In a surprising turn of events, YouTube has reversed its decision regarding the Apple Vision Pro, announcing that a dedicated app for the spatial computing headset is now on its roadmap. This shift comes after YouTube initially declared that it would not develop specialized apps for the Vision Pro and would not allow its iPad apps to run on the hardware.
As of now, the company recommends that Vision Pro users access the platform via Safari. However, the desktop version in Safari poses usability challenges, with touch targets close together and not optimized for eye tracking. Thus, the prospect of a native Vision Pro app promises an enhanced and more tailored user experience.
“A great experience”: YouTube plans Vision Pro app after initial resistance
YouTube spokesperson Jessica Gibby revealed the company’s updated position in a statement to The Verge, stating, “We’re excited to see Vision Pro launch and we’re supporting it by ensuring YouTube users have a great experience in Safari. We do not have any specific plans to share at this time, but can confirm that a Vision Pro app is on our roadmap.” While the statement signals a positive shift, it leaves users eagerly awaiting more details and a specific timeline for the release of the dedicated Vision Pro app.
One notable hurdle in YouTube’s support for the Vision Pro is the absence of compatibility for existing 360 and VR videos on the platform. Apple spokesperson Jackie Roy mentioned that much of this content was created for devices that do not deliver a high-quality spatial experience and could potentially cause motion discomfort. YouTube has not clarified if the new Vision Pro app will address these issues, leaving the future of VR and 360 video support uncertain on the Apple headset.
Additionally, Vision Pro owners have encountered issues with Safari’s WebXR support, affecting the functionality of various VR videos. While Apple’s Roy acknowledged the limitations and mentioned ongoing efforts to improve WebXR support, it remains unclear when users can expect a seamless experience with VR content on the Vision Pro.
In the meantime, users can try Juno—a $4.99 third-party app providing a native VisionOS UI experience. Juno uses YouTube’s embed API, offering video playback with essential controls, ad support, and even detection of YouTube Premium subscriptions. Despite being unofficial, Juno, created by the seasoned app developer Christian Selig, promises an immersive YouTube experience on Vision Pro, with future updates including multiview support and additional features.