Oculus Quest update brings a much-needed UI update, multitasking features

Oculus Quest March 2020 Update
Oculus Quest March 2020 Update (Image credit: Facebook)

What you need to know

  • The home screen has been redesigned to help users more quickly adjust common settings and jump into their favorite games and apps.
  • The home button menu is no longer a clunky, slow experience.
  • The Oculus Browser debuts a new system-wide multitasking interface for utilizing up to 3 apps at once.

While the Oculus Quest is one of the best things to ever happen to the VR industry, like any product, it isn't perfect. One of the most common complaints from Oculus Quest users revolved around the user interface; it was slow, clunky, and finding the setting you want wasn't always the easiest thing in the world. That's all changing with the March 2020 update, which features a radically redesigned universal menu, new overlays for immersive windows, and even multi-window support that's much more akin to what you'll find on the desktop Oculus software.

The Oculus team's goal with this update was to facilitate multitasking between apps like web browsers and chat experiences. The Oculus Browser will be the first app to receive this multi-window functionality, with the ability to have up to three windows open at a time. The Oculus Browser was the first app to receive the hand-tracking update just last month when the feature officially launched. The idea here is that users can easily check how-to videos, chat with friends, and keep up to date with events online without having to take the Quest off their heads.

Pressing the home button on the Oculus Quest while in a game or app used to be a very jarring and annoying experience, especially if you needed to adjust any system settings or make other changes. Oculus' new immersive overlay UI turns this into a far more pleasant experience, much in the same way the Oculus Rift UI works. This new overlay includes quick shortcuts for sharing your experience, live streaming, casting, and via the friends menu.

Lastly is the redesigned universal menu, which is designed now to be more like a personal dashboard instead of a boring old system menu. Oculus has redesigned this to more seamlessly integrate with immersive apps and environments, provide quick controls for the Quest itself, and more easily connect with friends while in VR. Quick settings like brightness and volume are within a single click, and commonly used apps and games are put front and center with an automatically-updated, personalized list. It's a big step in the right direction for many Quest users, and one step closer to Facebook's goal of making VR "the next computing platform".

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Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu