How to Use Cardboard VR – Full Guide with Steps, Tips, FAQs & More

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Cardboard VR is the least expensive VR.

Let’s see how you can use it.

How to Use Cardboard VR?

  1. Open the Cardboard application on your Android device.
  2. On the right side of the screen, tap the Right Arrow button.
  3. Scan the QR codes on the Cardboard viewer using your smartphone’s camera. You may need to remove the cardboard sleeves to find them.
  4. Open the top flap.
  5. Press the flaps up towards you and then press them against the fastener on the side.
  6. Place your phone inside the viewer and then press the button at the top.
  7. Before looking through the viewer, first, focus on something far away.
  8. Close your eyes as your viewers come closer to your face.
  9. To use Cardboard, follow the instructions on the screen.

How to Use Google Cardboard: A Beginner’s Guide

With the help of virtual reality technology, big companies are starting to launch their very own VR products.

While Samsung’s Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive are the ones gaining all the attention, Google Cardboard is the most affordable and easily accessible.

It’d be fair to say that we’re new to the VR world, so we don’t know everything there is to know about Google Cardboard.

Since Google is supposed to be unveiling a new VR headset soon, it’s important that you know everything about Google Cardboard.

What is Google Cardboard?

Google Cardboard is an inexpensive way for people to experience virtual reality.

The Google Cardboard uses low-cost parts and a foldable cardboard viewer, so it was named after its shape. It has a compartment for setting up an Android phone or iPhone and viewing through the lenses.

You can then use compatible applications and view different types of VR content. The lenses give you a 3D image, which makes you think you’re inside the interface.

Things to Note

The cardboard’s reference design from Google includes these components

  • Foldable cardboard viewer
  • Two 45mm plastic lens
  • Hook and loop fasteners like velcro for straps
  • Rubber bands
  • Magnetic or capacitive tapes to interact with the smartphone screen
  • Optional NFC tag

Where to Buy One?

You can get Google Cardboard viewers from third parties, which feature premium designs and better builds than the original version.

Furthermore, you can even build your very own Google cardboard device.

You’ll have to download the Google cardboard manufacturer’s kits, which list the steps for building your own VR device.

Getting Started: How to Set Up?

You will first have to install an Android phone running Android 4.1 (or higher) or an iPhone. Then, you’ll be able to experience virtual realities using apps compatible with Google Cardboard.

We will first suggest you the official Google Card­board app on the Play store or iTunes.

Once you open the application for the first time, it will ask you if you want to use your phone’s camera to detect its compatible lenses and calibrate them to match your smartphone.

After doing so, the application will divide your screen into two sections. Put your phone inside the Google Cardboard box and place it on top of your head.

How to Operate Google Cardboard?

Once you’ve mounted Google Cardboard to the front of your head with the Cardboard application open on your phone, you’ll see different Cardboard demos and more appear on your screen.

The iPhone app has no tutorials, explorers, exhibits, urban hikes, kaleidoscopes, or welcome videos.

However, the Android version of the app includes Cardboard demos, a VR channel, a camera, and a simple game. It also has a section called “Get Apps” which lists compatible apps.

The app also supports Street View, so you can view landmarks in virtual 3D. Unlike the iPhone app which has similar but less cool demo apps, the Android version offers different and cooler ones like Earth, Tour Guide, and My Videos.

There are some important things to keep in mind when using Google Cardboard.

  • To move around, tilt your head from side to side or turn it in circles.
  • Aim for an option by clicking on it and then pressing the magnet button on the left side of your phone.
  • To get back to the main menu at any point, turn the cardboard 90° to your right.

Some Beginner Tips to Know

If you’ve just purchased a brand new Google Card­board viewer, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Capture and View VR Photos

Google has just launched an app called Cardboard Camera, which allows you to take panoramic photos using a smartphone’s camera.

You can view those pictures in the Google Cardboard Viewer and enjoy them again in VR.

Use Street View in VR Mode

With Google’s StreetView app, you can easily access famous landmarks using Google Cardboard. To start, just select one of the landmarks you want to visit from the list and then click the Cardboard icon at the top-left corner.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, place your phone into the cardboard viewer and experience the landmarks as if you’re actually there.

Use a Bluetooth Controller

With Google Cardboard VR, there are lots of fun and interesting apps for you to enjoy. However, using a smartphone with a magnetic sensor may be uncomfortable. Some apps are difficult to use with the magnet button.

If you’re serious about playing games in VR, then you should definitely get a Bluetooth gamepad. You’ll need to be able to keep your arms free, so make sure your Google Cardboard head straps are snug enough.

Conserve Battery

Playing VR games or viewing VR content can drain your phone’s battery, which means it’s important to save up some battery power.

The best idea is for you to turn off your phone when using VR headsets.

Make sure to download the VR videos before viewing them so they load faster when you’re offline.

Place Your Phone Correctly

Make sure that the phone is placed correctly in the Google Card­board viewer so that the magnet works properly. Place the phone so that its screen faces toward the left side of the cardboard viewer.

Use a Swivel Chair

You shouldn’t be using Google Cardboard when you’re in public places because you could get into trouble.

We’d recommend using a swivel seat if you’re at home, so you can move around easily while experiencing VR content on cardboard.

Compatible Devices

Compatible Devices

Unfortunately, not every smartphone is compatible with the Google Card­board app.

Only smartphones featuring a magnetic field detector (magnetometer) or compass sensors (used for navigation purposes) will be able to interact with the headset. If your phone doesn’t come with one, then you won’t be able to use the headset.


VR is still in its nascent stages but thanks to Google Cardboards, you can enjoy it easily without having to spend a lot of money.

There are lots of cardboard options to select from and even though there are fewer apps, they’re fun nevertheless. There are numerous apps, video clips, and exciting activities that certainly take you to a whole different world.

Don’t use Google Cardboard for too long because it might cause nausea.

So, have you already bought a Google Cardboard and if so, what was your experience like? We’d love to hear from you!


  • Victor Marquez

    Victor is the Editor in Chief at Techtyche. He tests the performance and quality of new VR boxes, headsets, pedals, etc. He got promoted to the Senior Game Tester position in 2021. His past experience makes him very qualified to review gadgets, speakers, VR, games, Xbox, laptops, and more. Feel free to check out his posts.

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