how to use iphone lidar

How to use LiDAR scanner in iPhone 12 Pro

If you have an iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, or iPad Pro, you have a LiDAR scanner, but Apple doesn’t seem to give you any way to use it.

LiDAR is included in the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and iPad Pro, but you could be forgiven for not even noticing. Apple barely mentions it, and there’s no LiDAR app on the phone to try out.

Since one of its key uses is photography, you’d expect some LiDAR controls in the Camera app or at least something in Settings. But it doesn’t matter.

There’s also little incentive to look for such controls because until you see it in action, it’s hard to understand what LiDAR can do for you. The technology scans your environment and creates a 3D image of it, and this will change how well AR and VR work.

So far, it seems Apple is happy to let LiDAR subtly help you out by complementing existing apps and features.

As you already use LiDAR

If you’ve given up on using Apple Measure before, try again. The app is now assisted by LiDAR and this has improved it noticeably.

Measure is now faster to start using because it senses its surroundings faster. And because LiDAR works to scan your entire environment, the measurements you take are more accurate.

That’s the theory, and in practice you’ll find Measure more useful than it used to be. Instead of the app you used to take rough measurements when you didn’t have a tape measure, it’s now good enough and fast enough to use anywhere.

Furthermore, although it’s harder to see, LiDAR has also made your camera’s autofocus faster. Again, this is because LiDAR is mapping the environment around you, so it has started calculating how far or close an object is when you tap the button to take a picture.

If metering and autofocus are the only two recognizable uses of Apple’s LiDAR, there are already third-party apps that can do a lot more. There are so many of them, and most of them feel like experiments in finding out what is possible.

But generally they also tend to be good at one of two things. They are either great at capturing a photo-like 3D image of your environment, or they are better at capturing an image of an object.

Capturing your entire environment

Use Canvas: LiDAR 3D Measurements for iPhone — free in the iOS App Store — and you can scan your surroundings. Stand in the middle of the room, tap the Measure controls, then slowly turn around.

What you see through the screen is like standing in a “Star Trek” simulator. Next to the camera’s view of what is immediately in front of you is a grid next to it. As you turn, a grid fills in to reveal an image of your surroundings.

Move too fast and the resulting image has little detail. Move too slowly and the app may run out of memory before you finish scanning. So it’s a compromise between detail and completeness, but you get a 360° view of your room.

Right on your iPhone, you can choose to zoom out to see an isomorphic projection of the room, rotate it with a gesture, and zoom in to see it from any angle. Swipe to bring up a full-screen close-up of the room, and then you can either swipe to move around – or physically move your phone.

The physical movement of the phone will show you what the captured environment looks like when you turn around. But you don’t have to be in the same environment you captured.

Instead, you can take your phone and explore the scan anywhere else. For example, stand outside in the field and view your office on your iPhone screen. Move around the field and the screen looks like you’re moving around the office.

There’s no doubt – police officers will be scanning crime scenes with LiDAR in the future. It’s only a matter of time before such a scan yields a crucial clue in an episode of “NCIS.”

Scanning objects with LiDAR

You’ve already seen this on select Apple devices. Through AR and scanned images, your iPhone can show you what a Mac Pro would look like on your desk, for example.

Canvas is capable of this, although in our testing it seemed optimized for scan rooms. Likewise, the free app 3D Scanner can and does do rooms, but it seems to be best at capturing objects.

However, LiDAR scanning apps are on the rise again, many of which are free to try.

Again, the 3D Scanner App resembles a simulator in that it presents a grid over your object that fills and replaces as you scan.

What you can do with LiDAR scans

Next time you’re moving, do a LiDAR scan of any new property you’re considering buying. We’re not yet at the stage where apps make it super easy to scan a room and then scan your furniture individually, but you can do it.

Even more helpful, you can get a better idea of ​​the size of the apartments by comparing them. Being able to efficiently walk around each apartment is much more intuitive than relying on floor plans and measurements.

Or if you’re slow to process a storage rental, then a quick LiDAR scan is much more visually useful than listing how many boxes are left.

These are all uses that benefit you as the user who performed the LiDAR scan or measurement and photography. If someone else has the same app as you, you can usually send them a scan.

And those like Canvas include the ability to submit your scan online. It’s not the same as being able to rotate your phone as you walk through a virtual room. But you can see a 360° scanned image on Mac.

What’s next for LiDAR?

The applications will get more sophisticated as developers explore the technology – and once LiDAR becomes mainstream, it will be worth it. This will certainly extend to new ways of sharing or downloading such scans.

It’s a fair bet — and a recent supply chain prediction — that LiDAR will make its way into the entire iPhone lineup. And maybe even into the “Apple Car”.

And maybe then we’ll see more, maybe then we’ll have more Apple AR as well.


Also Read:- 

How to use LiDAR on iPhone 12 Pro

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