Last Updated: February 20, 2024
Augmented Reality App Development
Published On: January 16, 2024

Summary:- Creating an AR application is a highly responsible task and requires a systematic approach, apart from considering lots of things be it features, functionalities, frameworks, or development costs. With this guide, we aim to provide you with maximum information regarding AR app development to solve your maximum queries.

The launch of the most popular games like ‘Pokémon’ Go unveiled the true potential of Augmented Reality in terms of impact on the gaming industry. Today, the augmented reality market, known as market size, is not limited to the gaming industry. It has unprecedented abilities to transform many other industries as well, including eCommerce, healthcare, architecture, real estate, and more. It has fostered the demand for Augmented Reality app development.

So, if you are planning to develop an AR application for your business, this guide helps you explore the relevant information. It discusses everything to help you develop and, ar app hassle-free.

What is an Augmented Reality App Development?

Being an emerging technology, Augmented Reality (AR) includes the ability to integrate visual objects and digital information into a complete real-world environment. It’s different from Virtual Reality (VR) which lets users engross themselves into an artificial environment. 

Instead, AR keeps computer-generated images in a real-world environment. It becomes possible with the help of devices, including smart glasses, smartphones, or headsets packed in with sensors and cameras. 

AI witnessed its huge popularity in the gaming & entertainment industry and is adopted by them to a large extent. Apart from this, the technology is also adopted by many more industries on a massive scale, including education, healthcare, manufacturing, and others. AR works effectively by combining computer-generated elements with a physical world. 

For instance, navigation applications better represent augmented reality technology and AR apps, which display direction through a live camera feed. With the advancement of technology, Augmented Reality App Development continues to emerge by offering limitless possibilities across multiple sectors and also redefining the way we perceive our surroundings. 

How do AR Apps Work?

AR applications have the capability of overlaying digital information to improve the real-world environment, which provides an immersive user experience. These applications function with the help of a combination of software and hardware components. Let’s explore complete information regarding how AR apps work:

  • AR applications use sensors in users’ devices, including accelerometers, cameras, gyroscopes, etc. These help them to perceive their real-world surroundings.
  • These sensors process data with computer vision algorithms that enable applications to get ideas and also define users’ surroundings. These algorithms have the capability of recognizing surfaces, objects, text recognition, and spatial relationships in the environment. It allows applications to superimpose digital content flawlessly.
  • AR application makes the perfect use of marker-based techniques. Marker-based Augmented Reality depends on QR codes or other predefined visual markers to present digital content to any particular location.
  • AR applications can display the augmented content on the devices’ screen in real-time. The digital content includes text, 3D object models, or animations, which blend perfectly with the actual worldview captured through the camera.      

Types of Augmented Reality Apps

Augmented Reality app development has the potential to minimize the gap between the real and digital worlds. That’s why it’s adopted by multiple industries that use AR applications for different purposes. Let’s explore here some of the most popular types of AR applications:

1. Marker-based AR Apps

Marker-based AR applications function based on various predefined images or markers to leverage the augmented content. Markers serve as reference points for apps and have the capability of superimposing various digital elements into a real environment when detected by the camera. 

Some popular examples of marker-based apps include educational materials, interactive advertisements, gaming experiences, and more. Many popular marker-based AR applications let users view their favorite items that they purchase in their own homes, be it furniture, electronics, or other items. 

2. Markerless AR Apps

As the name suggests, markerless AR applications don’t need any particular marker to augment content. Rather, they leverage various cutting-edge technologies, including mapping, simultaneous localization, and more, to get complete details related to users’ real surroundings and then present content based on this. 

Markerless augmented reality is necessary for navigation applications, which overlays real-time information based on users’ views and provides points of interest, direction, and crucial data. 

3. AR For Gaming 

Augmented reality witnesses its significant impact on the gaming industry by having an enormous capability to bring digital elements into the physical world. Pokemon GO is one of the top-rated gaming applications that unveil the real potential of Augmented Reality when it comes to creating an interactive experience. 

The applications work based on using the camera and sensors of devices and can blend virtual objects with users’ real environment, which brings the possibility for users to social interaction and also get an overview of the outdoors.  

4. eCommerce and Shopping AR Apps

eCommerce and retail are some of those industries that utilize AR technology perfectly to improve the shopping experience. With these applications, users can view products in their own physical space and thus can make the final decision of buying products accordingly. 

For instance, many cosmetic virtual brands of late facilitate users to try their products virtually and get the true experience. Users can try different cosmetic products by using the camera of their devices. It creates an immersive shopping experience that minimizes the void between in-store interactions and online, which helps customers make their buying decisions with more confidence. 

5. Healthcare AR Apps

Healthcare is another industry that leverages AR technology to a wider extent. AR-based applications have transformed patient care, diagnostics, medical training, and more. These apps allow surgeons to overlay crucial information during the surgical process, which helps them perform their tasks with higher efficiency.

Patients, on the other hand, can also get several advantages of using AR apps. For instance, they can use apps to gather real-time information regarding treatment plans, medicines, postoperative care, and more. More and more medical students can also use these apps for training to refine their practical experience. 

6. Interior Design AR Apps

Another popular type of Augmented Reality app, interior design AR application, lets users view and can do planning for the complete layout of the interior decorations. These apps allow users to place their visual objects in real-time while letting them try different colors, styles, arrangements, etc., before they make their final decision. 

Interior design AR applications are useful for both interior designers and homeowners, helping them make better decisions and make their space aesthetically enticing.  

7. Training and Simulation AR Apps

AR features-powered applications witnessed higher demand in many industries for the main purpose of providing necessary training to employees. These apps are also popular among aviation professionals, military, and other personnel. They use these apps to boost their skills in real-world scenarios. 

The credit goes to training and simulation AR applications for improving learning outcomes by facilitating hands-on training, practicals, etc. even without any risk.

The Role of Augmented Reality in Your Industry

Augmented reality app development has transformed many industries by redefining the way businesses operate with improved efficiency. Let’s understand how different industries leverage this technology to improve their work operation:

1. Healthcare

AR plays a leading role in taking the healthcare sector to the next level. It serves both surgeons and patients by making their tasks easy and efficient. It has improved the way medical training is conducted. 

With AR apps, surgeons can view and gather crucial information regarding patients in real-time during the surgical procedure, while patients can, on the other hand, gather vital information regarding their treatment plans, medicines, and more.

2. Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector also adopted AR technology to a wider extent. It experienced a great shift with the adoption of AR, which streamlines the production process in this industry. It has transformed several processes, be it maintenance, assembly, quality control, and more. It not only maximizes efficiency but also minimizes errors, which finally boosts productivity.  

3. Retail

AR has revitalized the retail sector by improving the customer experience. This technology has reshaped the way customers interact with products, be it interactive in-store displays or virtual try-on solutions. 

It works effectively in improving the shopping experience of customers and thus also helps retailers to gather more information regarding the preferences of customers, which helps them sketch out their marketing strategy accordingly.

4. Education

Education is another sector that witnessed the great impact of augmented technology. An interactive learning environment is one of the best examples of the impact of AR on the education sector. 

It engages students to a wider extent by letting them get a completely immersive experience. Be it interactive anatomy lessons or virtual field trips, AR has made the learning experience more effective and engaging.

5. Real Estate

The real estate industry also leverages the vast potential of AR technology to offer an immersive tour to buyers seeking to purchase properties. AR applications enable homeowners to view complete room configurations and furniture placements to get a real sense of their space. It improves their decision-making process and also minimizes the necessity for the physical tour of sites.

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Steps to Build an Augmented Reality App

Building an AR application is not a one-step task. The AR mobile app development team needs to go through several steps to develop the final app. Let’s find a detailed overview of the various steps required for developing AR apps: 

1. Planning and Objectives

Before starting to develop an app, it’s necessary to define the actual purpose of the end product. The development team sits with stakeholders to discuss everything about their augmented reality mobile app development requirements. 

They discuss core needs, target audiences, and issues that the application can solve. The team defines a clear roadmap to outline both features and functionalities that the application will include. And then set the budget and timeline of app development accordingly. 

2. Platform Selection and Preparation

An AR app development team makes the selection of the best platform for application development based on the actual goals and the target customers. Be it iOS, Android, or cross-platform, they select the right platform for Augmented Reality software development based on their needs and objectives. 

Every platform for AR app development is available with its own AR development frameworks. For instance, I use ARCore for Android and ARKit for iOS. You need to make sure that the developers possess expertise in leveraging the selected platform.

3. Designing the User Interface

Designing an AR application is a crucial phase that involves the integration of virtual elements seamlessly with the physical world. Designers are responsible for performing this task. They craft a user-friendly interface while ensuring its intuitiveness. They make sure the UI improves user experience. 

You should focus on various visual aesthetics while ensuring several virtual elements blend with perfection in a real-world environment. While designing AR applications, designers consider several other factors, including interaction gestures, placement, scale, etc., to provide a completely immersive user experience.   

4. Development and Integration

After designing the augmented reality applications, the next step is coding. During this phase, developers use software development kits, code the final product based on the design, and leverage various AR development tools and frameworks, which help them implement the necessary features. 

They incorporate various elements, including animations, 3D Objects models, interactions, etc., while ensuring these align perfectly with the core objectives of the application.

Developers ensure responsiveness and performance of the application while emphasizing smooth interaction to improve user engagement. They also integrate various external services, APIs, etc. as per necessity while ensuring seamless connectivity and flawless data exchange between app and external data sources.  

5. Optimization and Testing

When it comes to optimization, it’s essential to deliver a top-quality AR experience. You need to pay attention to the performance of the application while minimizing latency and also improving responsiveness. You need to conduct application testing on different devices to make sure they are fully compatible and consistent across a range of platforms. 

QA professionals conduct user testing to get crucial feedback on the UI/UX. During this phase, these professionals also address several issues, such as performance, bugs, etc., that take place during the testing scenario. 

6. Deployment and Post-launch Support

After the quality check, the development team submits the app to app stores by fulfilling the necessary guidelines. Once they launch and deploy the app successfully, they offer necessary ongoing maintenance and support to address any challenges that users may come across. They analyze users’ feedback and implement it with perfection. 

Best Tools to Build Augmented Reality Apps

There are several tools available to streamline the AR app development process and make it less time-consuming. These augmented reality tools include a plethora of features to match the diverse project requirements. Let’s find out some of the top-rated augmented reality tools for building AR apps:

1. ARKit (iOS) and ARCore (Android)

As we already mentioned, ARKit was developed by Apple and is used to develop AR apps on the iOS platforms. ARCore, on the other hand, was developed by Google and used to develop applications on the Android platform.

These are some of the top frameworks for developing AR apps and offer a complete foundation by providing necessary features, including environmental understanding, motion tracking, light estimation, and more.

Being developer-friendly frameworks, these tools make it possible to create a highly immersive AR experience on several devices. They boast tools to ensure real-world interactions, which makes them a perfect choice for developers who create apps on iOS and Android platforms. 

2. Vuforia

Vuforia is another robust AR development platform that is mainly popular for its cross-platform support and versatility. Be it Windows, iOS, or even Android, the framework supports every platform when it comes to AR application development. 

Image recognition, known as image tracking, is one of its outstanding features that enable developers to create a fully immersive AR experience targeted by any specific object. It’s available with immense tracking capabilities, which make it appropriate for varieties of apps.  

3. Unity3D with AR Foundation

Unity3D is one of the top-rated game development engines that has the ability to include AR development with the help of the AR Foundation. Unity is popular for various reasons, be it its extensive community, ease of use, or ability to deploy apps on various platforms.

AR Foundation enables developers to create an AR experience that works flawlessly across various platforms, be they ARCore, ARKit, or other AR-based platforms. Apart from augmented reality tools, its plugins and rich library of assets can make the development process smooth, which makes it an apt choice for both experienced and fresher developers.  

4. Wikitude

Wikitude is an AR SDK that offers a wide range of features for creating location-based AR experiences. It supports marker-based and markerless AR, allowing developers to choose the best approach based on their project requirements. 

Wikitude stands out for its geo-location AR capabilities, making it suitable for applications that rely on real-world coordinates. Besides this, Wikitude supports image recognition, object recognition, and 3D Objects model rendering and provides developers with ample tools to build diverse AR applications.

5. AR.js

Being an open-source JavaScript library, AR.js makes the overall process of AR development for the web less complicated. It’s different from native AR frameworks. It can operate on the browser directly and thus prevent users from downloading dedicated applications. This is the reason why AR.js is considered to be a perfect option for web-based AR experiences.

The framework offers complete support to marker-based AR, which assists developers in creating highly interactive AR content that can be accessible through multiple devices like tablets or smartphones. AR.js is also known for simplicity and thus emerged as the right choice for those developers who seek to explore AR on the web.

6. Kudan AR

Kudan AR is a top-rated AR SDK that is popular mainly for its outstanding tracking abilities and also performs efficiently. Supporting markerless tracking, the framework enables developers to build AR applications that can function smoothly. It doesn’t require any predefined markers to interact with the actual world environment.

Kudan AR is available with a range of features such as simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), 3D object tracking, and support for both platforms, including iOS and Android. It emphasizes advanced tracking, which makes it the right option for those apps that demand high precision, including navigation systems and industrial AR   

How Much Does it Cost to Build an Augmented Reality App?

The overall cost to develop augmented reality apps is something that depends on the type of app you want to develop, be it a simple or complex app. If you want to create a simple application, it costs from $10000 to $20000

On the other hand, if you wish to create a complex mobile device application, it costs from $20000 to $150000. You can calculate the actual AR app development cost based on several factors, including features, complexity, development hours, real-time data integration, 3D modeling, platform compatibility, and more.

The rate of developers is another thing that has a huge impact on the cost of developing AR applications. Apart from this, you also need to spend some additional costs to build AR apps for necessary updates, maintenance, etc. To get a clear idea about the cost of developing AR applications called reality experiences, you can get in touch with a professional AR app development company.


AR solutions have an enormous capability of keeping your business on the right track by letting you grab untapped growth opportunities. So, you need to create robust AR apps for your business, which should include the necessary features and functionalities based on the core needs of your business. 

The above guide may have resolved most of your doubts about augmented reality app development. It’s the right time to hire a professional virtual reality app developer or AR app development company that possesses an impressive tracking record and has delivered projects successfully in the past.


Creating an AR application needs a multidisciplinary team that includes different professionals. It requires designers who can create 3D designs with immersive virtual elements. Developers should possess huge expertise in leveraging ARCore or ARKit as they need to use these frameworks for coding functionalities of apps. Unreal or Unity Engine experts are necessary to integrate graphics and animation into apps. Software testers identify bugs and issues and resolve them.

You need various software to develop AR. Some of the popular software that developers use more frequently to develop these apps include Unity and Unreal Engine, ARCore, ARKit, Vuforia, and more. They use this software for different purposes while creating an AR application.

AR app developers use multiple programming languages for creating apps on different platforms including Swift, C#, AND Java. They use C# for cross-platform development. Swift is the programming language to create apps on the iOS platform. And Java is the most popular programming language to create apps on the Android platform.

Well, the actual time of creating an AR app depends on factors such as features and complexity. Developers generally take a couple of weeks to develop a simple AR application. Meanwhile, they take more time even several months when it comes to developing more sophisticated applications with advanced functionalities. Apart from this, some other factors also impact the development time of an AR app, including platform compatibility, design complexity, integration complexity, and more.
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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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