Apple VR/AR headset tipped to scan your iris — here’s what we know

apple mixed reality headset render
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

With the Meta Quest Pro now out in the world, a lot is riding on the long-rumored Apple VR/AR headset. According to a new report from The Information (paywalled), it could set itself apart with one very interesting feature: biometric authentication powered by an iris scanner.

The Information’s sources claimed to have helped develop the headset, and note the iris scanner is designed so that users can log into their personal account by putting the headset on. That should make it significantly more convenient in cases where multiple users are sharing a single headset.

Plus, like Face ID and Touch ID, this new biometric system could allow users to authenticate payments quickly and easily. No entering passcodes or fiddling about with a separate controller, just a quick simple scan to ensure your kids aren’t trying to buy themselves more Robux when you’re not looking.

This is not the first time we’ve heard this rumor. Back in March of 2021 analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested iris scanning could come to the headset alongside sensors that can track eye movement. But we never heard anything else about the feature until now.

It makes perfect sense that Apple would include biometric security in its much-rumored VR/AR headset, and iris scanning seems like the perfect choice. It may seem like something from a science fiction novel, but the same was once true about fingerprint and facial scanning tech. And if the company has cameras tracking eye movement, it makes perfect sense to incorporate sensors that offer iris recognition as well.

And presumably, like its counterparts, the Apple headset would store any and all biometric data on the device itself — likely with a version of Apple’s Secure Enclave. That way your biometric data isn’t at risk if either the device or Apple’s servers are compromised in some way.

What Apple might call this tech is another matter. Iris ID is the obvious, because Eye ID is a bit of a mouthful. But I hold out some hope that Eye-D might beat out rival suggestions.

The Iris scanner joins a huge number of cameras and sensors rumored to be coming to the Apple VR/AR headset. Previous reports suggest that the device could come with 15 cameras, designed to track full-body movement. According to The Information, this also includes two downward-pointing cameras for watching your legs. 

The Meta Quest Pro doesn’t have that last feature, and may help explain why Facebook has struggled to integrate legs into its own Metaverse app — Horizon Worlds.

The Apple headset is also said to allow glasses wearers to take full advantage of the device, with the option to clip prescription lenses onto the interior. Presumably this will be done in such a way that it won’t be getting in the way of Iris scanning or eye tracking capabilities. 

Apple has remained tight-lipped about the VR/AR headset, and we still don’t have any official details on what the device can do or when it will arrive — only rumors and speculation. So far the best we’ve heard is that it’ll arrive sometime in 2023. 

Here’s hoping it’s earlier in the year, rather than later, and we’ll bring you all the biggest news and rumors as and when we hear them.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.