Apple’s Vision Pro headset, the company’s first venture into mixed reality, isn’t due to hit shelves until early 2024, but you can already create content for it. So long as you have the right iPhone running the right version of iOS, you can shoot three-dimensional videos only viewable on Apple’s forthcoming goggles. Consider it aspirational future-proofing.
What are spatial videos?
Spatial videos use your iPhone’s Ultra Wide and main cameras together to record 3D video. This extra visual information that won’t show up when you’re watching on an iPhone or other device, but will appear when watching on a Vision Pro. By default, a spatial video will show up as a floating window in front of you, and you’ll also be able to make them fullscreen. Apple warns against that, though, as a fullscreen spatial video “has excess motion” and “could cause discomfort if expanded.”
The feature isn’t available on all iPhones, however: Apple announced in its September iPhone event that the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max would be the only current iPhones able to shoot spatial video. It seems that time has come: The feature is now available to anyone running the iOS 17.2 beta on their 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max, as of the latest beta update. If you’re okay assuming the risks of running beta software on your device, you can try recording spatial video on your compatible iPhone right now, and stash them away in your Photos app until the Vision Pro is released.
How to shoot spatial video on iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max
With your iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max running iOS 17.2, open Settings > Camera > Formats, then hit the toggle next to Spatial Video for Apple Vision Pro.
Now, open the camera, and switch to Video mode. Here, you’ll see a new “Vision Pro” icon that will appear yellow when in spatial video mode. Your iPhone will guide you to rotate your device to landscape to shoot your video, as it works best for the effect.
All spatial videos are shot at 1080p at 30fps, so you can’t switch to 4K in this mode. Of course, when playing back on your iPhone, the video will look like any other 1080p iPhone video. You’ll need to wait until you can get your hands on a Vision Pro to actually see what your spatial videos are designed to look like. They also take up about 130 MB per minute, making it the least space efficient 1080p video format on iPhone. It’s still less space per minute than 4K video, however: Even 4K at 24fps takes up 150 MB per minute, and the rates only climb from there.