Apple has confirmed that “almost all” iPhone and iPad apps will be available on Vision Pro.
Vision Pro will have an App Store with apps built specifically for visionOS, as well as all compatible iPad and iPhone apps that can run on the headset.
In a note to developers, Apple explains:
“By default, your iPad and/or iPhone apps are automatically published to the App Store on Apple Vision Pro.
Most of the frameworks available in iPadOS and iOS are also included in visionOS, meaning that almost all iPad and iPhone apps can run unchanged on visionOS.
Customers will be able to use your apps on visionOS early next year when Apple Vision Pro becomes available.”
Alternatively, developers can build a native visionOS version of their app and use Apple’s Universal Purchase cross-buy system to offer it for free to customers who have already purchased the app on iPhone or iPad, and vice versa. Developers can also specifically choose not to have their app appear on visionOS at all if they really want to.
Apple previously confirmed that Vision Pro will prefer the iPad version of apps and display them in landscape orientation, but will revert to a portrait iPhone app if an iPad version isn’t available.
However, iPad and iPhone apps that take advantage of frameworks not available on visionOS will not automatically be listed in the Vision Pro App Store.
These unavailable capabilities include raw accelerometer or gyroscope access, custom peripheral drivers, raw GPS, NFC, SMS, HealthKit, RoomPlan, AppClip, and MLCompute.
Third-party apps also cannot access Vision Pro’s cameras, although attempting to do so will not crash or break the app. Instead, accessing the selfie camera yields a virtual webcam view of you as your Persona, Apple’s name for its realistic face-tracked avatars, while accessing the rear camera yields a black feed with a “no camera” icon in it. the middle. This ensures the app works without crashing, but obviously renders any in-app photography experiences useless. It also prevents developers from building their own custom computer vision solutions.
Some other iPhone and iPad features are automatically adjusted for visionOS. For example, apps that use TouchID or FaceID are routed via Vision Pro’s eye-tracking OpticID. And while Vision Pro doesn’t have GPS, Apple’s Core Location API allows an approximate location to be determined over Wi-Fi or obtained from a nearby iPhone.
Developers can also enhance their existing iPhone and iPad apps for Vision Pro without having to build a new separate visionOS app. This includes adding custom hover effects designed for the visionOS eye-tracking interaction system.
Apple claims that “hundreds of thousands” of iPhone and iPad apps will “work great” on Vision Pro at launch, and developers can already use the visionOS simulator to make sure theirs work too.