Oculus Quest 2 Link CableSource: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

The Oculus Quest family has a fantastic library of apps and games available, but you can open up new possibilities by sideloading. Both the Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 are Android devices at their core, so you can put APK files onto it just like an Android phone. This means you can install anything from the Android version of Netflix to cough other video streaming apps cough thanks to SideQuest, which is designed to streamline sideloading.

How to unlock developer mode

For this guide, you'll need a PC in order to get things set up properly. That begins with downloading SideQuest to get started. SideQuest is a free utility that makes connecting the Oculus Quest or Quest 2 to a PC an easier process. It also unlocks a world of indie games that you can't get on the official Oculus Store.

The first thing that you need to do with your Oculus Quest or Quest 2 to sideload apps is to enable developer mode. This is done through the Oculus app on your phone.

  1. Open the Oculus app.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select your Oculus Quest headset.

    Oculus Quest developer mode settingsSource: Android Central

  4. Tap the arrow to the right of your device name to drop down more options if they don't show up immediately after selecting your device.
  5. Select more settings.
  6. Select developer mode.
  7. Toggle the developer mode setting to on.

    Oculus Quest developer mode settingsSource: Android Central

  8. This opens a website (unless you've unlocked developer options on an Oculus device before).
  9. Scroll down and select the link below create an organization.
  10. Log in to your Oculus account
  11. Enter the name of your "organization" (this can be anything).
  12. Select submit
  13. Agree to the terms of the agreement.
  14. Open the Oculus app again.
  15. Select Settings.
  16. Select your Oculus Quest headset.

    Quest Developer ModeSource: Android Central

  17. Tap the arrow to the right of your device name to drop down more options if they do not show up immediately after selecting your device.
  18. Select more settings.
  19. Select developer mode.
  20. Toggle the developer mode setting to on if it isn't already switched on.

How to set up SideQuest on your PC

Next, you'll need to get SideQuest ready on your PC. You'll have to download SideQuest from GitHub and install it. It's an executable file, so if you've used those before, it should work like any other. You can download it on Windows, Mac, and Linux, but here's a step-by-step breakdown of the process on Windows.

  1. Go to SideQuestVR.com.
  2. Click on the GET SIDEQUEST button at the top of the page.
  3. Select the version for your computer's operating system, either Windows, Mac, or Linux.
  4. Open the downloaded installer file.
  5. Accept any security dialogs that appear and run through the installation process.

    Sidequest Windows InstallerSource: Android Central

  6. Once the installer has completed, launch SideQuest from your Start Menu, applications menu, or quick launch bar.

    Sidequest Windows Star MenuSource: Android Central

How to connect your Oculus Quest and SideQuest

To set up SideQuest and to install any applications, you'll need to connect your Oculus Quest and your PC.

  1. Connect your Oculus Quest or Quest 2 to your PC using a USB cable.
  2. SideQuest should recognize the headset and show a green circle with the name of your headset on the top bar.

    Sidequest ConnectedSource: Android Central

  3. Put on your headset, and select Allow USB debugging.
  4. Make sure to check Always allow from this computer.

How to install apps through SideQuest

Now that the setup is out of the way, you can sideload apps. If you've done everything correctly, you won't have to repeat any of the steps above.

SideQuest has a great library of apps and games available directly from the SideQuest app on your computer. To install any of those, follow these steps.

Installing apps already on SideQuest

  1. Browse or search for an app inside of SideQuest using the search bar located at the top of every page.
  2. Click the Install to headset button at the top of the store listing.

    Alvr SidequestSource: Android Central

  3. A progress notification will be displayed on the bottom of the SideQuest window.
  4. To check the status, select the tasks button at the top of SideQuest. It looks like a checkmark.

    Virtual Desktop SidequestSource: Android Central

That's it! You can also uninstall an app using the same process, but select uninstall instead of install.

Installing APKs from elsewhere

You can also install APKs that you download from anywhere else.

  1. Click the Install APK file from folder on computer button at the top of SideQuest.

    Sidequest Install ApkSource: Android Central

  2. Select your APK of choice from the pop-up dialog box and click open

How to launch sideloaded games

Now that you have your games or apps installed, you need to launch them.

  1. From the Oculus home screen within the headset, select Library on the bottom bar. If you don't see the bottom bar, press the Home button on your right controller.
  2. Select Unknown Sources from the right-most drop-down menu.
  3. Select the game or app you'd like to use.

    Alvr Quest LaunchSource: Android Central

That's it! SideQuest makes it simple to sideload apps and games and is an excellent resource for the Oculus Quest.

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