The 12 Best ARKit Apps For iOS 11

best ARKit apps for iPhone
image credit: Apple Inc.

Augmented Reality is one of the coolest, and potentially most world-changing, features of iOS 11. Combining real-world images with interactive data, tools, and games will transform how we use our smartphones and do all kinds of tasks. The iPhone's Augmented Reality features are built on an Apple technology framework called ARKit. 

While Augmented Reality is relatively new, there are lots of cool AR apps for you to try. Here are our picks for 12 of the best ARKit apps for iOS 11 (in alphabetical order).

MeasureKit AR App
iPhone screenshot

Who needs a traditional tape measure—and the chance to get whacked in the hand when it snaps back—when you've got your smooth, shiny iPhone and the AR MeasureKit app?

The app maps spaces, such as rooms in your house, and then lets you draw lines between objects to get a reading on the distance between them. Use it to plan for rugs, to hang things on the wall, or the arrange a room.

Category: ​Home
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: Yes More »

02
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ConductAR! ARKit app
iPhone screenshot

A major upgrade to the model train set attached to the back of an old door. Drop a train onto virtually any flat surface and start chugging along with Conduct AR! Control where the trains go, switch tracks to avoid collisions ​and help passengers get to their destinations throughout the Old West. 

The controls are simple; just tap a train to start or stop it, tap a track to switch it. The environment and tracks build themselves as you progress through the game, letting you focus on the train. The AR features are shown off to great effect when you move around the environments.

Category: Game
Price: $3.99
In-App Purchases: No More »

Dance Reality AR app
iPhone screenshot

Dance with your iPhone as your only partner using Dance Reality. This app projects the steps required for various dances onto the floor in front of you, allowing you to simply step into the footprints and learn. 

There are all sorts of useful options, including controlling the speed of the steps, an announcer to count them, the option to be the lead dancer or follower, and multiple musical styles. In-app purchases unlock lessons for more-advanced dances.

Category: Entertainment
Price: Free​
In-App Purchases: Yes More »

04
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Hair Color AR app
iPhone screenshot

Experimenting with a new hair color is fun—unless you hate the dye job. Then you're stuck with something you don't like for quite a while. Avoid the pitfalls of an ill-conceived trip to the salon with Hair Color.

This app lets you take a photo of yourself and then apply different colors to your hair (or beard!) to get a sense of how you'll look with different dye options. You can even see the changes applied to live video. In-app purchases unlock additional hair colors. 

Category:  Fashion
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: Yes More »

05
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Holo AR app
iPhone screenshot

One of the most fun things about AR is how it lets you create outlandish scenes that look real. Holo is great for that.

With this app, drop realistic 3D models of musicians, animals, athletes, celebrities, and characters into real-world scenes. Want a tiger in your living room? You can have it. Stand next to Jon Hamm? It can be done. Have skateboarder Nyjah Houston roll through a photo? Holo does it.

Scaled the models and walk around them for different angles. Capture photos and videos to share with your friends.

Category: Entertainment
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: No More »

06
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IKEA Place AR app
iPhone screenshot

The hardest thing about shopping for furniture is imaging how a piece fits in your home. IKEA place helps you take the guesswork out of home decorating by dropping 3D models of IKEA products into images of your rooms.

Scan a room so the app understands what's in it. Then browse the in-app IKEA catalog to find the furniture you're interested in. Select the item and it appears in your room, where you can move it around, put it in the foreground or background, and take photos of the results.

With the time in the showroom this app saves you, you'll have even more time to eat meatballs at the IKEA restaurant. 

Category: Home
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: No More »

07
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inkHunter AR App
iPhone screenshot

If there's anything you want to try before you buy, it's something that's not easily undone—like a tattoo. Normally, it's hard to tell whether a tattoo will look good until it's already on your body, but the combination or ARKit and inkHunter changes that.

Simply draw a basic smiley face on your body for the app to anchor to and then project a library of included tattoos, and your own sketches or photos, onto it. Share the results and get your friends' and family's take, too.

Category:   Fashion
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: No More »

TheMachines ARKit app
iPhone screenshot

If you're as crazy for tower defense games as I am, you should try The Machines right away. Even better, The Machines also delivers head-to-head multiplayer games both in person and over the internet.

As with many games of this type, you'll place weapons on the battlefield and use them against attacking enemies and their bases. One of the cool touches here is that moving your iPhone moves an in-game target that determines where your attacks are aimed.

Category: Game
Price: $4.99 
In-App Purchases: No More »

09
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NBA AR app
iPhone screenshot

You don't need a basketball court to hoist a few shots with NBA AR on your phone. Pick your favorite team to get their logo on your court, pick a location for your game, and then a hoop appears in front of you.

Working against a 24-second shot clock, flipping your iPhone gets your shot off and you can step back for a three pointer. Some nice bonuses include turning on audio to hear crowd reactions and Game Center leaderboards.

Category: Game
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: No More »

10
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Stack AR App
iPhone screenshot

A fun block-stacking game that will give you a good sense of how AR makes even simple games a little bit cooler.

Choose a flat surface to play on and then blocks start flying onto it. Touch a block as it covers the one below to stack them. Watch out, though: if the placement isn't exact, part of the top block is lopped off, leaving you a smaller target for the next block. Repeat the process until you've got a tower of super-thin blocks. An in-app purchase removes ads.

Category: Game
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: Yes More »

Thomas & Friends Mini AR app
iPhone screenshot

Fans of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends can build their own tracks, add characters, and then place those tracks into the real world using Thomas & Friends Minis.

You'll find favorite characters from Thomas here and the extremely perky British narrator makes playing the game pretty fun. You can build your tracks on totally virtual environments or place them in the real world by turning on the AR features.

Category: Kids
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: Yes More »

Walking Dead Encounter AR app
iPhone screenshot

Want to experience the world of the hit TV show The Walking Dead without risking a zombie bite? The Walking Dead Encounter is the way to do it.

Place walkers in your home or other environments, and then scale and rotate them for just the right scare. The app comes with a couple of zombies to start. Add more by scanning Mountain Dew products (the soda sponsors the app) or while watching the show. Capture your encounters with the zombies as shareable photos and videos.

Category: Entertainment
Price: Free
In-App Purchases: No More »