The 7 best 3D scanning apps for smartphones in 2017 📱

What are the best 3D scanner apps for iOS and Android?

3D scanning apps are becoming increasingly popular for 3D reality capture. Three-dimensional capturing is often overshadowed by 3D printing, as it is mainly geared towards professional uses and is not as accessible to consumers as 3D printing. 3D scanners can be expensive and complex to operate, and only a few makers are equipped with 3D capture hardware- but this could change!

Indeed, more and more companies are making 3D scanning accessible by creating 3D scanning apps that can turn almost any smartphone into a pocket-sized 3D scanner. These 3D scanning apps are based on photogrammetry, a 3D scanning technology that creates 3D models out of 2D photos.

In photogrammetry, a camera takes pictures of an object from different angles and then a software generates a 3D model of it by “stitching” the images together. Since smartphones are now equipped with high definition cameras, a growing number of companies are developing 3D scanning apps- leveraging the photogrammetry technology to turn smartphones into 3D scanners.

In this article, we provide a comprehensive list of the best free 3D scanner apps available for iPhones and Android smartphones. Further below, information can be found on these 3D scanning applications and how mobile 3D scanning works.

The 7 best (and free!) 3D scanning apps for smartphones

ApplicationCountryPriceOperating SystemExtra hardware needed
QloneIsraelFreeiOSNo
TrnioUnited StatesFreeiOSNo
Scann3DHungaryFreeAndroidNo
ItSeez3DRussiaFreeiOSYes ($379)
ScandyUnited StatesFreeiOS/AndroidYes ($379)
CanvasUnited StatesFreeiOSYes ($379)
BevelCanadaFreeiOS/AndroidYes ($89)
Our table shows our selection of the best 3D scanning mobile apps for iOS and/or Android devices. Let us know if we missed any 3D scanning mobile app.
3D scanner app Trnio

Qlone is a new 3D scanning app that was developed by the Israeli-based company EyeCue Technologies.

How do 3D scanning apps work?

The photogrammetry 3D scanning technology

Three-dimensional scanning technology is based on photogrammetry, a technology that reconstructs a person or object in 3D from 2D captures. By definition, photogrammetry is “the science of making measurements from photographs”, but in the case of 3D scanning, photogrammetry creates 3D models by feeding images into a computational model. A regular smartphone camera takes photos of an object, and then the software takes care of the rest by stitching the pictures together. With the photogrammetry 3D scanning technology, the final 3D scan features color and texture (unlike other technologies which only capture shapes for example).

3D scanner app qlone - 3D scanning for mobiles

Qlone’s AR guidance system. Credit: Qlone

Note: more information about 3D scanning is available in our 3D scanning technologies article.

3D scanning using a smartphone (iOS or Android)

Most 3D scanning apps are based on the photogrammetry 3D scanning technology. The user takes several pictures of the object from different angles (usually 360° around the object) with the 3D scanner app. Most 3D scanning apps provide on-screen tips and guidance to help users take the pictures properly in order to produce an accurate 3D model. These pictures are then processed by the app, either locally or through a cloud service, and “stitched” together to form a 3D model. The 3D model can then be exported or modified using additional 3D software and, in most cases, it can also be 3D printed.

3D scanner apps overview (iOS and Android)

We divided the best 3D scanning apps into two categories:

  • 3D scanning mobile apps that don’t require any hardware in addition to the smartphone.
  • and 3D scanning apps that do.

All of the 3D scanner apps are free to download from the App Store (iOS) or Play Store (Android) depending on the smartphone’s operating system.   Note: the data below is valid as of August 2017.

Scann3D tutorial and interface. Credit: Scann3D

Free 3D scanner apps not requiring extra hardware

These 3D scanner apps are free and do not require any external hardware or additional purchases. The following user-friendly 3D scanning apps can simply be downloaded on iPhones or Android smartphones.

3D-scanner-app-qlone-logo

Qlone 🇮🇱

  • Last update*: August 7, 2017
  • Compatibility: iOS
  • Price: Free
  • Extra cost: Sketchfab export $0.99/3D scan
  • App Store rating: 3.2/5
  • Country: Israel
In order for the user to use Qlone, a special black and white paper mat needs to be printed (similar to QR code), on which the object to be 3D scanned will be placed. Qlone offers a useful guiding system; a grey dome surrounds the object and lets the user know which angle they need to capture next. Results are generated locally (without going through a cloud platform) and almost in real time.

Users can easily share their 3D scans via social media apps such as Facebook and Whatsapp. Exports to Sketchfab or Shapeways cost $0.99 per 3D scan. *This information is valid as of August 2017.

3D-scanner-app-trnio-logo

Trnio 🇺🇸

  • Last update*: August 5, 2017
  • Compatibility: iOS
  • Price: Free
  • App Store rating: 3/5
  • Country: United States
Trnio, which was developed in 2013, is one of the first-released free 3D scanning apps. The 3D scanning app can operate in two modes: the object mode, requiring the user to move in a circle around the object, and the scene mode, with free-formed 3D scanning (ideal for larger objects or outdoor scans). The app sends the photos to a cloud for processing, a step that may take from 10 to 45 minutes depending on the selected resolution.

Although there were talks for an Android-compatible Trnio release by the end of 2016, the company has yet to make an announcement.

3D-scanner-apps-scann3d-logo

Scann 3D 🇭🇺

  • Last update*: April 28, 2017
  • Compatibility: Android
  • Price: Free
  • Google Play rating: 3.3/5
  • Country: Hungary
Scann 3D, an application that is compatible with Sketchfab, requires the user to take approximately 20-30 photos of the object that they wish to 3D scan. The photos must overlap and be taken in a continuous circle around the object.

An advantage of Scann 3D is its fast processing time thanks to the instant reconstruction feature, meaning that the photo processing is performed directly on the device and not on an external source like a cloud service. However, this may cause the battery to drain quickly.

Free 3D scanning apps requiring extra hardware

Although these 3D scanner apps are free, they require additional hardware to be purchased. The most popular are the Structure Sensor by Occipital and the 3D Systems iSense. Users simply have to install the 3D scanning app on their smartphones and plug in the external hardware to begin the 3D scanning process. Most of these 3D scanner apps target a more professional audience.

Bevel plug-in. Credit: Bevel

3D-scanner-app-itseez3d-logo

itSeez3D 🇷🇺

  • Last update*: May 15, 2017
  • Compatibility: iOS (iPads only)
  • Price: Free
  • App Store rating: 4.2/5
  • Country: Russia
This 3D scanner app offers great quality 3D scans by processing the photos on its cloud platform. itSeez3D is able to capture people in 3D, a process known as 3D body scanning, though the resolution is a bit inferior compared to resolutions obtained for smaller objects.

itSeez3D offers unlimited scanning, but exports cost $7 each. The two paid versions of itSeez3D offer a limited amount of free exports and other benefits. itSeez3D recently offered a new package called the “Scale Up” at $250/month, providing up to 1200 free exports per year.

This application requires an Occipital Structure Sensor to operate ($379, available on Amazon).

3D scanning app scandy logo

Scandy 🇺🇸

  • Last update*: December 13, 2016
  • Compatibility: iOS/Android
  • Price: Free
  • App Store rating: 4.5/5
  • Google Play rating: 3.9/5
  • Country: United States
Scandy, an app created in 2014 in New Orleans, allows 3D scanning objects or landscapes. This 3D scanning app gives users the option to 3D print their 3D scans. Panoramas can be 3D printed onto small spheres (a small 3-inch sphere costs $35 to print). A “Scandy Pro” version is available for Tango-enabled smartphones. “Scandy Core” also exists as a tool that allows developers to create their own 3D-enabled applications.

The app requires an Occipital Structure Sensor to operate ($379, available on Amazon).

3D scanner app canvas logo

Canvas 🇺🇸

  • Last update*: February 13, 2017
  • Compatibility: iOS (iPad only)
  • Price: Free
  • Hardware: Occipital Structure Sensor ($379, available on Amazon)
  • Country: United States
This free 3D scanner application is ideal for professionals working in home services, such as designers, architects, real estate agents, etc.

Canvas is easy to use as it only requires the user to walk around the room as the app creates a scaled 3D scan in real time, as well as providing exact floorplan measurements. Canvas allows users to save their scans on their iPads or e-mail them to friends or colleagues. This 3D scanning app also offers a Scan To CAD service for $29.95 per scan.

3D scanner app bevel logo

Bevel 🇨🇦

  • Last update*: July 20, 2017
  • Compatibility: iOS/Android
  • Price: Free
  • Hardware: Bevel ($89)
  • Google Play rating: 2.3/5
  • Country: Canada
Bevel launched on Kickstarter on July 28th, 2015 and was successfully funded only two weeks later on August 11th. Bevel, a small dongle-like device, officially started shipping in April 4, 2017 after almost 2 years of development.

Initial feedback from the Bevel community has not been great– Bevel users face spontaneous app crashes and bug problems. This 3D scanning app doesn’t support 360° 3D capture, an issue that the parent company Matter and Form is dealing with at the moment. Matter and Form also manufactures a 3D scanner called the MFS1V1.

*This information is valid as of August 2017.

Selection of smartphone-compatible 3D scanning hardware:

  • Occipital Structure Sensor (available on Amazon)
  • 3D Systems iSense (available on Amazon)

3D scanner apps for Tango smartphones (Android)

Tango is a new augmented reality technology that was introduced by Google in 2014 for Android smartphones. Tango technology is ideal for 3D scanning with its motion tracking, area learning and depth perception features (detecting distances, sizes and surfaces in the environment). Since Tango is a relatively new technology, only two smartphones and one tablet are Tango-enabled as of August 2017. This is why we didn’t include the following 3D scanning apps in our main table.
3D scanner app 3D-scanner voxxlr logo

3D Scanner 🇨🇦

  • Last update*: June 5, 2017
  • Compatibility: Android Tango-enabled phones
  • Price: free
  • Google Play rating: 4.1/5
  • Country: Canada

3D Scanner, a 3D scanning app created by Voxxlr, lets users capture in 3D indoor and outdoor environments simply by moving their Tango-enabled devices as if shooting a video. 3D scans can be uploaded to the Voxxlr cloud platform for additional processing. The processing is done fast, and users have the choice of different 3D scanning resolutions.

An advantage of 3D Scanner is its high processing capabilities since the processing is not done locally but on Voxxlr’s cloud platform.

3D scanner app matterport-scenes logo

Matterport Scenes 🇺🇸

  • Last update*: August 7, 2017
  • Compatibility: Android Tango-enabled phones
  • Price: Free
  • Google Play rating: 4.6/5
  • Country: United States

Matterport Scenes is a first-generation reality capture app for Tango-enabled smartphones, ideal for professional use. Matterport Scenes lets users 3D scan large objects, small spaces or even entire rooms and, thanks to its AR software, it provides accurate on-screen measurements. The app lets users easily share their 3D scans with other users through the Scenes cloud service.

Matterport Scenes is a great 3D scanning app for interior designers and architects.

3D scanner app scandy pro logo

Scandy Pro 🇺🇸

  • Last update*: July 31, 2017
  • Compatibility: Android Tango-enabled phones
  • Price: Free
  • Google Play rating: 3.4/5
  • Country: United States

Scandy Pro is a version of Scandy that is only available for Tango-enabled smartphones, like the Asus Zenfone AR or the Lenovo Phab 2. Scandy Pro allows users to generate a 3D mesh from an object with different resolution options depending on the user’s needs.

Scandy Pro also allows users to quickly export their 3D scans to CAD/3D software such as AutoCAD, Unity and Meshmixer.

*This information is valid as of August 2017.

Selection of Tango smartphones (Android)

Tango is a relatively new technology, thus less than a handful of Tango-enabled smartphones are available on the market. They are the following:

3D scanner app Matterport Scenes screenshot

Interface of Matterport Scenes
Credit: Matterport

Special mention – Sony Xperia XZ1 3D Creator

Towards the end of August 2017, Sony unveiled two new smartphones featuring their own preloaded 3D scanning app named 3D Creator. Sony’s 3D Creator app, able to 3D scan objects in under one minute, will be featured exclusively on the manufacturer’s new smartphones: the Xperia XZ1 and the Xperia XZ1 Compact. The generated models can be used in the AR world and can even be selected as the smartphone’s wallpaper.

3D scanning apps currently being crowdfunded

3D capturing projects on crowdfunding platforms are scarce as opposed to 3D printers. We listed the few 3D scanner apps that are currently being crowdfunded to provide a comprehensive view of this market.

Note: the 3Dignite Scanner application is not currently being crowdfunded, but we decided to include it in our list since its campaign is to launch soon.

3D scanner app Eora3D logo

EORA 3D 🇦🇺

  • Hardware: EORA3D device ($290)
  • Country: Australia
  • Amount pledged on Kickstarter: $599,925
  • Amount pledged on Indiegogo: $1,096,965

EORA 3D is a pending Kickstarter project that was launched in October 2015. EORA 3D hardware is composed of a small laser 3D scanning device and an optional wireless turntable. Although the project was praised initially, there hasn’t been any update since May 3rd, 2017 (an update mentioning a hardware issue) and backers are becoming increasingly impatient.

3D scanner app pixelio logo

PIXELIO 🇬🇧

  • Hardware: Pixelio turntable ($199)
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Amount pledged on Kickstarter: $61,111
  • Amount pledged on Indiegogo: $90,340

PIXELIO is a portable turntable that uses 123D catch, a 3D scanning app that was discontinued in April 2017. The future of PIXELIO on the smartphone 3D scanning market is still uncertain. Although the project was hyped up at the beginning of its campaign, the creators of PIXELIO have yet to deliver on their promise.

The last update by the PIXELIO team was in March 2017, stating that delays were caused by unexpected production costs in China, and that the first batch of PIXELIO devices was waiting for clearance at customs in Hamburg, Germany.

Special mention – 3Dignite Scanner

3Dignite Scanner is a 3D scanning app project that has yet to be launched publicly. Not many details about this application for 3D scanning are available at the moment, but we do know that it is able to export 3D scans to the VR world. 3Dignite Scanner is compatible with Minecraft, allowing users to see how their 3D scanned objects will appear in-game, and is capable of 3D body scanning (to some extent). The exact date of its crowdfunding launch remains unknown for now, but users can subscribe to the 3Dignite Scanner newsletter for updates.

3D scanning software using a smartphone as a camera

Although technically 3DF Zephyr and Autodesk ReMake are not smartphone apps, we found it interesting to include them. They are both 3D scanning systems based on photogrammetry technology, using a smartphone as a camera to capture the images. These images are then processed by the 3D scanning software and stitched together to generate the final 3D scan. The results are far more superior than any 3D scanning mobile app, even when using the free software versions.

 3DF Zephyr 🇮🇹

3DF Zephyr, a 3D scanning software with an easy-to-use interface, enables 3D scanning with smartphone featuring a high definition camera. 3DF Zephyr creates 3D scans from photos and is capable of exporting the 3D scans in common 3D file formats.

The free version of 3DF Zephyr allows the user to take up to 50 photos per scan, while paid versions of the software allow for unlimited photos. The more photos are processed, the better the quality of the final 3D model.

 Autodesk ReMake 🇺🇸

Autodesk ReMake, just like 3DF Zephyr, is a 3D scanning software that can generate 3D scans and meshes using a smartphone’s HD camera. Autodesk ReMake enables users to create 3D scans from a series of photos. In the free version of Autodesk ReMake, a 50-photo limit is imposed for each 3D scan and the process is done locally (directly on the computer). The paid version offers a maximum limit of 250 photos, which can also be processed through a cloud service.

3DF Zephyr editing menu.
Credit: 3DF Zephyr




3D photo apps

3D photo apps are a new trend and, although they don’t provide actual 3D scans, they are definitely interesting tools to play (or work) with.

What is 3D photo or spatial photography?

Spatial photography is a relatively new technology, a hybrid between capturing a video and taking photographs. 3D photos combine the perspective of a panoramic photo, the three-dimensional features of a video and the staticness of a regular photograph.

Differences between 3D photo and 3D scanning apps

3D photos are close to 3D scans, at least in the way they are seen, but they are still both separate. The differences between spatial photography and 3D scanning are the following:

  • Spatial photography photos can’t be 3D printed
  • 3D photos can only be stored and accessed through a specific viewing app
  • 3D scans can be edited
  • 3D photos can’t be exported to external software such as Sketchfab

3D photo app fyuse logo

Fyuse 🇺🇸

  • Last update*: July 26, 2017
  • Compatibility: iOS/Android
  • Price: Free
  • App Store rating: 4.4/5
  • Google Play rating: 3.9/5
  • Country: United States

3D photo app phoggy logo

Phogy 🇸🇬

  • Last update*: February 11, 2015
  • Compatibility: iOS/Android
  • Price: Free
  • App Store rating: 2.9/5
  • Google Play rating: 4/5
  • Country: Singapore

Fyuse is a free spatial photography app with millions of downloads that allows users to take interactive 3D photos. Fyuse is easy to use as it only requires users to tap and hold down a button within the app while moving around a person or object in a circular motion.
Phogy is a 3D photo app that allows users to take interactive 3D photos for free. Although Phogy hasn’t been updated since early 2015, the app is still available on the App Store and Google Play Store.

*This information is valid as of August 2017.




 

Discontinued 3D scanner apps

We decided to also include some discontinued 3D scanning apps for both iPhones and Android smartphones that still have an impact on the 3D scanning app market.

123D Catch 🇺🇸

123D Catch, which was once the most famous 3D scanning mobile app, is discontinued since April 2017. 123D Catch was compatible with iOS, Android and Windows smartphones.

Seene 🇬🇧

Seene is a 3D scanning app for smartphones that has been acquired by Snapchat. According to a statement on Seene’s website, the company is working on an “exciting new project” that combines virtual reality and 3D printing technologies.

Trimensional 🇺🇸

Although Trimensional is still available on the App Store, it hasn’t been updated since late 2014, so it is safe to say that the app can be considered discontinued.




 

In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of 3D scanning apps for smartphones that are currently available. The market is still too small and recent to create a ranking or leave out certain 3D scanning apps.

Even if some of these applications and their accessories are able to create very decent 3D models, they aren’t as technologically advanced as actual 3D scanners can be. 3D scanning applications are a great solution for beginners, hobbyists and even professionals that don’t require ultra-high quality 3D scans.

More 3D scanning resources