After being showcased as an exclusive feature at Apple’s iPhone 15 event back in September, Spatial Video recording is now available through iOS 17.2 beta 2, released November 9.
For those unaware, Spatial Video allows iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max users to record 3D video that you’ll be able to view on Apple’s Vision Pro headset, once it’s made available in early 2024. The feature uses the main and ultrawide cameras on the phones to create the 3D effect.
When you update to iOS 17.2, you can switch this format on by going to Settings > Camera > Formats > Spatial Video for Apple Vision Pro. Back in the camera app, an icon that looks like the headset will appear. Press that to start recording in Spatial Video. Apple says that you can only record in this mode at 1080P at 30 frames per second, which takes up 130MB for every minute taken.
So while it’s great that many users will get a head start in creating videos in this new format once iOS 17.2 comes out, watching these in Vision Pro may offer a sub-par experience due to the low resolution and frame rate currently being offered.
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iOS 17.2 Beta 2 enables Spatial Video recording pic.twitter.com/mLMbI8aG6dNovember 9, 2023
When I saw that spatial video recording was going to be possible back at the iPhone 15 event, I was even more sold on buying a 15 Pro Max than I was before, not least because my newborn son was arriving the following week. Granted, it was an emotional decision, but imagining a scenario where I could watch those early moments of him through Spatial Video felt like something I had to look into.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw that Spatial Video can only be captured in 1080P at 30FPS and that it takes up 130MB every minute. That’s double the space of a regular video in this format, at 65MB. However, the extra space taken up may be due to both the main and ultrawide cameras on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max being used at the same time for the 3D effect.
When you watch the demos of Spatial Video being played on Vision Pro, they look crystal clear, and not at all like 1080p format. I’m slightly concerned that once I take these videos in 17.2, and view them with Vision Pro, they’ll look like a 360p YouTube video from 2008.
I hope that’s not the case. However, Apple didn’t mention viewing these Spatial Videos on Vision Pro at this resolution back when it was showcased at WWDC in June. So I’m skeptical of whether it’s a limitation of what Vision Pro can display, or if it’s simply early days for iOS 17.2, and we’ll be able to take Spatial Video at 4K soon.
Whatever the case, I’m glad the option to record in this format is almost here, and I’ll be interested to see how these videos really look once I try out Vision Pro next year.
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Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.
Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.