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The iPhone doesn't officially support VR, but people are still downloading millions of VR apps

Kif Leswing
mattel viewmaster

Apple has not built any virtual reality features into the iPhone — unlike Google, whose Pixel phone integrates with a VR headset called Daydream.

But iPhone users are still downloading apps that turn their phones into a VR headsets, according to new analysis from Sensor Tower.

Some iPhone apps support Google Cardboard, a low-cost way to run simple VR programs using a phone as the headset's screen and processor.

Since January 2015, 106 million apps with a VR features requiring Google Cardboard have been downloaded from Apple's App Store. 

A whole lot of those apps were downloaded in December 2016, as many people got either a VR headset or a new phone for the holidays. 

Here's the chart: 

vr apps downloads by platform monthly

(Sensor Tower)

The vast majority of those apps are games, which account for about 57% of VR downloads on iPhones and iPads — about 36.9 million downloads in 2016. 

"In the case of mobile VR games so far, it's more a matter of there being a lot that get a moderate number of downloads," Randy Nelson, Sensor Tower's head of mobile insights, told Business Insider in an email.

"But in terms of the top apps, three stand out: Ninja Kid Run VR, VR Roller Coaster (arguably not a "game" but categorized as such), and Tap Tap Fish - Abyssrium (from the largest publisher, Cheetah Mobile)."

Given the huge interest in mobile VR from Apple users before any official support, imagine how many people would try out an Apple-branded VR product, if Cupertino were to ever release one. 

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