Smartphone Capture

Smartphone Capture allows you to create a 3D model with just your iPhone camera. If you have never created a Matterport Space before, this allows you to try with the iPhone you already have.

To do this, you will need to use a pre-release beta version of the Capture application that adds this capability. You can continue using supported connected cameras to create spaces.

Before you begin 

In summary

  1. You need to have an active Matterport account to try this.
  2. You need a supported iPhone (iPads aren't yet optimized).
  3. You need to sign up and use a Beta version of Capture.
    • We are not yet in a public beta that's open to everyone.

We’ll send you instructions on how to start, along with some tips and short surveys. This beta features a couple of different modes to test - see which one fits best for your needs! 

Share questions, suggestions and feedback at

The details

The first step in using smartphone capture is to take a photosphere. A photosphere is a 360º image from a single location within a property. When you capture a property with Matterport, you take several photospheres of the room/property, and our system automatically combines them to create a 3D model of the space. 

This article will teach you how to get started specifically with smartphone capture. The experience is similar to capturing a photosphere with the Google Pixel Photo or the Google Street View mobile applications.

Many of the best practices for scanning a property with a connected cameras apply to smartphone capture, so take a look at this getting started guide to learn how to scan, edit and share with others.

Required set up

You need to do three things in order to try smartphone capture with the Matterport service.   

  1. Install Capture 3.1 from Test Flight
    • We will send you a link in the getting started instructions that you can open on mobile safari.
    • Please accept notifications in Test Flight so that you can stay up to date. When we enter public beta we’ll share the link here.
  2. Sign in to your Matterport account within Capture
    • If you do not yet have an account, you can sign up and try for free.
  3. Enable and download the Cortex 3D Conversion engine.
  • Within the Capture application, go into Settings>Storage & Firmware and ensure the 3D Conversion toggle is enabled (moved to the right).  
  • If you are a prior user, this may already be enabled.
  • If you choose to skip either steps two or three, you will be prompted to sign in and download this engine once you try your first smartphone capture.image12.png


Once you start a smartphone capture sequence, we will guide you to aim your iPhone at a series of red dots. Once you have completed a sequence it will process this photosphere into a 3D scan. Move 5-8 feet (1.5-2 meters) to a new position and scan again and Capture will automatically align it with the prior scan.image11.png

There are two important factors to keep in mind: coverage and quality.

Coverage is controlled by two scanning modes

Complete Scan  

  1. This process involves taking three, full 360° rotations (rings) from a single point in your environment. You start with a middle level ring, then take an upper and lower ring. The result is an almost complete photosphere (360 image).
  2. Scanning with this mode takes more time, but will cover more of the floor and ceiling and create a more complete dollhouse view.

Simple Scan 

  1. This method is faster as you only capture a single ring.
  2. The resulting space will have constrained the field of view, as the north and south poles of your view will be blurred. However this may be sufficient for your needs, so we encourage you to try both modes and compare.

Note: All variants of the new iPhone 11 have an ultra wide field of view camera, so a Simple Scan will capture most of the space. The results will be closer to a Complete Scan when using earlier iPhone models.

Image Quality 

As you capture the space the most natural thing to do is to rotate the iPhone around yourself. When you find yourself in a narrow area - such as a galley kitchen or a narrow corridor - you may see stitching errors in the final imagery. 

An alternative is to try to keep the iPhone at the same spot as you rotate your body around it. You can also use a tripod with your iPhone. This mitigates parallax problems and reduces stitching errors. This method is a little harder to do so we encourage you to experiment with both:



For this article we will use the lobby in Matterport headquarters as an example.image1.jpg

We're going to turn this into a 3D space using an iPhone Xs. 

Open Smartphone Capture Mode 

With smartphone capture, you will essentially be taking a series of rectangular 2D photos from all viewable angles - Matterport's algorithms then "stitch" together each of the photos to create a 360° photosphere. This emulates the experience of actually standing in the room yourself, and examining the room at all angles.  

  1. Open the Matterport Capture app on your iPhone. 
  2. Create a new job by pressing the "+" button at the bottom right of the app. Enter any information (title, address) you like. You can edit this information later as well.

  3. Without a connection to another camera, the Capture Path selector will default to iPhone or iPad - when the iOS device is connected to a Wi-Fi camera, the name of that camera (in this case, "Pro2") will appear in the selector. 
    firstcapture1.png firstcapture2.png
  4. Use the Options menu to switch between 3D scans and 360° views. In addition, Smartphone Capture lets you choose between Simple Scan and Complete Scan modes. 
    • Simple Scan Mode: Rotate 360° once, capturing a single ring around you. The resulting model will have larger blurred sections of the floors and ceilings. 
    • Complete Scan Mode: Rotate 360° three times, capturing the middle ring, and the upper and lower ring of your environment. The resulting model will feature detailed captures of the ceilings and floors. 
  5. Hold the iPhone at or below eye level to make it easier to capture all angles.
  6. Aim at the red dot - the goal is to get the red dot within the white circle. Hold still once it is within the white circle until the red circle is filled and the shutter clicks.
  7. Move left or right to the next red dot and repeat this process. 

Take your Smartphone Capture 

For Simple ScansSMCapture.png

You’ll come full circle and the last image will overlap. Capture will then briefly stitch these into a single photosphere. Keep in mind that this is just a guide - the images will not be blended as you capture them.

For Complete Scan captures

Repeat the process above, and follow the additional instructions below. 

  1. Pointing the iPhone up and rotating 360 degrees, pointing at the red dots.
  2. When complete, point the iPhone down to complete the lower ring.
  3. You can do either the upper or lower ring first,
    • Though this is your choice, we recommend that you do not switch back and forth between upper and lower while capturing.
  4. After all three rings are captured, the photosphere will automatically be stitched together and converted to 3D.

Adding additional scans

After converting to 3D, the scan will be aligned with any prior scans and represented with a numbered marker on the minimap. This is a floor-plan view of the area that you are capturing.

The first scan is represented by the image labeled with a blue "1" circle below.  In this lobby there is a short hallway and an entrance to a conference room (as seen in the second image below) - keep the following tips in mind. 

  1. An additional second scan position here would help the view explore the area. 
  2. The lower arrow points to a potential third scan area further into the lobby. 
  3. As you capture a space, try to consider the path a visitor would want to virtually "walk" in order to fully explore your model. 
  4. Keep scan positions 5 - 8.5 feet or 1.5 - 2 meters apart.
  5. Try to keep scan positions within a line of site of one another.  
  6. See the quick start guide for more details.SMCapture2.png

Upload to Matterport Cloud 

When you are done capturing a location, you need to upload the scan job to the Matterport Cloud for processing. When it is complete, you will receive an email notification and can explore what you have created. 

Within your scan job

  1. Hit the vertical ellipses button at the top-right of the Capture display
  2. Select "Upload".
    • If you are asked to confirm ‘Upload without marks’, go ahead and confirm the request, but also check out this Mark Features Help Center article to learn how these simple actions can improve your model's quality.
  3. If you are part of multiple organizations, ensure that the desired organization is selected and showing.
  4. Select the "Upload" button. 

While processing, the model page will look like this:  image10.png

When completed, it will look like this:


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