iPhone gets YouTube VR with "Cardboard" update

Google has brought on virtual reality-like viewing to the YouTube for iOS app at last, weeks and months after adding such functionality to the Android version of the app. This functionality for the YouTube app for iPhone and iPad is very similar to that of the Android version, adding a "Cardboard" icon to the app's user interface when a video is 360-degree-enabled and the device that's playing it is turned to its side (landscape mode, that is). This move extends VR functionality to iOS just days before Google's big yearly developer conference.

At Google I/O 2016 we'll undoubtedly hear about how the company just updated their YouTube app for iOS for virtual reality viewing on Apple devices. Oddly this appears to be inside the Cardboard VR universe while rumors suggest that Google will be moving on to their own Android VR initiative in the meantime.

What it COULD mean is that Google does not want to appear to favor Android alone, leaving the vast number of iPhone users out alone in the much flatter world of non-VR experiences. Apple would get the first VR/Cardboard experiences while the slightly more dedicated VR-lovers amongst us would advance to Android VR – that sounds reasonable.

You can download – or update – the YouTube app for iOS in the Apple app store for mobile devices. For more information on how to find the Cardboard button, head to our first Cardboard on YouTube mini-guide.

Because of this update, we'll see more 360-spherical content directed at all users of mobile devices, not just Android. This will be true of Facebook's 360-degree videos once they (someday) move beyond the Samsung GearVR exclusively. Some day, you never know!