iPhone 12 AR apps are badass — there’s a demon in my dining room!

The iPhone 12 Pro, unlike the standard iPhone 12, is equipped with a LiDAR scanner, which elevates augmented reality (AR) experiences to new heights by using lasers. I’ve had the iPhone 12 Pro for four days and the AR capabilities of this snazzy smartphone are amazing.

I’ve summoned farm animals, aquatic creatures, dinosaurs — and hell — even a few demons to my dining room using some immersive, thrilling AR iPhone apps. Check out some of my incredible experiences with AR on the iPhone 12 Pro.

iPhone 12 Pro AR via LiDAR

There’s a cow in my kitchen! (Image credit: Future)

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and to put it succinctly, the iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR scanner shoots out lasers to determine a subject’s depth and distance from the smartphone. With this feature, you can extend entertainment beyond your phone for fantastic AR entertainment. Let me show you what I mean.

ARVid: Summon animals and the supernatural into your home

ARVid is my favorite AR tool for the iPhone 12 Pro. This app lets users summon some of the wildest creatures into their homes. Using ARVid, I’ve placed cows, goats, dinosaurs, deer, sea turtles, squids, frogs and foxes in my dining room. What’s fascinating about these AR characters is that they’re all built to scale.

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

The cow I summoned into my dining room, for example, is the same size as a real-life bovine. You can walk around the spotted, brown-and-white cow and observe it from different angles. I was “udderly” disgusted, though, when a soundbite of a urinating cow kicked in. 

Placing AR characters in your home is easy. A yellow square pops up on the screen, prompting you to select which area you’d like your AR guest to settle in. On the Halloween theme, you can also summon a flying demon into your home. The little devil is ferocious, though. It will claw at you with its long black fingernails and float around menacingly.

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

ARVid also features a video recording option, which is excellent for wow-ing your friends or even pranking a sweet summer child into believing a cow has managed to break into your home.

[Ar]t Museum: Hang masterpieces on your walls

The [Ar]t Museum app, recommended to me by Apple, lets you hang iconic masterpieces on your wall. Here’s a self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh.

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Here’s “Bonjour, Monsieur Gauguin” by Paul Gauguin.

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Finally, here’s the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

With an enviable collection of iconic artworks at my fingertips, the Louvre has nothing on me. You can also move closer to the AR painting to closely inspect the masterpieces you’ve superimposed on your walls.

AR Dragon: Feed, play and train a pet dragon

Owning a real-life dragon would be too much work. Its wide, scaled wings would knock everything down, it would shoot fireballs at the most inopportune times, and it will squawk loud enough to wake the neighbors. 

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Fortunately, with the AR Dragon app, you can have a pet dragon — without actually having a pet dragon. This virtual pet simulator lets you feed, train and play with a pet dragon. You can, for example, play catch with the dragon. 

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Each day, your pet will grow larger in size. This is no ordinary pet simulator, of course. This pet dragon lives beyond the confines of your smartphone screen and can be summoned to your location.

AR with the WayFair app: Entertainment with interior design

No furniture store would allow you to test a sofa out in your living room free of charge. Plus, it’d be too much of a hassle. Before AR, you’d have to rely on visualization to figure out whether a piece of furniture would be suitable for your home.

Best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Some furniture apps, such as Wayfair, feature AR options that let users simulate the presence of the desired piece of furniture in their room. Unfortunately, only a few selections in the Wayfair catalog are compatible with AR. You’ll have to be on the lookout for the words “View in Room 3D.”

InkHunter: Tattoos via AR

best iPhone AR apps (Image credit: Future)

Prank a tattoo-averse parent by texting the words “I finally did it!” with faux tattoos from the InkHunter app. Their reaction will be priceless. InkHunter lets users peruse through a beautiful and wide-ranging collection of tattoo artwork. You can superimpose these creations onto your skin without enduring the pain of a tattoo needle.


AR in the smartphone realm is still in its infancy stage, so there aren’t many entertaining AR apps in the Apple App Store, but there are certainly a few gems. When LiDAR scanners, and other time-of-flight sensors, become more prevalent on smartphones, there’ll be an abundance of apps to choose from. I’m especially excited for AR developments in smartphone gaming — the possibilities are endless.

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