similarities, there are several key differences that make them suitable for different types of projects. Here are the main differences between the two frameworks:

Ease of use

RealityKit is designed to be simple and easy to use, with a focus on providing developers with pre-built tools and APIs that allow them to create AR experiences quickly and easily. In contrast, ARKit requires more programming knowledge and can be more complex to set up and configure.


RealityKit is optimized to run smoothly on Apple’s latest hardware, including the iPhone 11 and iPad Pro. It also supports macOS, making it a versatile choice for developers who want to create cross-platform AR apps. ARKit, on the other hand, is primarily designed for iOS devices and can be more challenging to set up on other operating systems.

Customization options

ARKit provides developers with a wide range of APIs and tools that allow them to create highly customized AR experiences. In contrast, RealityKit has a more limited set of customization options, making it better suited for simple and straightforward AR apps.


RealityKit is designed to be fast and efficient, with a focus on providing smooth and seamless AR experiences. It uses Apple’s latest hardware to deliver high-performance graphics and animation, making it an ideal choice for apps that require complex and dynamic AR content. ARKit, while still capable of delivering great performance, may not be as optimized for high-end hardware and may struggle to deliver smooth and seamless experiences on more powerful devices.

Learning curve

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