RealityOS: everything we know about the software built for Apple’s mixed reality headset

Apple is developing an AR/VR mixed reality headset that’s set to be released in less than a year, if rumors are to be believed. With new hardware comes new software, and Apple is working on a headphone operating system that’s set to be realOS, or rOS.

This guide brings together everything we know about the reality operating system that will power the upcoming AR/VR headset. We’ll update this guide over time as we learn more about the real-world system.


Apple has been working on the software to run on AR/VR headsets since 2017, and according to bloombergMark Gurman, Apple will refer to it as RealOS, or rOS. The name will go with the name of the headset, which is expected to be either the Reality One or the Reality Pro.

RealOS is codenamed “Oak” internally, and references to it have been discovered in App Store and Apple Source Code logs, confirming the name.

software goals

Apple sees the headset as a device for gaming, watching streaming video content, video conferencing and interacting with other people, and that’s what Apple is focusing on in terms of software. Gurman described the headset as a “holistic 3D environment” designed for gaming, media consumption, and communication.

face time

FaceTime will be an important communication app for roOS, as it incorporates existing features like SharePlay and Memojis/Animojis. With SharePlay, headset wearers can watch TV shows and movies together, and use Memoji and Animoji as default avatars. With all the cameras a headset is expected to have, it can potentially detect facial expressions and act like Animoji and Memoji on iPhone and iPad.

newanimojic characters


Basic apps such as Messages will be available on the AR/VR headset as well as ‌FaceTime‌, though how the Messages app will work is not known at this time. One rumor has suggested that Apple is creating a whole new version of Messages with chat rooms, video support, home view, and more.

General application messages


The Maps app will be available on the headset, but we don’t have additional information on what the Maps app might be capable of. Perhaps some of Apple’s functions include Look Around and Landmarks, allowing users to explore cities around the world.



Games are a standard feature on the ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and Apple TV, and the AR/VR headset is also expected to support a range of games. Apple Arcade, for example, could expand to AR/VR games that are available on the headset.

app store

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

Public iOS App Store feature Clorange

Stream video content

Apple’s hiring suggests that Apple is developing a video service for the headset, which will include 3D content playable in virtual reality. Apple may also partner with third party services to create content that can be viewed in virtual reality.

Apple TV Plus Banner

rOS release date

With AR/VR headsets on their way to debut sometime in 2023, most likely in the first half of the year, this is also when we can expect to see the first version of the virtual reality platform. Apple may introduce the virtual reality system and headset at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but there’s also a chance it will be released before then.

More about the Apple AR/VR Headset

Apple’s mixed reality headset will feature high-resolution displays, more than a dozen cameras, a powerful Mac-level chip, and more, with Full details are available in the AR/VR Glasses Report.

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