3D Scanning apps on LiDAR equipped iPad Pro and iPhone

Are you saying that the LIDAR doesn’t have the resolution to do what we want re: 3D printing, or is it possible that the capablility is there, but software hasn’t caught up to it yet? In other words, can we expect apps that will utilize untapped potential?

It the LIDAR can’t function for what I want it, the night time portraiture is not something I really care about. I’d like the tele lens and don’t need the ultra-wide very much. I use my iPhone camera—besides the usual snap shots when traveling—mostly to document my model making and take high res shots of my finished work. I really need control of depth of field and need a camera that permits setting different focal distances. I know the 12 pro gives some control there, but I’m not sure about standard 12.

I can’t speak for the future of the 3D being produced by the various apps, but yes it is theoretically possible that it might reach ‘3D printable’ levels of resolution in this generation - but also maybe not :man_shrugging:

I don’t have an iPhone 12 personally and am basing my judgment on the mesh outputs from polycam and laan labs 3d scanner apps.

I can’t speak for the 2D image capabilities of the device.

Hi Myles,

I’d echo what @nebulousflynn says. The resolution of the LiDAR sensor is very low, with only a few hundred dots in its measurement grid. You can see the projected grid using infrared, as shown in this video.

As you will see from the video, the FaceID camera actually has better 3D scanning capabilities for smaller objects, projecting a grid of 30K dots (using grid deformation to estimate 3D surface as opposed to the lower res LiDAR sensor which records depth per dot), but it’s facing the wrong way…

If I was you, and so long as the battery in your iPhone 7 is still good, I would wait to see what Apple release later this year and use an app such as ProCamera to take RAW (DNG) photos to use with desktop photogrammetry software.


I did buy the 12 Pro. Here’s my justification. The camera system is better with a true telephoto lens in addition to the wide and ultra-wide lenses. The 12 Pro comes standard with 128 GB memory instead of the standard 64 GB. That’s $100 of the $200 premium right there. So $100 for the added camera capability was worth it.

And it’s definitely a wonderful optical system. I have a Canon EOS Rebel that’s now obsolete since the iPhone takes better pictures in all aspects. With some added apps like “Manual Focus” I can even get more control of depth of field that the Canon was used for. I’m thinking about putting the Rebel on eBay. If I can get the LIDAR to do scanning for 3D printing, that would be a bonus, but I, like the other responders, find that the resolution is low and seems better for scanning entire rooms or pieces of furniture. I did download some scanning software just to try it out.

Wishing you all the best with your new camera set up and looking forward to seeing some 3D outputs too :slight_smile:

Hello folks.

Are there any new apps to add to the list at the top of this thread?

Has anyone decided on a ‘go-to’ scanning app on iOS? If so, what is it and why do you prefer it?

Hi, joining the topic as I am starting soon experimenting mixing Metashape photogrammetry with Lidar using the Mark 2 from occipital. I used last year a Mark 1 with an iPad mini making good mesh and imported them in a Metashape project of the same object to align the mesh and get Metashape to build the UV map. https://skfb.ly/o67JM was an example of that process scanning a child chair that was set on the top of my leather Sofa. I should receive tomorrow here in Kyoto the Mark 2 and I will post the results.
I have high expectations as Mark1 was already much better resolution than my iPad pro2020 that I only use for Polycam captures of big simple geometries. You can also get descent point cloud models with iPad Pro2020 but I mainly use it the get a quick processing of alignment during Matterport captures.

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Maybe of interst, Allen Angle has a small collection of 3D models comparing different app outputs for the same subject:

App Scan Compare by allen.angle on Sketchfab


I’m not sure how long this app has been around, but RTAB-Map aims to solve the problem of ‘closing’ scans. Like that time you carefully walked around a large object or building and the end didn’t fit with the beginning…

I’ve added it to the list on the opening post in this thread.

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i’m wondering if the result is better on the iphone 12 pro, iphone 12 pro max or the ipad pro ?

(sorry i don’t know apple products very well)

Hi! Thanks for sharing!

@Gigascope while we wait for people with first hand experience to weigh, you might want to read this article that compares scanning and tracking capabilities of iPad, iPhone + android devices

Hi all,

I’m no expert whatsoever here so would love to hear some thoughts from others. I have been experimenting with an iPhone12 Pro to compare photogrammetry techniques (using Trnio app) vs the LiDAR scanner (using Scaniverse app).

Comparison scan of the same object (tree) using two different methods below:
Scaniverse app (LiDAR):

Trnio app (photogrammetry)

Pros of LiDAR scanner:

  • I liked how easily I could scan with LiDAR (Scaniverse) around an objects. All LiDAR apps are all very easy to scan with/ intuitive. Most scans to about 2-4 mins.

  • the speed of Scaniverse app processing, cropping and adjusting the scan etc was also impressive (~30 seconds). This app can adjust the crop, footprint, colors, contrast, aspect etc like instagram.

  • LiDAR also captured my object (tree) to scale (within a couple of cm accuracy) so I could take measurements instantly for any points of the object (see my twitter feed for a screen recording example - @Luke_Jeffrey)

-LiDAR allowed me to scan surfaces 4-5m beyond my reach = 6-7m of a tree stem height - which could be tricky with phone photogrammetry.

-Finally, I could easily scan a large area (6x4m) with multiple complex objects (a forest) that I had to navigate around and in between (this took about 8 minutes). This would have been impossible with a photogrammetry phone app but perhaps with some technical skills, stitchable with software? See my other sketchfab 3D model (Paperbark forest iPhone12Pro LiDAR test) LiDAR scan of forest.

Cons- Although more labour intensive and requiring several passes at various angles (~65 photos), I still feel that the photogrammetry app picked up more surface details in the final scan, compared to the LiDAR scan technique. Therefore for 3D printing objects from phone scans, photogrammetry may still win. Depends on what you are scanning for?

Example of taking scale measurements from LiDAR 3D scan:

Example of scanning a complex environment (forest) using LiDAR iPhone12:

Thanks @lukejeff99 for the comparisons, examples and thoughts.

For me it’s definitely the speed of capture that is appealing, as well as creating instantly scaled data. It’s only going to get better too.

@tomgoskar We’ve released the volumetric video sharing app “Rememory”, can you add it to the list?
Web: https://rememory.jp/
Example: 20210215_231637 exported by Rememory - Download Free 3D model by Takahiro Poly Horikawa (@thorikawa) [2025b35] - Sketchfab

@thorikawa Thanks for the link. I’ve created a subsection called ‘volumetric video’ and added your app to it. Looking forward to seeing some more great examples!

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@tomgoskar thanks for putting this list together!

We’ve developed a scanning app called Modelar. It can create and export textured meshes and can also view and export the source LiDAR point clouds. There are a few examples at @modelar.ai.

Could you please add it to the list? Thanks!

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No problem. Just tried it out. Added to the list.


Thought I’d revive this thread with a couple of recent scans from some new-ish apps

First up RealityScan. The beta app is shaping up nicely.

The guided AR preview + cropping tools are solid and usability improves with each update (e.g. you can now restart scan processng, capture images and process later, export images for use in other software).

The same model processed with Luma AI. A nice capture process and the nerf output is cool. My understanding is that the app captures a bunch of images the same as other photo grammetry apps and then does some interpolation for the nerf (not sure about the photogrammetry image set).

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