How To Use An Old iPhone As A VR Headset

When it first launched in 2016, Google was selling cardboard viewers, which were genuinely just cardboard cuboids with lenses inside, for as little as $5. Google discontinued its cardboard headsets in 2021 (via 9 to 5 Google), but links to third-party alternatives are still listed on its site and are still the cheapest option. Like the original, most of the options listed on the Google site are made of cardboard. The cheapest options still retail under $10, with the Vusion V3 being the cheapest option, priced at just $8.95. The pricier options on Google’s site contain plastic and may last significantly longer than the fragile cardboard options.

The cheaper versions of Google Cardboard also lack head straps and have to be held to the user’s face. That should be fine as they also lack controllers so Google Cardboard users won’t be doing anything important with their hands anyway. Google Cardboard-style headsets tend to arrive flat and have to be folded into shape. Users then load a VR app on their device and then place their phone inside the headset, lining it up with the lenses. In addition to the lack of a controller, most of the cheaper cardboard headsets offer no way to interact with a phone while it’s in the device, so the headset has to be opened again if an app asks you to select an option. Despite the shortcomings, a basic third-party cardboard headset, an old iPhone, and some free apps could see you experiencing VR for under $10.

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