Designing for visionOS

Guidelines for Optimal VisionOS App Development

As you begin designing your app or game for visionOS, start by understanding the fundamental device characteristics and patterns that distinguish the platform. Use these characteristics and patterns to inform your design decisions and help you create immersive and engaging experiences.

Space: Apple Vision Pro offers a limitless canvas where people can view virtual content like windows, volumes, and 3D objects, and choose to enter deeply immersive experiences that can transport them to different places.

Immersion. In a visionOS app, people can fluidly transition between different levels of immersion. By default, an app launches in the Shared Space where multiple apps can run side-by-side and people can open, close, and relocate windows. People can also choose to transition an app to a Full Space, where it’s the only app running. While in a Full Space app, people can view 3D content blended with their surroundings, open a portal to view another place, or enter a different world.

Passthrough: Passthrough provides live video from the device’s external cameras, and helps people interact with virtual content while also seeing their actual surroundings. When people want to see more or less of their surroundings, they use the Digital Crown to control the amount of passthrough.

Spatial Audio: Apple Vision Pro combines acoustic and visual-sensing technologies to model the sonic characteristics of a person’s surroundings, automatically making audio sound natural in their space. When an app receives a person’s permission to access information about their surroundings, it can fine-tune Spatial Audio to bring custom experiences to life.

Eyes and hands: In general, people perform most actions by using their eyes to look at a virtual object and making an indirect gesture, like a tap, to activate it. People can also interact with a virtual object by using a direct gesture, like touching it with a finger.

Ergonomics: While wearing Apple Vision Pro, people rely entirely on the device’s cameras for everything they see, both real and virtual, so maintaining visual comfort is paramount. The system helps maintain comfort by automatically placing content so it’s relative to the wearer’s head, regardless of the person’s height or whether they’re sitting, standing, or lying down. Because visionOS brings content to people — instead of making people move to reach the content — people can remain at rest while engaging with apps and games.

Accessibility: Apple Vision Pro supports accessibility technologies like VoiceOver, Switch Control, Dwell Control, Guided Access, Head Pointer, and many more, so people can use the interactions that work for them. In visionOS, as in all platforms, system-provided UI components build in accessibility support by default, while system frameworks give you ways to enhance the accessibility of your app or game.

Visionary Experiences:

Create approachable and familiar apps and games for VisionOS, providing users with extraordinary experiences. These should immerse individuals in beautiful content, expand capabilities, and offer captivating adventures.

Leverage Apple Vision Pro:

Embrace the unique features of Apple Vision Pro, utilizing space, Spatial Audio, and immersion to breathe life into your creations. Integrate passthrough and spatial input from eyes and hands seamlessly, ensuring they feel natural on the device.

Immersive Design Spectrum:

Consider the entire spectrum of immersion when designing your app. Whether it's a windowed, UI-centric context, a fully immersive environment, or something in between, tailor the level of immersion to each key moment. Not every instance requires full immersion, so find the balance that best suits the experience.

Windows for UI-Centric Experiences:

For contained, UI-centric experiences, use windows. Opt for standard windows with familiar controls that appear as planes in space. Users can relocate windows freely, and the dynamic scaling system ensures content legibility regardless of proximity.

Comfort is Key:

Prioritize user comfort to ensure a physically relaxed interaction with your app or game. Consider the following fundamentals:

Social Interaction:

Facilitate shared activities through SharePlay. Users can view the Spatial Personas of others, creating a shared space experience and enhancing the feeling of togetherness.