The best augmented-reality apps for Android and iOS

Escape reality with the best augmented reality apps for Android and iOS

You’re starting on page 2 of this, click here to start at the beginning.

AR games and entertainment

‘Knightfall: AR’

best augmented reality apps knightfall ar app 2

What genre of games is better suited to AR than battle strategy? Knightfall: AR puts players in the shoes of the Knights Templar, as they defen Acre from enemy Mamluk warriors. You place the battlefield down on any flat surface near you, and your viewpoint then acts as a targeting reticule, allowing you to fire arrows and catapults at enemy units as they work their way towards your walls. Killing enemies earns gold that can be spent on defenses and warriors to push the invaders back. Beating levels of the campaign also unlocks animations for the game’s Photo Mode, which lets you plonk down characters from the game for your own amusement.

It’s not perfect though — it’s a bit buggy, and we found the battlefield sometimes scooted away from us. It also started lagging once more units were placed on the battlefield. But regardless of that, this is a fun little game to take up some of your time, and a great indication of the future of AR gaming.

Android iOS

‘Just a Line’

just a line best ar apps

It’s not just independent developers who are having fun in AR — Google is too. Just a Line is one of the standouts of Google’s AR Experiments project, and while the premise is simple, it’s a lot of fun to play with and a great starting point for seeing what AR can potentially do. Boot up the app and it’ll take a moment to calibrate the space in front of you. Once done, hold your finger on the screen to draw and sketch out whatever you like. When you’re done, take a step back to admire your work. Then take a step around it and admire it in full 3D space, since it’s fully rendered in a 3D point in space. It’s really fun tech, and by moving around, you can vary the results, stretching lines out as you move. It’s not particularly thought-provoking, and it doesn’t have much use outside of just drawing in the air — but it’s fun to play with, and you can even shoot short videos to share with your friends.

Android  iOS

‘Ingress’

Google Ingress (Android)

Ingress was Google’s first entry into the AR game market, and it’s easily one of the most creative AR applications we’ve ever seen. The game is an MMO that splits players into two factions — the Enlightened and the Resistance — and has them fight for control of virtual territories in a giant game of king of the hill. Players gain a material called Exotic Matter (XM) by walking around, and can use that XM to take over virtual portals. When three or more portals are taken over by either team, they gain control of the area between the portals. It’s a comprehensive strategy title at its core, heavily rooted in science fiction and bolstered by a continuous open narrative, while offering the most in-depth social experience of any AR app on our list. Ingress was initially developed by Niantic as an Android exclusive, but you can get it on iOS now, too.

Android iOS

‘Genesis Augmented Reality’

gar

Ever wished that you could slap a piece of paper down on a table and watch as the monster contained within unfolds and fights other monsters? Yeah, we’re essentially describing Yu-Gi-Oh! there, but we’re also describing Genesis Augmented Reality. One of the biggest successes of all time on Kickstarter, Genesis Augmented Reality puts you in the shoes of a “Riftlord” — a mortal imbued with the powers of Genesis to end the evil influence of Rharkon by summoning powerful entities to defeat tainted dark beings.

It’s still in an early stage of development unfortunately, so you won’t be getting a full experience yet — but the tutorial is currently available, and only requires printing off a special AR anchor to spawn your hero. The developers have a pretty expansive game planned, with multiplayer and cooperative modes en route, and although you will have to buy heroes in the full game, this is still a pretty cool little tech demo as it is.

Android iOS

‘Zombies Go’

With the popularity of The Walking Dead TV show and graphic novels, you may sometimes find yourself wondering how you would fare in the zombie apocalypse. Zombies Go doesn’t give you specific answers for that particular thought, but it does let you fight zombies while walking around outside, waiting for the bus, or even while shopping for groceries. You may have noticed the “Zombies Go” name resembles that of Pokémon Go, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong to expect some similarities — mostly, it’s the concept of holding your phone up, seeing a creature, and choosing how to deal with it. If you do get tired of fighting the undead, though, you can turn on the game’s safe mode to keep from being attacked.

iOS

‘Quiver’

Quiver (Android/iOS)

Given smartphones are more tailored for adults than adolescents, the staggering dearth of AR content for children isn’t exactly surprising. Thankfully, Quiver (formerly known as ColAR Mix) works to bring your child’s 2D coloring books to life with animated images that spring directly from the Crayola-lined pages on your kitchen table. Although the app requires printed color pages, users can download one of several free coloring packs on the Quiver website, each of which encompasses everything from fire-breathing dragons and cuddly teddy bears to towering dinosaurs and wild stallions. Once drawn, users merely need to ensure the entirety of the page is viewable within their smartphone camera’s peripheral, thus allowing the image to come to life with accompanying music. Users can watch the animations from any angle once started, pause the content, or even zoom in and out as if viewing a real-life object. Despite being geared toward children, there’s no denying it’s a bit of fun for all ages.

Android iOS

‘Ghost Snap’

If you’re ever at home or in an abandoned building and want to play a horror game on your phone, Ghost Snap has you covered. Inspired by found-footage movies like The Blair Witch Project and games like Outlast, Ghost Snap tasks you with snapping images of ghosts while listening for disturbing sounds and encountering even more disturbing creatures. There’s no way to win this particular game — it’s simply a matter of surviving for as long as you can. It’s best played with headphones on (though we understand if you’d rather not) and, of course, at night. After all, no found-footage movie ever had its biggest scares happen in the middle of the day.

Android

‘Holo’

holo

Remember the AR stickers on the Google Pixel? This app is pretty much where it all began. Holo allows you to take characters from both fictional worlds and the real world, and drag and drop them into your immediate surroundings; a process Holo refers to as “Holo-mixing”. Each of the characters, which range from YouTube celebrities to fictional characters, performs a range of set animations and sounds when placed in the world, and can be shrunk and expanded to match your ideal placement.

The actual execution can be a little glitchy, and the AR functionality isn’t without its bugs — you might find that the characters you’ve placed like to move with you, rather than letting you move around them — but as an app that’s available across both Android and iOS, it’s certainly an impressive endeavor nonetheless.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Mobile

Here are the best selfie cameras on the market, according to DxOMark

DxOMark, the company known for testing cameras, is now extending its smartphone analysis to include the front-facing camera. The Selfie ranking will be kept separate from the overall mobile score.
Mobile

Text up a storm with the best messaging apps for iOS and Android

These days, most people tend to favor digital messages over phone calls. We have the best messaging apps that allow you to share photos and documents, send text messages, and more with end-to-end encryption.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Deals

Here are 19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Product Review

It may be basic, but the TicWatch E2 is all the smartwatch you need

Want a smartwatch that can track heart rate, has GPS, and interact with notifications — for cheap? Mobvoi’s Google Wear OS-based TicWatch E2 can do it all, for just $160.
Mobile

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 and S2 are the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches yet

Quality smartwatches don't have to be expensive, and Mobvoi's TicWatch is the proud paladin of that philosophy. Mobvoi's new TicWatch S2 and are both available for low prices from Amazon and Mobvoi's website.
Deals

Save up to $950 with the best smartphone deals for January 2019

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $950.
Product Review

Honor schools other phone makers on design with the hole-punch View 20

The Honor View 20 is Honor’s best phone to date. Why? Just look at the punch hole screen, the striking design, and the exciting 48-megapixel camera for evidence. Here’s our review.
Mobile

Apple Pay coming to more top U.S. stores, including Target and Taco Bell

Apple Pay is the best way to pay on your iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple Pay support is being rolled out across the U.S. for a variety of top retailers, including Taco Bell, Target, Hy-Vee, and more.
Music

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.
Mobile

The 2020 iPhones may only use OLED displays and Intel 5G modems

While some reports hinted that Apple was looking to move away from using Intel tech, a new report suggests the exact opposite. Reportedly, Apple has chosen Intel to supply 5G modems for Apple's first 5G-enabled iPhone, due in 2020.
Home Theater

Spotify adds artist-blocking feature, despite its denials

Though it continues to claim you can't do it, there is plenty of evidence that Spotify added an artist-blocking feature to its platform, making it easy for users to never hear a specific musician or band.
2 of 3