You have probably heard of AR apps in the past. No surprise because they have become the norm in many app genres, gaming, and social media platforms. But did you know that there is such a thing as LiDAR apps as well? The technology behind these got popularized by recent iPhones and has helped a lot in various applications. If you have an iPhone that possesses LiDAR technology, here are the best LiDAR apps that you can install to get the most out of the fancy feature.
Inside This Article
- What is LiDAR on an Apple Device?
- Which Apple Devices Have LiDAR?
- 10 Best LiDAR Apps for Your iPhone or iPad
What is LiDAR on an Apple Device?
But before you jump into our list, here’s a primer or refresher on what LiDAR is. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. The feature functions as a 3D scanner that can precisely measure different things in 3D space. It can measure length, width, height, and even depth within a given area.
The LiDAR scanner does this through a unique kind of time-of-flight technology. Usually, smartphones can only perceive depth through one light pulse. On the other hand, a LiDAR scanner sends light waves instead of just one. Think of it as the scanner “spraying” infrared light that can create an entire point mesh.
The mesh then allows the camera to sense the dimensions of the room and the objects inside it. You can’t see the mesh with your eyes, although you can try to perceive it with night vision goggles. However, because the camera can see it, your device can use the technology for many different things.
The uses include overlaying photos, positioning 3D objects in a room, and capturing 3D information. Apart from these, you can take relatively accurate measurements of real-world objects using your phone. Many 3D scanner apps use LiDAR technology to help you create room plans or imagine your home with new furniture.
However, note that some gadget’s LiDAR sensors have a range. For example, the iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro can only project a mesh of up to five meters. Hence, you’ll need to move around within a large area to create a more comprehensive mesh.
Which Apple Devices Have LiDAR?
If you are unsure whether your iPhone or iPad has the feature or not, you can look at its camera bump. You should see a small black spot about the size of the flash. That is the LiDAR sensor. The said part is present in the Pro and Pro Max versions of the iPhone 12 and 13, and the iPad Pro. LiDAR makes the newer phone models unique and function as the best camera phones around.
10 Best LiDAR Apps for Your iPhone or iPad
Here are 10 top-notch LiDAR apps you can install on your Apple device for various purposes.
1. 3D Scanner App
In the past, you would have had to use 3D tools to create digital versions of real-life objects. People often use professional apps like Blender or AutoCAD before. However, what if we tell you that one of the best LiDAR apps can act as a substitute for those?
That is the pitch of the 3D Scanner App — a LiDAR iPhone app that can scan 3D objects. Unlike most LiDAR apps, it does not only scan objects. It recreates them in 3D on your phone. To make it do so, place an object in front of the iPhone or iPad camera. Then, move around the item while taking a photo of it. You can press the shutter button once more to finish the job.
The app allows you to capture the item as a 3D object on your phone. It even lets you modify the render by smoothening, refining, or simplifying tiny imperfections. 3D Scanner App also helps you measure the distance between two points within the scan. Afterward, you can export the file in popular formats, including OBJ and STL. That allows you to further modify captures within the previously mentioned pro-level apps like Blender.
Overall, 3D Scanner App is one of the best LiDAR apps, especially if you want to recreate people or objects as assets in a digital game or print them out as Dungeons & Dragons characters.
2. Canvas for Homeowners
If you are someone who wants to improve your home design, it usually takes professional help to design a room. However, hiring the pros is not always easy because you might not always have the time to meet with professionals. That is why Canvas for Homeowners exists. It is one of the best LiDAR apps for creating a home plan.
With the app, you can capture detailed scans of your home and create structures for it. You can then make plans, shift things around, measure between points, and view the area from varying angles.
In the hands of a novice, the app might not seem like much. But take it to a professional, and you can easily create a new home plan without breaking a sweat. That is especially true because the app can export scans to CAD software for further modification.
Unfortunately, this iPhone LiDAR app’s free version only has a few features. To unlock its full potential, you will need to pay for a subscription. It is a little expensive if your project is a one-time redecoration. Nonetheless, it is a life-saver for homeowners and planners who need to revamp multiple rooms.
Download Canvas for Homeowners
3. Canvas: LiDAR 3D Measurements
Canvas: LiDAR 3D Measurements is one of the best LiDAR apps available if you need accurate measurements. What does it do?
This app, which is also from the makers of Canvas for Homeowners, allows you to scan, capture, and display whole rooms. All you need is to move your iPhone or iPad across the space to cover it with a mesh. After the app stitches everything together, it recreates the space in 3D. You can then walk within the room, take a tour, or look at specific cutaway images.
The app is most useful for amateur or novice redecorators who need to create room plans digitally before implementation. However, note that while the basic version is free, its pro-level features hide behind a paywall. The pro features let you create CAD images of the room to submit to interior designers or architects.
Download Canvas: LiDAR 3D Measurements
4. IKEA Place
Are you looking for the best LiDAR apps specifically for redesigning your home with new furniture? Then look no further than IKEA Place, one of the best iPhone Lidar apps available. As the name implies, the app equips your home with furniture from IKEA Place. It allows you to easily shop for furniture without going to a physical IKEA store.
IKEA Place also lets you reimagine your space with the furniture projected in 3D. As a result, you can plan measurements, scrap furniture that doesn’t fit, and even “place” objects in desired locations.
You can browse IKEA’s vast catalog of household furniture that includes desks, tables, chairs, sofas, lamps, and bookshelves using the app, too. Moreover, you can filter searches based on category, collection, or theme. All these make IKEA Place one of the best LiDAR apps for IKEA lovers and furniture shoppers.
Have you ever wanted to measure something but didn’t have a measuring tape on hand? With Measure — one of the best LiDAR apps for measurements — you won’t need any tape.
As the name implies, Measure is one of the iPhone LiDAR apps specializing in measurements. It acts as a ruler, tape measure, and even a level tool. With it, you can measure the distance between points, ascertain dimensions, and perceive if a surface is straight or upright.
To use Measure, all you need is to position the dot and designate a starting point. Then, move your camera along the side you want to measure and create an endpoint. The app will measure the distance relatively accurately and will project it on-screen. It can even measure multiple sides of an object to help you ascertain dimensions.
With that said, Measure is great for manually measuring rooms and items. You can use it for interior planning, architecture, or even measuring luggage for plane rides.
3D models are hard to create, especially if you don’t have any 3D modeling background. Thankfully, the best LiDAR apps on the iPhone can act as great substitutes. One of them is Polycam, an app that can capture real objects and recreate them in 3D models.
With it, all you must do is point your camera to the object and press the shutter to begin. Then, you move around the item to create a scan and tap the shutter once more to finish. The app will generate the image, which you can modify within the app. You can also measure distances, crop items, and share the output in different file formats.
Overall, Polycam is a simple yet powerful app. It is among the best LiDAR apps to use if you like creating Dungeons & Dragons characters. Moreover, it’s great for 3D modelers who want to use real objects as a base for character or environment design.
7. RC Club
RC Club may work on non-LiDAR iPhones and iPads, but it certainly works better on devices that support the feature. What can it do? As the name implies, the app is more of a game that allows you to drive an RC car.
With RC Club working with your gadget’s LiDAR sensor, you can race in augmented reality and control the car across your living room. The car you drive interacts with its environment, crashing into walls, jumping off ramps, and tumbling over obstacles. Its physics is pretty spot-on, so it makes for great fun once you get the hang of it.
RC Club even generates haptic feedback during some interactions, making it feel even more realistic. It is truly one of the best LiDAR apps if you want fun.
With Scaniverse, you can capture and recreate rooms and objects in a virtual space. Like with the apps before it, all you must do is tap the shutter button to start scanning. Afterward, you can move your device around or across the area and then tap on it once more to end. The app will then recreate the space or object within a virtual environment.
Unlike other apps, Scaniverse lets you save the scan in different resolutions. Moreover, you can zoom on the image, view it from different angles, and export the output in various formats. Scaniverse is great for capturing objects and projecting them as AR items in many types of spaces.
9. Seeing AI
The best LiDAR apps aren’t just handy programs that create virtual files. Sometimes, apps are so ingenious that they’re almost indispensable. At least, that’s the case for the blind and Microsoft’s Seeing AI, one of the best LiDAR apps available.
What does Seeing AI do? Well, it acts as an eye for the blind and visually impaired. The app lets them navigate their surroundings with LiDAR as it describes people, places, and objects within the vicinity. It can also read text aloud as they go, helping identify signs, barcodes, and currency.
In addition, the app is great at sensing and feeling distance through haptic feedback. If the user has headphones, the app can also feed them information about nearby obstacles and items.
Are you an engineer, architect, or someone who works in construction? Then SiteScape is one of the best LiDAR apps for you. Through it, you can point, shoot, and capture every field you need and export it to CAD software. It is great for capturing workflows and areas or sharing files with fellow engineers.
Of course, regular people can also use the app to make notes about significant areas. It’s also fun to use for anyone who likes scanning different places. However, it is best used in professional environments as the 3D scans are fast and accurate. Moreover, the app even has cloud storage for account holders.
The best LiDAR apps come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are great for capturing objects and recreating them in 3D. Others are more suited for interior design, shopping, or redecorating. There are also apps for the visually impaired, offering helpful input to navigate the environment. While the fact that there are many of them might give you a dilemma on which to choose, you can already narrow down your list through our recommendations. Bookmark this article for quick reference or future updates!