The Oculus Quest (Meta Quest) headset packs a lot of virtual reality punch for a low price and small form-factor. Meta has made it easier to try free and beta games by launching the App Lab in 2021 but some games and experimental features are still unavailable. If you want to unlock the full potential of your Meta Quest headset you will want to try out a platform called SideQuest.
SideQuest is a free platform that allows you to load both free and paid games and apps to your Meta Quest from your computer or Android smartphone. Similar to jailbreaking an iPhone or rooting an Android device, SideQuest allows you to sideload many free games not available from the Meta Store including Android apps and emulators that allow you to play console games you own for free in virtual reality!
The steps below will guide you on how to set up SideQuest using your Windows, Mac, Linux, or Android device. iOS does not currently support SideQuest.
Step 1. Enable developer mode on your Oculus (Meta) Quest
To allow installing apps & games to your headset we need to enable developer mode on your Meta Quest device. To do this, you have to be a registered “developer” on the Oculus website.
Go to dashboard.oculus.com and create an ‘organization‘. You’ll first be asked to accept the developer agreement. You will then need to verify your account using either a credit card or a phone number. Most accounts will already be verified and you may be able to skip this part. If you do need to add a credit card it will not be charged.
Now that the Facebook account associated with your Oculus Quest is linked to a “developer organization” you will be able to enable developer mode on your Quest headset. To do this go ahead and reboot your Oculus Quest headset then restart the Oculus app on your smartphone.
Once you have done this open the Oculus app on your smartphone and navigate to the following setting page: Menu, Settings, Headset Settings. Once you are in headset settings you should see a toggle for Developer Mode. Toggle Developer Mode on.
Step 2. Install SideQuest client on your Windows, Mac or Linux computer
Once you have enabled developer mode on your Oculus Quest you will need to install the SideQuest Desktop client on your computer.
If you are using Windows you will also need to install the Oculus ADB Drivers for PC. To install the drivers extract the zip folder, right-click the android_winusb.inf file and click install.
Step 3. Connect USB-C cable and allow USB debugging
Now that you’ve enabled Developer Mode on your Meta Quest and installed SideQuest on your computer you’re ready to connect your Quest Headset to your computer and load games and apps from the SideQuest desktop client. Go ahead and connect a USB-C cable from your Quest headset into your computer. You should see a warning pop up like the one below in your headset display. Check “Always allow from this computer” and select OK. If you don’t see this message try using a cable other than the one that came with your Quest. (We also recommend disabling your unlock pattern if you have one.)
You are now ready to start using SideQuest on your Oculus Quest! You can think of SideQuest similar to iTunes and iPod. You use the desktop app to browse Quest Apps and load them with your headset plugged in by selecting “Install to Headset.” If you have any questions please leave a comment and we will do our best to help!