The Best VR Apps for iPhone in 2021

These iPhone virtual reality apps and video games are worth experiencing

This article covers the best virtual reality apps available on Apple’s iPhone smartphones. Some of these iPhone apps are VR games, while others showcase 360-degree movies and videos within a virtual space.

While some virtual reality iPhone apps support mobile-compatible VR headsets and controllers, all of the VR apps on this list work completely fine with just an iPhone. Additional hardware is not required.

01
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Best iPhone VR Solitaire Card Game: Solitaire Zen

Solitaire Zen virtual reality card game on iPhone.
What We Like
  • High quality graphics with no motion blur or stuttering.

  • The VR solitaire card game plays better than some regular solitaire iPhone apps.

What We Don't Like
  • You need to sign up for a separate account for online functionality.

  • Inability to explore the village feels like a missed opportunity.

Initially launching on iPhone way back in 2012, Solitaire Zen was the first Solitaire video game to support VR in Apple’s App Store. It still receives the occasional update for bug fixes and feature refinements.

Solitaire Zen allows players to play the classic card game in a virtual space that resembles a quiet European village. The actual card gameplay is as solid as other non-VR card game apps, and the environment’s sound and visuals are genuinely relaxing. The only real downside of Solitaire Zen is its requirement to create a new account with the developers, Naquatic, before participating in online leaderboards and earning achievements. However, the offline solo Solitaire experience is immediately available to play as soon as you open the app.

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02
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Virtual Reality iPhone App With Most Content: YouTube

360 VR video in Google Cardboard mode in the iPhone YouTube app
What We Like
  • The iPhone VR functionality works within the same YouTube app you probably already use.

  • Large library of virtual reality videos and a good variety of genres.

  • Most VR videos can be viewed vertically and horizontally.

What We Don't Like
  • Location of video controls changes depending on how you’re watching a video.

  • If you don’t have YouTube Premium, the video ads and popups will get annoying very quickly.

One of the best iPhone apps for viewing virtual reality content is the main YouTube app you probably already have installed and use daily. YouTube mixes in VR videos with all of its other videos, but they can typically be found by performing a basic search and including either VR or 360 in the search phrase.

YouTube curates a Virtual Reality channel, which regularly updates with new VR videos from several professional creators and brands. Subscribing to this channel is the easiest way to find high-quality VR videos on YouTube.

You can watch VR videos on YouTube by simply moving your iPhone around to view different parts of the 360-degree virtual space, not dissimilar to how you play Pokemon Go. Tapping the screen will also provide you with an option to view the video with a Google Cardboard VR headset by making two mini versions of the video play next to each other on the same screen.

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03
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Best Virtual Reality App for Travel Buffs: Google Street View

Machu Picchu as seen in Google Street View iPhone app
What We Like
  • 360 degree photography from almost anywhere on Earth.

  • The VR photos are high quality and load very quickly.

What We Don't Like
  • No 360 degree videos or audio.

  • Navigation of locations and photos is a little fiddly.

  • No support for Google Cardboard or other VR headsets.

The iOS Google Street View app is a rather clever app that lets iPhone users consume Google Street View photography in a 360-degree environment using just their phone’s screen and motion controls. You can find street View locations from all over the world either by physically swiping and zooming in on a map of the globe or by performing a traditional text search. Each location loads within just a few seconds.

While the iPhone Google Street View app doesn’t support any VR headsets, a separate free Google Street View experience is available on the Vive and Oculus.

While the lack of 360-degree videos is somewhat disappointing, Google Street View makes up for this with its unbelievably massive library of locations ranging from famous tourist attractions to rural backroads. This level of location coverage is primarily due to Google’s comprehensive mapping of the planet with its Street View cars. Still, a surprising amount of the photography in the app is uploaded by everyday users who have taken their own 360 photos using their iPhone or a specially designed 360-degree camera.

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04
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Best Virtual Reality Movie iPhone App: Within VR

Within VR app movie selection menus on iPhone.
What We Like
  • High quality VR short films, cartoons, music videos, and documentaries.

  • The app and all of its content is completely free.

  • Simple UI makes it very easy to discover and play films.

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of films are listed in several different categories which can be frustrating if looking for something new.

  • Most will watch the entire library within a single weekend.

Within VR is an iPhone app all about showcasing the best and most creative 360-degree films available with a solid selection of professionally-made documentaries, music performances, and cartoons. Experiences range from fun animal videos and concerts to heavily edited travel clips and even a LEGO Batman short for kids.

The app is one of the best-looking virtual reality titles on the iPhone, with its modern visual design and clean menu system, making navigation and finding content a breeze. You can view every video with or without a headset, and, impressively, all of the content is entirely free, with zero banner or video ads disrupting the experience.

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05
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Best Official Virtual Reality Tourism App: Italia VR

Virtual reality Italy travel movie in the Italia VR iPhone app.
What We Like
  • Works with a VR headset and with just an iPhone.

  • A much more intimate look at a destination than traditional video ads.

What We Don't Like
  • Turning around in the 360 space feels sluggish.

  • The video edits detract from the immersive experience.

  • Audio doesn’t work without headphones or earphones for some reason.

Italia VR is an app created by the official Italian National Tourist Board to help promote Italy abroad. It consists of several 360 degree short films promoting various aspects of the European country, such as its culture, food, and lifestyle. Each video takes the viewer to a variety of indoor and outdoor locales.

The concept works rather well. For example, instead of just being shown a shot of a restaurant via a regular 2D video, Italia VR lets users look around the restaurant and take in what the staff and other patrons are doing. Unfortunately, many of the videos are edited relatively short, with less than a minute dedicated to each location. The camera movement can also feel a bit sluggish at times, often taking two complete rotations to turn 360 degrees in-app. Italia VR will hopefully fix this in a future update.

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06
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Best iPhone VR Art App: 3DBrush

Virtual reality drawings in the 3DBrush app on iPhone.
What We Like
  • The virtual reality spaces look and work really well.

  • The ability to walk around your drawing in a 3D space is really cool.

What We Don't Like
  • Majority of environments and brushes are locked behind a paywall.

  • A $5 weekly subscription is very expensive for an art app such as this.

  • No support for VR headsets or controllers.

3DBrush is a genuinely impressive iPhone app that lets you write and draw within a 3D virtual space. All you need to do is choose one of many surreal environments to work within and then use your finger to make a creation that’s locked into position within the 3D space. At any time, you can walk around your drawing, closer to it or further from it, and even through it to work on a different angle and add more minor details. You can even make other drawings elsewhere in the same environment and trigger explosions or magic bursts to make them move around.

An AR (augmented reality) option is also available in 3DBrush, which lets you draw within your actual environment without any fancy backgrounds. One downside is that the app locks many backgrounds and brushes behind a weekly subscription, which is expensive at $5 per week. You can temporarily unlock many for free by watching a video ad, though.

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07
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Best iPhone VR Apps for Creators: VeeR V‪R‬‬‬‬‬‬ and VeeR Editor‬

A VR nature film in VeeR VR app on iPhone.
What We Like
  • A good variety of professional and user-created VR content.

  • Very easy to search for VR videos and play them on your iPhone.

  • The VeeR Editor app is a solid 360 video editing iPhone app.

What We Don't Like
  • VeeR Editor hasn’t been updated since 2019 though it still works completely fine.

  • Some 360 VR videos have an extremely low resolution which makes them look blurry.

VeeR V‪R‬‬‬‬‬‬ is one of the biggest platforms for both viewing virtual reality videos and creating them. The main VeeR V‪R‬‬‬‬‬‬ iPhone app lets users browse and view the massive library of 360 videos and photos, while you can use the separate VeeR Editor app to upload and edit creations. It’s basically like YouTube but with a singular focus on VR video content.‬‬

VR videos on VeeR range from surreal artistic creations to travel videos and documentaries. Several VR films have a strong narrative, while others work as more promotional tools, such as the Prada series of VR experiences. The latter is unique in placing the viewer directly within the middle of a fashion show runway where they come, quite literally, face-to-face with Prada models showing off their looks.

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08
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A virtual chatroom in the Rec Room iPhone VR app.
What We Like
  • Good basic character and clothes customization options.

  • Voice chat works really well in the virtual space.

What We Don't Like
  • The welcome tutorial is way too long and confusing.

  • The numerous menus take a while to get used to.

  • Parents will want to disable voice chat for children as the conversations are very adult.

Rec Room is an impressive social communications app that lets users interact within 3D virtual spaces with voice chat, text chat, or physical gestures. While simplistic in design, user avatars can be fully customized while moving around the virtual areas. Participating in games can be done as soon as you complete the super-long tutorial.

You can speed through Rec Room’s tutorial by simply running from room to room. You don’t need to complete any of the tasks the voiceover asks you to do.

Impressively, Rec Room is also available on Oculus, Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and supports full cross-play between all versions. It makes it much easier to find friends who already have access to the free-to-play title. Surprisingly, the iPhone version doesn’t support VR headsets and requires the camera to be controlled by the on-screen buttons, so it isn’t as immersive as it could be. Hopefully, with Rec Room already being on Oculus, they will add such support in a future update.

Something else to watch out for is the lack of voice chat moderation in the virtual spaces. You’ll likely hear drug and sexual references, swearing, and insults within minutes of visiting a gathering, so parents may want to disable this feature when setting it up for their children.

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09
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Best Rollercoaster VR Game For iPhone: Roller Coaster VR Theme Park

Roller Coaster VR Theme Park app on iPhone.
What We Like
  • Over 20 different theme park rides of varying types.

  • Updated with new content and fixes on a very regular basis.

What We Don't Like
  • Non-VR mode doesn’t detect camera motion and relies on manual controls.

  • Scrolling through the list of rides is very time-consuming due to the size of each icon.

Most of the other rollercoaster iPhone VR apps feature numerous similar rollercoaster tracks. Roller Coaster VR Theme Park boasts a good variety of both rollercoaster styles and different types of theme park rides like spinning teacups, a Ferris wheel, and even bumper cars.

Each ride is viewable in both non-VR phone mode and proper VR with Google Cardboard. While only three of the 21 rides are free, it only costs $1.99 to unlock additional ones or $4.99 to unlock everything. The list of three free rides also randomly rotates daily.

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FAQ
  • What are the best VR headsets for iPhone?

    The BNext VR Headset is an Amazon bestseller that works with a wide variety of smartphones, not just the iPhone. VR Wear's headsets are another popular option thanks to their stylish customization options. If you have kids, Merge VR is a good option that's compatible with many educational apps and games.

  • How do you use VR on an iPhone?

    Launch your VR app and put the iPhone into the headset with the screen facing you. Place the headset on your head and adjust it if necessary to get a comfortable fit. Check out Lifewire's guide to virtual reality on the iPhone for more detailed information.

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