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The cool new AR measuring app Apple released in iOS 12 has some issues with accuracy

Published Sep 20th, 2018 9:23AM EDT
iOS 12 New Features List
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Apple’s big iOS 12 update was finally released to the public earlier this week and it truly is a breath of fresh air in so many ways. The company’s previous-generation iOS 11 software had been a pretty big mess ever since it was first released last fall. It was riddled with bugs, several big security holes were discovered and had to be fixed, and serious RAM management issues and other problems actually hindered the performance of any device running iOS 11. Despite being equipped with the most powerful mobile chipset on the planet, Apple’s iPhone X and iPhone 8 were regularly bested by Android flagships in speed tests, which is unheard of.

Thankfully, those days are now behind us. iOS 12 isn’t loaded with as many new features as we’ve seen in previous releases because Apple chose instead to focus much of its efforts on performance improvements and bug fixes. Those efforts certainly weren’t in vain, and users who update their iPhones will definitely notice a pretty significant difference in both speed and battery life. There are still some neat new features though, and we’ve told you all about them in our recent coverage. For example, we showed you the five best new iPhone features in iOS 12, as well as 10 great hidden features that everyone should check out. But there’s another new feature in iOS 12 that is easily one of the coolest things Apple added to its new software — at least, it would be if it actually worked.

Via The Loop, a blog called Kirkville did some testing with a new app that Apple included in iOS 12 called Measure. The idea of the app is pretty awesome and we had a lot of fun playing with it while iOS 12 was in beta. We never really tested it against any other means of taking measurements though, because we sort of assumed that it wouldn’t be very accurate. As it turns out, that assumption was spot on.

So what is Measure, anyway? Apple made some big changes in iOS 12 that introduce a bunch of new augmented reality features. To help showcase AR on the iPhone and iPad, the company created the Measure app. In a nutshell, Measure allows you to measure the length of an object in AR. The only problem, as Kirkville points out, is that you can’t rely on Measure to actually provide accurate measurements.

Check out these two images from Kirkville’s post:

The images above show two different measurements of the exact same object, but Apple’s Measure app gives a different result each time. We just tested the Measure app ourselves on an iPhone X by measuring the length of Apple’s Magic keyboard three times. We got a different result each of the three times. One time the measurement even changed after it had been recorded.

There were already a number of similar AR measuring apps in the App Store before Apple made its own, and they all suffer from similar issue. Measure is a cool technology demo and it’s fine if you’re just looking for a rough estimate of something’s length, but you clearly shouldn’t rely on it for anything important.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.