Using ARKit to Build Apps for iOS: Comprehensive Guide

Veronika Petrenko
XR Enthusiast

Investment in AR and VR is growing every minute, reaching a whopping $18.8 billion in 2020, representing a 78.5% increase from the investment in 2019. For a developer, this means that to book yourself a spot in this growing and highly competitive market, you need to make sure that you have access to the most reliable tools and technologies to build a responsive and accessible app.

ARKit is Apple’s augmented reality development software to build VR and AR applications for iOS devices. Since its release in 2017, ARKit has gone through multiple transformations to help developers design and test highly responsive apps.

So, how can you use ARKit for app development? What is the value of this platform to you as a developer? Keep on reading to learn more about this topic.

AR app for healthcare industry
AR app for healthcare industry

What is ARKit?

ARKit is a development tool invented and developed by Apple to allow iOS users to create virtual and augmented reality apps. This ARtoolkit is designed to incorporate 2D and 3D objects created by the app into the real world using the device’s camera.

ARKit was released with iOS 11 to be integrated with the latest release in the world of hardware to offer a seamless AR experience. It’s a framework that allows developers to take advantage of the software and hardware capabilities of iOS devices by placing virtual objects in the real world and then interacting with them. 

It’s a must-have tool for any developer if they want to design an app related to gaming, lifestyle, shopping, marketing, or any industrial application.

ARKit as a framework is included in XCode and uses several technologies to create an immersive augmented reality using motion tracking that specifies the device’s position with respect to the rest of the world and other objects. 

It also uses advanced scene processing to incorporate the created objects or elements seamlessly into the created AR experience. All the features of ARKit facilitate the AR experience and make it more accessible to different users.

How Does ARKit Work?

The camera scans the area to detect the physical space and processes the data using the CoreMotion feature. As a result, users don’t have to do any calibrations or adjustments as the app is always ready for use. Moreover, it’s easily integrated with several third-party tools for easier designing and executing apps. 

As a result, ARKit VR development offers a unique experience to users in several areas:

  • ARKit is used to create responsive and entertaining games that can be easily designed and installed in the gaming industry.
  • ARKit is used in the retail business as a tool to emphasize the concept of “try before you buy.” Users can see different furniture items and home improvement ideas, test how they will look, and manipulate them before making a purchase decision.
  • In an educational app, ARKit can be used to create an immersive and interactive learning or training experience.

This platform can be easily used by people with less coding and programming experience to create fun apps that can be shared across multiple devices. Using this tool, your device’s camera will analyze any visual input and break its components into planes, objects, and light sources. 

Then the feature points are determined in the scene image to track the differences in the position of these objects. Most of the basic setup that is usually a problem with other AR tools is not a problem with ARKit, as it’s designed to offer a feasible programming and coding solution. 

With ARKit, there is an option to use a standard one-view app template or Apple’s AR template. While both are practical, Apple’s template is recommended for those who like to work a little with codes. However, if you like to have more control, then it’s better to pick a standard one-view app that allows you to design everything from scratch.

See Also: WeAR Studio Evaluates Technology News: Apple ARKit 3

Why is ARKit Important?

Although there are several platforms that are currently used to build AR apps, ARKit stands out as one of the best for several reasons.

  • It’s an excellent tool for less experienced and even first-time developers who want to create a responsive and practical app.
  • Due to its accessibility, we can expect to see several ARKit apps for iOS in several niches and industries in addition to gaming, including medical practice, education, industrial safety, and so much more.
  • ARKit allows users to create 3D objects to be used as models or to download 3D models from any other source like Google Poly or SketchUp.
  • ARKit is always progressing and evolving to guarantee a seamless user experience. 

For example, ARKit 2 made multiplayer AR gaming possible, while ARKit 3 introduced the People Occlusion feature, which allowed users to show the created augmented reality behind or in front of people as the feature is equipped to detect up to 3 faces. 

ARKit 4 was another development with the added Location Anchors that integrate with Apple Maps and LiDAR to improve object detection and tracking. Finally, ARKit 5 is offering developers more improvements like procedural mesh generation, better object capture, and the ability to control characters.

What Are the Best ARKit Apps?

ARKit is the building tool used to build several AR apps that made the kit even more popular among users and developers. Here are some of these apps.

  1. IKEA Place

Before buying any piece of furniture or household appliance from IKEA, this app allows you to visualize and manipulate your space, so you can pick the best setup. This is a fun experience that allows users to try products without spending money or wasting time in returning products that didn’t work out for them.

  1. NightSky

This app is dedicated to stars and planets lovers. NightSky allows users to walk around the sky, get close to 3D planet forms, and be part of the created solar system.

  1. Overstock

Overstock is an international retailer for decorative and furniture items, and its AR app allows you to try thousands of 3D models of products that you can use to decorate your space. The app is also linked to Apple Pay, so you can pay for your purchases after you’re sure that you’ve picked what you want.

  1. Giphy World

This app is an excellent choice for those who love GIFs and social media. The Giphy World app allows you to test 3D GIFs in your space, record videos, and share these funny videos on different social media platforms.

See Also: Top 10 Augmented Reality Apps for Android and iOS 2021

How to Create ARKit Apps for iOS?

Creating an AR App Using ARKit is a straightforward task. Here are the simple steps that you need to follow.

  1. Create an Apple ID by going to and state your account as a developer.
  2. Download the latest version of XCode, as it should be 9.0 or higher.
  3. Check the iOS build support on Unity3D.
  4. Enable Developer Mode and make sure that your iOS is updated to 11 or higher.
  5. Open the settings.
  6. Launch XCode on your computer and plug in your iPad or iPhone.
  7. In Unity, create a new project. Then, download and import Unity ARKit Plugin.
  8. Edit Project Settings. Press Editor, then check Device Inspector and select Any iOS Device.
  9. Go to File and select Build Settings, then select iOS to change the platform.
  10. Check Development Build.
  11. Choose ARKitScene, then go to File. Choose Build Settings, then Player Settings, and then Other Settings and enter a unique Bundle Identifier.
  12. Make sure that the Camera Usage description is not set to blank.
  13. Set Target minimum iOS to 11.0
  14. Go to File, and select Build and Run.
  15. On XCode, check buildtime section and see the signing section. Click Team to select your developer account.
  16. In the deployment section, choose your iPhone or iPad.
  17. Choose Product and check Build, then press Run.

Build Your AR App Today

Building an AR app has never been easier. And with access to ARKit, you can get the needed help at WeAR Studio. Our experts will walk you through the process of designing and running a functional AR app using one of the easiest and most accessible tools. So, contact us today, and we’ll help you.



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