Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon’s AWS platform. He’s written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times. Read more.
The Oculus Quest is a standalone VR headset that can render games and apps without a desktop PC. You normally install games and apps via the Oculus Store, but you can also sideload unofficial apps using a PC.
Where to Find Sideloadable Apps
Because you’ll need an APK file of the app itself to sideload it, you’ll need a place to get them. The best unofficial registry for sideloaded apps is SideQuest, an alternative store for Quest apps. While some of them are paid, most of the apps on SideQuest are entirely free.
Warning: As always when sideloading apps—or just downloading software from the web—you should ensure you only download apps from sources you trust.
Sidequest has a standalone desktop app that handles the actual sideloading process. You can send apps to SideQuest straight from the website, which will install them directly onto your Oculus Quest, provided it’s plugged into your PC.
In addition to sideloading, SideQuest has tools for sending ADB commands, browsing the device files, and changing device settings. You also aren’t limited to apps from SideQuest—you can sideload anything you have an APK for.
Sideloading An App
First, you’ll need to turn on developer mode to allow sideloading. There’s no toggle for this from within the headset, only from the Oculus app for iPhone, iPad or Android. Select “Settings” from the app, click on your headset (you may have to turn it on), and select “More Settings.”
Select “Developer Mode.”
Then toggle the switch on.
Oculus recently began requiring people to sign up for their developer program to turn on developer mode. This is entirely free, but you’ll be redirected to their website where you’ll be asked to sign in and create a new “Organization.” You can simply enter your name and come back to the settings.
You may have to flip the switch again once you create your organization. Once it’s actually turned on, you’ll need to restart your headset to apply the changes. Once it loads back up, you’ll be asked to allow USB debugging, which will allow sideloading. Check “Always Allow.”
Next, download the SideQuest app and install it on your PC. Once you load it, you should see the headset connected in the top corner. If it’s not connected, you might have to install the Oculus App for the Quest to install the proper drivers for the headset.
Once connected, you can sideload apps by installing them from the app itself, installing from the website (which will open SideQuest), or by manually installing the APK from the controls in the top right.
If you want to uninstall apps, you can do that from SideQuest as well. Click the “Apps” menu under the controls, and select “Uninstall App” from the settings for the app.
Where to Find Sideloaded Apps
You won’t find sideloaded apps on the Oculus Quests’s Home screen, unfortunately. Facebook really wants you spending money in the official Oculus store, so your Quest tucks sideloaded apps into an “Unknown Sources” category in the Library menu.
This list is still easily accessible, but you won’t be able to pin them to favorites or even view the thumbnails.
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Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon’s AWS platform. He’s written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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Sideloading is one of the real joys of an Oculus Quest 2 headset. It’s one thing to buy games directly through the Oculus Store (for premium prices) and another to explore a world of mostly free games. We’ve already written our list of the best games you can find on the alternative Oculus app store SideQuest, but here we show you how to sideload SideQuest games on your Oculus headset.
What Is Sideloading?
Sideloading is the process of transferring files between two devices (as opposed to downloading and uploading). What makes it different from regular file transfers, particularly in the case of Android devices, is that it lets you install apps and games from outside of the Play Store, Oculus Store, or whatever first-party source a given device uses.
Oculus and Google want you to get things from their stores on their devices, of course, but you’re not legally obliged to, and sideloading helps you work around the basic-level restrictions these companies put in place to keep you on their stores and keep you filling their pockets.
Sideloading is a great way to explore apps and games that you may not find on the default stores that devices foist on you.
How to Install SideQuest
The first step to sideload games onto your Quest 2 is to set up Developer Options on your headset. You’ll need to register on the Oculus site as a developer first, ideally with the Facebook account that’s linked to your Oculus account.
Once you’ve done that, switch on your headset. Then on the Oculus app on your phone, tap Devices, select your device (which should say “Connected” if it’s turned on), then tap “Developer Mode” and switch it on. Reboot your headset.
To check whether Developer Mode is enabled, go to Settings on your headset, and you should see a new “Developer” option available. Congratulations, you’re now posing as a developer!
Next, you’ll need to allow content from unknown sources on your headset. Open the Oculus app on your PC, then go to “Settings -> General” and turn on the “Unknown Sources” slider.
Next, download and install SideQuest on your PC. There is also a nifty SideQuest app that lets you sideload by using your Android device, though it’s still in beta, and you may need to enable wireless ADB on your headset to sideload apps.
How to Sideload SideQuest Games
Plug your headset into your PC (ideally via the same cable you use to charge it: a USB data cable that can be used for sideloading), then run SideQuest.
All going well, a green circle should appear in the top-left corner of SideQuest, which means that your headset is connected to SideQuest and ready for sideloading. If it’s orange, you may need to put on your headset and grant the relevant permissions required for SideQuest.
Once you get that green circle and your headset is linked with SideQuest, you can start sideloading! Simply search for the app or game you want in SideQuest, then click the Download button (which downloads the game from the Internet, then sideloads it straight to your headset).
To see the download status of the games you select, click the icon shown below.
Now that you have sideloaded SideQuest games to your Oculus headset, enjoy the gameplay. If you’re looking to do some gaming on your other devices, see our list of great Chromebook games and our guide on how to play PS3 games on your PC using RPCS3.
Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.
Things You Need to Install .apk Files to Your Oculus Quest
- Facebook account
- USB cable
- Mac or Pc with USB 3.0 port or higher
- .apk file of your Oculus Quest app
Step 1: Enable Developer Mode for Oculus Quest
- Open the Oculus Mobile app on your Phone
- Go to settings
- Select your Oculus Quest (make sure your Quest is powered on)
- Select More Settings
- Select Developer Mode and enable it
Step 2: Install VRsideloader for Windows or Mac
the Headjack VRsideloader for Mac or PC
- Install on your computer and Open
- Wait for the Android Platform tools to finish installing
Step 3: Install the APK file on your Oculus Quest
- Connect your Oculus Quest to your computer with an USB cable
- Put on your Oculus Quest and allow Access Permissions
- Obtain an .apk file for install on your Oculus Quest
- Drag & drop the .apk file onto the VRsideloader and wait for the installation to finish
Step 4: Start the Installed App on Your VR device
- Put on your Oculus Quest
- Tab the Apps Button or Libary button (older software versions) in the Main Menu
- Tab Unknown Sources
- Start the app you just installed
How to Uninstall a Sideloaded App From Your Oculus Quest
- Open the VRsideloader on your PC or Mac
- Connect your Oculus Quest to your computer with a USB cable
- Click the “uninstall” button
- From the app list click the .apk file you want to uninstall
How To Sideload an App to the Oculus Quest with Command Line and ADB
It is also possible to use command line to install an app on your Oculus Quest. our VRsideloader tool is essentially a UI over command line and ADB so you don’t have ton use command line any more. If you prefer to use command line please check out the following guide for a more comprehensive explanation on how to use ADB and command line to install apps on Android Devices.
Third-party platforms like Sidequest opens up a whole new world of VR goodness.
This latest generation of VR headsets is all about bringing virtual reality to the masses.
The Oculus Quest 2, for example, strips everything down to a headset and two wireless controllers, and it’s great. The only downside? Facebook’s VR app store.
Fortunately there’s a growing ecosystem of third-party apps and games that you can sideload.
What are people sideloading? Games like Hand Physics Lab, where you just play with stuff with with uncannily-accurate hand physics, or Virtual Desktop, which lets you do computer stuff in 3D space.
There’s more than one way you can sideload content onto your Quest, but by far the easiest method is using an application called Sidequest, which is both a platform for third-party apps and games as well as the actual software used to transfer said content to your headset.
Sidequest is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux and can be downloaded here. Sorry Chromebook users.
Windows users will need to download the requisite drivers by going to this page (the Oculus Go and Quest drivers are interchangeable) and installing the corresponding *.inf file.
To actually use Sidequest, though, you’ll need to enable Developer Mode. Here’s how:
– Visit the developer dashboard, create an organization, and accept the developer agreement.
– Make sure you’re signed into the Oculus account you typically use to play games and launch apps so that your developer account is merged with your regular account.
Next, activate Developer Mode on your headset using the Oculus app on your phone.
While the headset is turned on, go to the “settings” tab in the app and tap on your device to make sure it’s connected. Once connected, tap the arrow to the right of the device to reveal a drop down menu.
From there, tap “More Settings” and then tap “Developer Mode” to activate. After you’ve activated Developer Mode, you should reboot your headset by holding the power button. Once rebooted, you should be ready to go.
Here’s what each menu looks like in the process.
Next you’ll need to connect your Quest to your computer to transfer games and apps.
To do this, simply turn on your headset and insert a compatible USB cord (you can use the charger that comes with the headset) into the Quest and then connect the USB end into your computer.
Once plugged in, you’ll need to enable USB debugging by opening up Sidequest on your computer, putting on your headset and enabling guardian. Once your headset is on, you should select, “Allow USB debugging” with your controller and check the “Always allow on this computer” box to avoid having to do this every time you plug your headset in.
One of the questions we receive most often through our form or social channels is how to install on Oculus Quest or Oculus Go all those apps that are not available on the official store.
This aspect is very important for developers and 3D artists that do not want to make their Virtual Reality App created for Oculus Quest available to everyone but just some selected users, as well for consumer users that want to try something not available on the official store.
Since many procedures found online are generally complex to follow and tend to discourage users, we will see below one of the easiest methods to do all this!
As hardware, you will need a MAC or a Windows PC with a USB-C port – because currently is not possible to install custom app directly on the headset – and of course your Oculus Quest or Oculus Go.
Step 1: Enable Developer Mode
- Turn on your VR device
- Open the Oculus app on your phone
- Click on “Settings”
- Click your paired Oculus Quest or Oculus GO headset at the top
- Click More Settings > Developer Mode and then toggle Developer Mode ON
Developer Mode ON
Step 2: Download free sideloading tool on your PC/MAC
DOWNLOAD FOR WINDOWS
DOWNLOAD FOR MAC
Step 3: Launch VRsideloader and install the app
- Double click on VRsideloader.exe
- Once you made it, VRsideloader will install automatically the Android Platform that is necessary to runs sideload App on your VR device
- Connect your device to your PC by the usb-C cable and enable the developer mode from your Quest if required
- Drag and drop your .apk file inside the VRsideloader window
You have finished the installation!
Step 4: How to launch your unknown App
- Put on your Oculus Quest or Oculus Go
- Click on the library icon
- Select unknown sources
- Click on your app
Do you want to try by yourself a custom Oculus Quest app to test all this process and see the potential of photorealism on a Virtual Reality mobile hardware? Go to our download page and search the Oculus Quest app!
Now let’s see how to uninstall your app you have already sideloaded/installed!
The oculus quest has some great games and apps, but you can open up a new world of possibilities by sideloading. here's how to sideload apps onto your oculus quest. save big get 3 months free!. Step 3: install the apk file on your oculus quest. connect your oculus quest to your computer with an usb cable. put on your oculus quest and allow access permissions. obtain an .apk file for install on your oculus quest. drag & drop the .apk file onto the vrsideloader and wait for the installation to finish. Here's our guide to sideloading on the oculus quest and quest 2 using sidequest. here’s a list of some of the best content available to sideload onto the oculus quest. app lab vs sidequest. In this guide i show you a simple method to sideload applications and games onto your oculus quest or oculus quest 2 using sidequest. sidequest is completely. Oculus quest 2 how to sideload using sidequest. how to sideload games using sidequest oculus quest 1 2. the term sideloading refers to installing an app or a program on the oculus quest 2 in a way that doesn’t use the official store for that device. so instead of installing an app using the oculus store, either on the device or from your phone, you’re using the sidequest to bypass the.
Oculus Quest How To Sideload Using Sidequest 2 New
Tutorial for sideloading content onto your oculus quest 2 with sidequest to get other vr games and apps on your headset.for this you will need a usb c cable,. The term sideloading refers to installing an app or a program on the oculus quest 2 in a way that doesn’t use the official store for that device. so instead of installing an app using the oculus store, either on the device or from your phone, you’re using the sidequest to bypass the official store and gain access to a ton of new games. Sideloading an app. first, you’ll need to turn on developer mode to allow sideloading. there’s no toggle for this from within the headset, only from the oculus app for iphone, ipad or android. select “settings” from the app, click on your headset (you may have to turn it on), and select “more settings.”. select “developer mode.”.
How To Sideload Games Using Sidequest Oculus Quest 1 2
How To Sideload Games On Oculus Quest 2 Uptimevr
Oculus Quest 2 For Business What You Should Know
How To Sideload Games On Oculus Quest 2
in this guide i show you a simple method to sideload applications and games onto your oculus quest or oculus quest 2 using sidequest. sidequest is
Okay so facebook hasn’t added your sidequest games on App Lab that you really want to play. And you can’t sideload them because you don’t have a PC.
Today I’m giving you another Gem as we are going to sideload games directly from your quest without needing a PC or even App Lab.
Okay so to start, I want to talk about the iPhone users, the method I’m about to show you will install games directly on the Quest so it won’t matter what phone you have. However, there is one small step that you need to do before you can do that and unfortunately you will need to use either an android phone or a computer. But you will only need it once and then never again. So if you can borrow a phone for a few minutes then great you do it, otherwise I’m sorry.
Alright now let’s go through how to actually do it.
Step one go on the playstore and download and install an app called Cx File Explorer. It’s free and doesn’t have ads which is why i chose this one, but others work as well.
Step 2 download an app called APK extractor which will simply allow you to extract the apk as the name suggests.
Step 3 open APK extractor and extract the apk from Cx File Explorer. Make sure you remember where it’s getting extracted to.
Step 4 Download and install the bugjager app if you haven’t already got that, as I have used this app in a lot of my tutorials. Also please note that you need to have developer mode activated I have linked a video below that might help you through the process.
Okay now connect your phone to your Oculus Quest using a cable. I have linked an all in one adapter in the description if you don’t have a phone with a USBC port, as you can use the charging cable that came with the headset for this.
Once you have connected the phone to the quest, make sure you press allow in the headset (if nothing pops up restart both your phone and headset, then try again. Another pop up may appear asking to allow debugging if you haven’t accepted that previously.
Next make sure you’re on the packages tab in the bugjager app, a lot of people are on the wrong tab and then blame me that it doesn’t work.
Then press the plus icon at the top and press okay to install apk. Find the apk that you extracted for Cx File Explorer and install it on your Quest. When it’s done installing that’s it, you won’t need your phone again.
You can disconnect the cable.
Now we need to go into our Quest headset. Go into browser and there are other ways to do this, but we will go to sidequest.com find a game that you want, and we basically need to find the apk file to download. Now in this example I’m going to use AimXR as it’s right in front of me and looks interesting.
Now when I go into the listing, if it says install to headset, we can’t use that without sidequest it self however, that’s not going to stop the WaqMan army! So scroll down and see if you can find a link to down the game, if it’s on itch.io then that makes things a lot easier.
So click on the link, then click on download now, then an option will come up asking to donate, if you can it helps the developers, but if you have no money click on no thanks just take me to the downloads. Then just click download.
Once the download is complete.
Go into applications, unknown sources, and click on Cx File Explorer. The go into downloads and click on the game you just downloaded and press install. Once it has installed, you can either just press open there, or you can go back into unknown sources and your game will be there.
And that’s it. For any new games you just need to find it using the browser tab download and then install it using the Cx Explorer app, it’s now so much easier!
Get Developer Mode On Your Quest: https://youtu.be/9EZmbIsLKXE
Well thanks for reading have a great day stay safe and see you next time.
There’s are plenty of great apps on the Oculus Store for Quest, but did you know you can download games, experiences, and useful tools from an entirely different library? With SideQuest, you can expand your horizons with unofficial mods, tools, and indie gems of all sorts, both paid and free. Find out how (and why) with this handy dandy guide.
SideQuest has an awesome library of content, including cool multiplayer games, mods for games you already own on Quest such as Beat Saber, and tools that can let you do things Oculus could never dream of allowing you to do.
That’s what ‘sideloading’ is for: letting you install any app you want and mod it without oversight. That level of functional exclusivity has changed somewhat with the entrance of Oculus App Lab, although SideQuest is still the fastest way of getting new apps. We’ve heard reports of developers waiting up to six weeks to get their apps approved for App Lab.
- Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2
- A computer or modern Android device – Computers include: Windows 8 or above PC, Linux PCs, macOS
- USB Type-C cable to transfer apps from computer /Android device to Quest
- A few minutes to jump through some hoops
1: Install SideQuest on Your Computer or Android Device
Computer: You’ll find all of the latest builds on SideQuest’s website, including those for Windows 8 and up PCs, Linux, and macOS. Once installed, you can technically launch it and peruse all of the apps, although you’ll need to do a few minor chores first before SideQuest will properly recognize your headset, so don’t plug it in just yet.
Android: Download the SideQuest Android app on Google Play Store. Don’t plug in your cable just yet.
2: Put on Your Dev Hat
Get under the hood of Quest as a developer. You only need to jump through a single hoop here to get you officially recognized as such.
Just head over to the Oculus Developer Organization dashboard, login to your Oculus account, and create what Oculus considers an “organization.” Toss a random name in there (if you truly aren’t a developer) and agree to the terms of service.
Image captured by Road to VR
Computer: If you’re a Windows user, you’ll also need some extra driver software before going any further. Both mac and Linux users can skip to step three. If you’re a Windows user, download these Oculus Go drivers, which also work for Quest. Simply extract the zip folder by right clicking the android_winusb.inf file and clicking ‘Install’.
3: Enable Developer Mode and Reboot
As a Quest user, you should already have the Oculus app installed on your mobile device. Open the Oculus app on you phone, go to the ‘Settings’ tab on the bottom right hand side, tap to expand the options under your Quest and select ‘More Settings’.
Among the various toggles you’ll find ‘Developer Mode’, which you simply have to toggle on. Reboot your Quest now.
4: Connect Quest to Your Device via USB & Allow USB Debugging
You’re at the home stretch! Plug your freshly rebooted Quest into your computer/Android device using a USB Type-C cable.
Android: This can be tricky for users on older Android devices since micro USB to USB Type-C is fairly rare. We’d suggest using a modern Android device fitted with a Type-C port.
Now physically put on your headset, and you should see a window (in VR) that says ‘Allow USB debugging?’ at which point you simply click the check box ‘Always allow from this computer’.
The team behind SideQuest points out that it’s important to Disable Unlock Pattern too. You can do this by going back to the Oculus mobile app and going through Settings > Quest > More Settings > Unlock Pattern. It’s right near the Developer Mode option you toggled before.
5: Sideload Everything
And there you have it! Now you can open the SideQuest app and browse a whole new universe of VR games, prototypes, demos, tools and more. Keep your Quest connected (shown as a green dot in upper left corner of the app), and you’ll be able to install and uninstall sideloaded apps to your heart’s content. This goes for both computer and Android devices.
Image captured by Road to VR
Although, there’s one more trick for Android users. You can also wirelessly sideload apps via Wi-Fi.
To do that, you need to be already set up for transfer via cable connection. Go into the SideQuest app and pop in your local IP address. You can reveal your local IP address by clicking the Wi-Fi icon whilst in Quest’s home environment, selecting the network you’re currently connected to, and scrolling all the way down to reveal the string of numbers. These oftentimes beginning with ‘192’. Now you can sideload apps wirelessly from your phone to your Quest!
Update (April 29th, 2021): Updated to include new Android method for installing SideQuest and transferring games.
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The Oculus Go is an affordable, standalone VR headset, and we are very impressed with it! The Go is able to run Gear VR apps, but the Oculus Documentation is not very clear on how to install apps to the Oculus Go for development purposes. This article explains how to sideload APKs to your Oculus Go, with and without the Oculus Store. The same steps apply to Oculus Quest.
If you want to skip all these manual steps, you will also find a FREE sideloading tool at the bottom of the article.
Make sure you have paired your Oculus Go to your phone using the Oculus Go app, then follow one of the three methods below:
Sideload APK to Oculus Go using ADB
First, you have to turn Developer Mode on for your Go.
- Open the Oculus Go app on your phone
- Click your paired Oculus Go headset at the top
- Click More Settings > Developer Mode and then toggle Developer Mode ON
Next, install Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to allow you to run an APK install command.
- Download and install Android Platform Tools
- Download ADB drivers from Oculus website
- Unzip the downloaded file
- Right-click on the .inf file and select Install
- Go to Start Menu, search for CMD, right-click and open as Administrator
- Type the following to test if installation was successful
- TIP: if you get a message along the lines of “adb is not a recognized command”, then cd to the installation folder of ADB (C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\Android\sdk\platform-tools), after which you can use adb.exe instead of adb in your commands
- Open Terminal (click the search icon in the top-right corner of your Mac, type “terminal”, and press ENTER)
- Install Homebrew by typing the following command into the Terminal window, press ENTER to execute the command:
- Install Android Platform Tools, which contains ADB, using Homebrew * by typing the following command in your Terminal:
- Test if installation succeeded by typing the following in your Terminal:
* Alternatively you could also install Android Platform Tools from the Android website, but then you might have to use the full path to the adb executable in the command line instead
After you successfully installed ADB, you are now ready to install your APKs.
- Connect your Oculus Go to your computer using a USB cable
- Check if ADB recognizes the device
- If you don’t see any devices listed in the output, turn off your Go, disconnect the USB, power your Go back on, reconnect the USB and then run the command again
- If see a device ID show up in the output with “unauthorized” behind it, put your Oculus Go on and give permission
- If you see a device ID show up with “device” behind it, you are good to go and ready for the next step
Congrats, you just installed your APK on your Oculus Go!
To run your app…
- …put on your Oculus Go
- Click on Library in the bottom menu bar and navigate to Unknown Sources (this menu item appears after you enable developer mode in the Oculus Go phone app)
- In case Unknown Sources is not visible for you, click the gear settings icon in the bottom right of the screen and change View to Developer Mode
C’est tout! The best part of it is that you can run Gear VR apps, without the need for those pesky Oculus Signature files.
This process seems cumbersome, and it kinda is, but once you have everything setup, all you really need to do is run adb install (or adb install -r if you are updating an existing app) and you’re done.
TIP: to uninstall an app, use adb uninstall *package name*. For example, adb uninstall com.headjack.myapp (this package name is shown behind the app name in the list of Unknown Sources in your Library).
Sideload to Go using Oculus Release Channels
While we prefer the hacky, fast way mentioned above, Oculus recommend using their Release Channels instead to load apps onto the Go, which allows you and others you invite to access your app through the Oculus store (without going through the entire submission process). The biggest benefit of this approach: no command line is needed!
This process is similar to submitting an app to the Oculus store, except we won’t be publishing it for everyone to see. It will be private to you and the people you invite. Here are the steps to follow:
- Build an Oculus Go Store app
- To make a store-ready app, create a Keystore file
- Retrieve Oculus App ID by going to https://dashboard.oculus.com > Manage > *organization* > *app* > Getting Started API
- Create an Organization if you don’t have one yet
- Click Create NewApp if you don’t have one yet
Click on the three dots at the right side of the Beta channel, then click Manage Users
Free sideloading tool
Many people tell us they experience problems with the above two methods of sideloading an app to Oculus Go / Quest, which makes sense, because both methods are quite inconvenient. That’s why we developed a helpful tool to make the sideloading process a breeze.
On initial startup, it will automatically install all the required software, and after that you’ll be able to install an APK with a simple drag & drop! You can also uninstall apps with a single click.
If this sounds good to you, leave your email address and we will send you a download link straight away: