With visionOS 2, Safari On Apple Vision Pro Supports WebXR By Default

WebXR is enabled by default in Safari with visionOS 2.


Apple’s demo of WebXR via Safari on Vision Pro.

WebXR is the open standard API that enables webpages to display immersive content on headsets and support interactivity via controllers or hand tracking. WebXR experiences use WebGL for rendering, which is based on OpenGL ES. You can access WebXR apps near-instantly via the web browser like any other web app. No installation or updates are required, and the developer doesn’t need approval from a central app store authority.

Currently on visionOS 1, WebXR isn’t enabled by default. Enabling it requires enabling a feature flag in the advanced settings of Safari. visionOS 2, which was announced earlier this week at WWDC24, solves this.

This wasn’t revealed in the main WWDC keynote, but an Apple engineer detailed it in a developer session available online.

visionOS 2 Officially Announced For Apple Vision Pro
visionOS 2 introduces a number of new features and improvements across the operating system.

Back in March, WebXR got support for Apple Vision Pro’s gaze-and-pinch input system, thanks to Apple working with the W3C standards agency to add a new transient-pointer input mode to the standard.

WebXR Now Supports Apple Vision Pro Default Input System
Safari on Apple Vision Pro now lets WebXR leverage the headset’s default gaze-and-pinch input system.

However, what visionOS still doesn’t support is the WebXR Augmented Reality module. That means WebXR on Apple Vision Pro is still limited to VR only, an issue Niantic ran into when porting their 8th Wall Web AR engine to Apple’s platform. This is, of course, somewhat ironic, given the primary focus of Vision Pro is typically considered to be AR, while the primary focus of Meta Quest, which does support AR in WebXR, has traditionally been VR.