RealityOS: Everything we know about the software developed for the Apple Mixed Reality Headset

Julie Clover

According to rumors, Apple is developing an AR/VR mixed reality headset that should be out in less than a year. With new hardware comes new software, and Apple is working on an operating system for the headset, which will be called realOS or rOS.

This guide gathers everything we know about the realOS operating system that will work on an upcoming AR/VR headset. We will update this guide as we learn more about realOS.


Apple is working on software that will run on AR/VR. headset since 2017, and according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple will call it realOS or rOS. The name will be followed by the name of the headset, which is expected to be either Reality One or Reality Pro.

realityOS is internally codenamed “Oak” and has been spotted in App Store and Apple magazines. source code to support the title.

Goals of the software

Apple views the headset as a device for gaming, streaming video content, video conferencing, and interacting with other people, and it will what Apple will focus on in terms of software. Gurman described the headset as “an all-encompassing 3D environment” designed for gaming, media consumption and communication.


FaceTime will become an essential communication application for rOS, incorporating existing features such as SharePlay and Memojis/Animojis. With SharePlay, headset users can watch TV shows and movies together and use Memoji and Animoji as their virtual avatars. With all the cameras the headset is expected to have, it will most likely detect facial expressions and work like Animoji and Memoji on iPhone and iPad.


Core apps such as Messages will be available on the AR/VR headset in addition to ‌FaceTime‌, though it's not yet known how the Messages app will work. Rumor has it that Apple is building a brand new version of Messages with chats, support for video clips, a home view, and more.


The Maps app will be available on the headset, but we don't have additional information about the Maps app's capabilities. It may include some Apple Look Around features and landmarks to allow users to explore cities around the world.


Games are a key feature on ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌ and Apple TV, and the AR/VR headset is expected to support a range of games. Apple Arcade, for example, can be extended with AR/VR games available on the headset.

App Store

Mac, ‌iPhone‌, ‌Apple TV‌ and Apple Watch have their own dedicated app stores for downloading apps, and the AR/VR headset is also expected to get its own ‌App Store‌.

Streaming video content

Apple's hiring suggests that Apple is developing a headset video service that will include 3D content that can be played in virtual reality. Apple may also partner with third-party services to create content that can be viewed in virtual reality.

rOS launch date

With AR headset /VR should debut sometime in 2023, probably in the first half of the year, when we also expect to see the first version of realOS. Apple could possibly unveil RealityOS and the headset at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but chances are it could come sooner.

Learn more about the Apple AR/VR headset


The mixed reality headset Apple is working on will feature high-resolution displays, over a dozen cameras, a powerful Mac-level chip, and more, full details available in our AR/VR. headset review.


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