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How to sideload VR apps and games onto your Oculus Quest

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.

Hand Physics Lab

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.

So, how exactly do you expand your VR horizons?

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.

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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.

Congratulations! You downloaded Sidequest!

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Developer mode

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.

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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.

You’re almost there!

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Connect your Quest

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.

It’s time

With everything set up, just open up Sidequest on your computer and browse for any games and apps you might be interested in either by category or by name.

Once you find something you fancy, click on the selection and then choose install to “headset” at the top right. From there, the app/game should begin to install on your headset. You can check on the progress in the Sidequest app by selecting the “tasks” button at the top right.

If everything goes according to plan, you should be able to begin sideloading as many games as your headset can handle, though it’s worth noting here that you should exercise at least some caution seeing as how the games and apps on Sidequest may not have endured the same vetting process as those that appear on the official Oculus store.

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With that disclaimer out of the way, we wish you happy Sidequesting.

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