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How to measure things with your iPhone right now

You don't have to wait for iOS 12 to get one of iOS 12's slickest new features.


Air Measure is just one of the third-party apps already available for iOS.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET
This story is part of WWDC 2020. All the latest coverage from Apple's WWDC annual developers conference.

At today's WWDC, Apple showed off a new AR-powered feature: Measure. See the video below. When iOS 12 arrives, you'll be able to use your iPhone ($415 at Back Market) to take measurements of real-world objects.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple shows new Measure AR app

Guess what? You can do that already thanks to a variety of third-party apps, many of which debuted last year when Apple first introduced its ARKit software (now with multiuser support).

For example, there's Laan Labs' Air Measure (formerly AR Measure), which works much like iOS Measure. You simply point your camera at a starting point, tap a button, then move it to the end point and tap again. A virtual tape-measure appears as you move.

Air Measure can also measure the vertical height of an object, generate a 3D cube around an object (to help you determine what size shipping box you might need, for example) and help you build an accurate 2D floorplan. It's a free app.

Bottom line: You don't need to wait for iOS 12 to add an augmented-reality tape measure to your iPhone. You do, however, need an iPhone that's ARKit-compatible, meaning an iPhone 6S or later.

Search the App Store for "AR measure" and you'll find lots of others, with prices ranging from free to about $10.

This is a developing story. Watch CNET's WWDC liveblog here.