Apple Vision Pro finally gave us a feature Android users have had for years — You can remotely install apps from your iPhone, and it could get even better

Vision Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Vision Pro headset has been on sale for a number of days now having finally been released on February 2. The big day came after months of waiting after the headset was first previewed during the WWDC event in June of 2023, and while Apple has shared bits and pieces of information about how it works, we're learning more now that real people have these things on their heads.

We're still discovering the ins and outs of Apple's first foray into the world of spatial computing, but the latest tidbit to crop up might be among the most interesting — because it means that Apple has finally added a feature that those carrying Android phones have had for a decade. What's more, it also might give us a hint at what's to come in the future. With Apple's 2024 WWDC event now just a few months away, a new Vision Pro feature might be about to spread to other Apple products as well. If that's the case, iPhone, iPad, and Mac owners will get a quality of life improvement that they should have had years ago.

The feature? Vision Pro owners can remotely install apps onto their headset using the App Store on an iPhone, removing the need to use the headset itself. It's a feature that has been available in the Android world for a long, long time. And maybe it's about to finally come to the iPhone as well.

A sign of things to come?

The feature was shown off in an X post by developer Adam Watters and you can see a short video of the installation process below. You can also replicate it for yourself — just click this link and tap the Get button. Notably, the remote installation message pops up even if you don't have a Vision Pro and it works in countries where the headset isn't even on sale, too.

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Oddly, this only appears to work for apps that have a native Vision Pro version available which means that apps with iPhone or iPad versions also available via the same App Store page must be downloaded on the Vision Pro — that might change in the future, however.

In fact, it seems likely that won't be the only thing that changes.

Android owners have long been able to install apps on other devices, specifically from the Google Play Store website. Despite the App Store offering web pages for apps, those apps cannot be downloaded that way. Could this be about to change? Could iPhone owners soon be able to remotely install an iPad app from their iPhones, perhaps?

Apple doesn't seem to have published this remote download feature via any of its support documents. The support page that details how Vision Pro owners download apps doesn't mention the feature, for example.

With Apple's WWDC 2024 event now just months away it's possible that iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 will bring this feature to the masses and I for one hope that's the case. Being able to install an app on an iPhone via a webpage would be a huge improvement.

As for the Vision Pro, that's available now with prices starting from $3,499 but with stocks limited, finding one is easier said than done. That price gets you the 256GB model, but 512GB and 1TB alternatives are also available for those who want more space for their apps and media, too.

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Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.