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10 Augmented-Reality Apps You Definitely Need on Your iPhone

The future is now.

If you’re running Apple’s newest operating system on an iPhone 6S or newer, your phone just got a whole lot cooler. Augmented reality is now possible on all updated Apple devices, meaning you can hold your phone up to the world and turn it into a layer for information, animations, and more — a bit like the glasses in They Live, if they encouraged you to buy things instead of the opposite.

AR is just as fun and futuristic as it sounds, but it’s not something that just happens when you hold up your phone. In order to check it out, you need to download one of the many apps that now takes advantage of it. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorites.


This app is a really cool way to try out a tattoo without it being, you know, on your body for the rest of time and whatnot. InkHunter has a wide variety of body-art options available, all of which can be resized or rotated. To use it, all you have to do is draw a little version of the InkHunter logo on your skin wherever you want the tattoo to be, point your phone at it, and bam! You’re inked.

Star Guide AR

Sky Guide AR is by far the best way to stargaze. Point your phone upward and the app will superimpose astrological maps over the night sky. It was even able to point out constellations and planets in the heavily light-polluted skies of NYC, so you know it’s serious.


The iPhone has, in all likelihood, replaced your iPod, your camera, and in some cases your wallet. Now it can replace the tape measure you carry around with you for some reason. With MeasureKit, you can measure practically anything and everything around you with ease — you can measure distances, calculate angles, check to see if something is level, and even check how tall your friends actually are. And it’s all surprisingly accurate too! Magic!


PLNAR is kind of like MeasureKit, but for your home. You can easily draw up crazy-accurate floorplans with just a couple taps. Homeowners rejoice!

Ikea Place

If you somehow haven’t tried this app yet, you need to go download it right now. Technically, the primary function of the Ikea Place app is to help you visualize what Ikea products will look like in your home, but it’s also just incredibly fun to mess around with. I’m not even in the market for new furniture — there’s just something about dropping an Ektorp couch in the middle of your kitchen that is so satisfying.

Pigeon Panic! AR

Gotta scare ‘em all!

This is a great game that really takes advantage of the many Pokémon Go–esque uses of AR. The premise is simple: There are packs of pigeons and you must run through them to make them scatter. It’s all the fun of disrupting a real flock, with a whole lot less crap.

Dance Reality

This app will actually help you become a better dancer. Dance Reality guides you through a variety of fly dance moves by placing AR footprints on the floor in front of you. The app works surprisingly well, and makes it easy for you to practice your cha-cha slide at home or on the go.

AR Runner

AR Runner is Pokémon Go, but instead of Pokémon, physical fitness. The premise is simple: There’s a path in front of you leading to a red dot. Once you get there, another path appears. The idea is to see how fast you can go, which translates to your leaderboard score. You can compete with friends (and other players) for the top spot.


JigSpace is an app that you’ll actually learn something from. The app’s motto is: “We learn better in 3D, that’s how we experience the world.” From lock demos to solar-system explainers, JigSpace presents you with a wide array of 3-D models and demonstrations that can help you better understand the things around you.

Stack AR

Be warned: This game is surprisingly addictive. The whole purpose of Stack is to, well … stack things. Blocks specifically, but it’s so much more fun than that. After you find a flat surface, blocks will start flying back and forth over it, and it’s your job to make sure they all stack up correctly. This is all compounded by the AR aspect of it, which allows you to take a three-dimensional approach to each new challenge.

10 Augmented-Reality Apps You Definitely Need on Your iPhone