Someone asked me the other day how to use the Samsung Gear VR with your iPhone. I have also received a couple messages here on Tom’s Hardware asking that same thing. So to help as many people as possible, I thought I would post a quick answer here.
The TL;DR is that you cannot use the Samsung Gear VR with your iPhone. The longer version adds a little more information.
Samsung Gear VR compatibility
As you would imagine, Samsung have limited compatibility of the Gear VR to Samsung devices only. This isn’t a great surprise given that they are using it to further leverage sales of flagship phones. Add to that their rivalry with Apple and you have lots of reasons why the Gear VR will not work with your iPhone.
The Samsung Gear VR will work with:
1. Samsung Galaxy S6
2. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
3. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
4. Samsung Galaxy Note 5
5. Samsung Galaxy S7
6. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
I have no doubt that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 will also be compatible.
VR potential of the iPhone
Sorry to say this guys but the iPhone simply isn’t powerful enough to run VR. While the Retina screen is perfectly good for phone use, it doesn’t have the pixel density to work properly. The Galaxy S7 delivers 577ppi while the iPhone 7 is only capable of 326ppi.
Add to that the fact that the iPhone 7 chipset doesn’t have the power to run a smooth VR experience above 60 frames per second. Anything lower can generate motion sickness.
Sorry folks, the iPhone just isn’t up to it yet.
Read the Samsung Gear VR vs Google Daydream: mobile VR showdown here!