What you need to know
- The latest v50 Quest OS update adds more natural Direct Touch gestures for navigating menus with hand tracking.
- It also brings "in-game multitasking" to the Quest 2, something previously exclusive to the Quest Pro.
- You'll be able to open 2D apps like Instagram or the Oculus Browser without leaving your current Quest 2 game.
Matched against any other video game console, the Quest 2 may have received the most post-launch feature updates we've ever seen, with each new version tweaking the software in significant ways. With the v50 milestone, Meta added one of our most-requested features: the ability to open a 2D app in-headset without leaving whatever Quest 2 game you're currently playing.
In its announcement post on Tuesday, Meta explained how you could "check your Instagram feed" or "get a bit of work done" in the browser while you wait in a game lobby. The Quest 2's 2D app library is a bit limited compared to what we hoped when it first announced the feature, but you'll be able to access almost any site through the web browser.
2D multitasking is something you could do on the Quest Pro, but we weren't sure if the Quest 2 had enough memory to handle multitasking in this way. Thankfully, it does.
We'll have to test this feature to see its limits. Many Quest 2 owners have longed for the option to stream Spotify or YouTube playlists while playing VR games, but we're not certain if you can pin the browser in-game or if you have to close it when you're done using it. The latter seems more likely, but we'll see when the update rolls out.
In addition, the Quest 2 v50 update adds Direct Touch to the Experimental Settings. Up until now, you could use hand tracking in menus but had to make a pinch gesture to select things. It's not the most natural, but ensured you only selected something when you meant to — since hand tracking can be somewhat unreliable.
Now, Meta feels it has improved tracking enough to give users a more natural touchscreen-emulating UI where you'll tap to select objects, swipe through options, or type on a virtual keyboard if you enable Direct Touch. It looks much more like the Minority Report-esque experience we've wanted hand tracking to offer.
In addition, Meta has added more robust hand-based locomotion, letting you use simple pinching or pointing gestures to have your character move to a new location. You can test out the new tools in its App Lab hand-tracking demo, First Hands, and we hope the feature comes to other hand tracking-enabled games soon.
Lastly, specifically for Quest Pro Touch controller owners, Meta promises that the v50 update will reduce the time it takes for the self-tracking controllers to send their location to the headset — reducing the annoying delay that most Quest Pro or Quest 2 owners have experienced.
Get the best of VR with the Meta Quest 2, an all-in-one headset that works like a console and doesn't need a phone or PC to work. Strap it on and get playing today!
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Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.
For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.