Want to know how to allow unknown sources on Oculus Quest 2? We have the answers.
The Oculus platform has a vast library of content and games. There are others from other sources that you won’t find in the Oculus app.
The only way to get them is to enable unknown sources.
To install apps from unknown or third-party sources on your Oculus Quest 2, enable the Unknown Sources option in its Settings. You’ll then need to sideload apps via developer mode or another app.
Let’s get to it!
How to Allow Unknown Sources on Oculus Quest 2 – Full Details
Now that you know you’re able to install apps that are not in the official store, this opens a whole new world of possibilities for your VR experience.
However, risks will be involved, so let’s get to the bottom of it all so you fully understand what you’re dealing with.
What Does “Unknown Sources” Mean
As we mentioned earlier, apps from unknown sources are not found on the Oculus Store or app.
These apps are also not verified by Oculus, which means they are not tested and checked if they’re safe to use by users.
These apps are generally divided into two categories:
- Unofficial apps – These are apps made for VR platforms other than Oculus, like SteamVR or Viveport, but are compatible. Examples include Half-Life: Alyx, Beat Saber mods, and Virtual Desktop.
- Custom apps – These are apps made by independent developers or hobbyists who want to create their own VR content. Most of these are not for commercial release, so they didn’t bother listing them on the Oculus Store.
Benefits and Risks of Allowing Unknown Sources
Before allowing unknown sources on your Oculus Quest 2, you must know several benefits and risks.
Here’s what you need to know:
- It gives you access to a wider array of VR content unavailable in the Oculus Store.
- Explore different genres, styles, and features that suit your preferences and interests.
- It allows you to experience the creativity of the VR community fully.
- Gives you more control over your experience by customizing settings and performance.
- Potentially expose you to security threats like malware, viruses, and phishing.
- Some apps cause compatibility problems with your VR headset and accessories.
- It affects the performance of your hardware as it can be poorly optimized or buggy.
Note: You must be aware of all these before attempting to install apps that are not trusted on your Meta Quest 2 hardware.
Enabling Developer Mode on the Oculus Quest 2
The first thing you need to allow unknown sources on Oculus Quest 2 no PC is to enable developer mode.
It’s a feature that allows you to access advanced settings and features on your VR headset.
To do this, follow these steps:
- Open the Oculus app on your phone.
- Select the Menu button.
- Go to the Devices section.
- Choose your Oculus Quest 2 headset.
- Scroll down and select Developer Mode.
- Toggle the switch On.
- Select Confirm.
Note: After enabling developer mode, you will be able to sideload apps onto your headset more easily and even gain access to the system files.
Using a Third-Party App Platform
Once developer mode is enabled, it will be easier to sideload an app you have the installation file for.
However, if you don’t have one, the best way to browse apps for your Quest 2 is via a third-party app platform.
Here are some of the most popular ones to use:
SideQuest is a free and open-source platform that offers a curated selection of VR games, apps, and mods for your Oculus Quest 2.
You can get it on your PC or smartphone to install unknown apps to your headset via a USB cable or wireless connection.
Here’s how to install SideQuest on your smartphone:
- Go to your device’s app store.
- Search for SideQuest.
- Find the SideQuest (BETA) app by SideQuest Ltd.
- Tap on it and select Install.
- Open the SideQuest app and create an account.
- Log in to the app and connect your Oculus Quest to your phone.
Tip: Once your headset is connected, you’ll be able to start sideloading apps and managing your files.
App Lab is a different platform type than SideQuest, as it’s an official one by Oculus.
It allows developers to distribute their VR content to users without going through the Oculus Store approval process.
Additionally, you’ll be able to install it directly on your VR headset so that you won’t need a PC or phone.
Here’s how you do it:
- Put on your Oculus Quest 2 headset.
- Open the Oculus Store app.
- Search for App Lab or browse the App Lab category.
Note: Even though apps here are not yet approved to be listed on the official marketplace, you’ll be able to access them here.
How to Install Unknown Apps on Oculus Quest 2
There are several ways to allow unknown sources on Oculus Quest 2 without a PC.
That being said, the APK method is off the table, as you’ll need to connect your headset to your computer or laptop.
However, all is not lost, as a couple more alternative methods will allow you to enjoy third-party apps on your Quest 2.
To sideload apps to your headset, follow these steps:
Using SideQuest on your smartphone:
- Enable WiFi on your Oculus Quest 2 headset.
- Open the SideQuest app on your phone.
- Enable Wireless Mode on SideQuest.
- Tap on Allow to confirm the connection request.
- Search for the third-party app you want to install on your headset.
- Tap the Install button.
- On your headset, go to Library, then Unknown Sources.
Using SideQuest to Install an APK File:
- Connect your Oculus Quest 2 to your phone via a USB cable.
- Open the SideQuest app on your phone.
- Tap on the Sideload tab.
- Select the + button.
- Choose the Sideload APK option.
- Choose the APK file of the app you want to install.
- Wait for the installation process to complete.
Note: You will need to download the APK file first and save it on your phone before you’ll be able to sideload it.
Take Necessary Precautions When Installing These Apps
Allowing apps from unknown sources on your Oculus Quest 2 gives you a lot of versatility when it comes to the types of VR content you want to consume.
Now, you won’t be limited by what the official app store has to offer.
However, since these apps aren’t tightly checked, there are some risks in downloading them to your system.
You must take some necessary precautions when installing, such as:
- Backup your data before installing an unknown app
- Check the source of the app and make sure it’s trustworthy
- Read reviews, ratings, and feedback from other users who have tried it before
- Scan the app for malware or viruses that may compromise your privacy
- After installing a trusted unknown app, update it regularly to get the latest patches
The primary risk of installing apps from unknown sources on your Oculus Quest 2 is security concerns.
Some apps contain malicious code or hidden functions that harm your device and compromise security.
Here are some of the things to look out for:
- These apps may contain malware that is designed to damage your device.
- Some apps can be disguised as phishing attempts to obtain your passwords.
- Third-party apps can spy on your online activities without your consent.
Note: You’re not going to have problems with a majority of the apps found on third-party platforms like SideQuest and App Lab, but always be vigilant when installing new ones.
Troubleshooting Issues When Installing from Unknown Sources
Since installing apps from unknown sources is usually at your own risk, Oculus does not support these, and you will have a hard time getting support.
There are instances when you will encounter issues you must fix quickly.
Here are some of them:
It means the app could not be installed on your headset for some reason.
It’s due to a corrupted file, an incompatible app, or even a lack of storage space.
To fix this, here are some solutions:
- Download the app or APK file again from the source or a mirror.
- Check the app compatibility and make sure it supports the Oculus Quest 2.
- Ensure your headset’s battery level is at around 50% when installing.
- Check the connection between your headset and phone and ensure it’s stable.
- Switch to a different link, like a USB cable or via WiFi.
- Clear enough storage space on your headset to accommodate the new app.
App Not Found
If you’re getting this issue, the app is not installed properly on your headset.
It could be due to a wrong installation location or a missing app.
To fix this, here are the solutions:
- Check the location by going to Settings, Library, and finding the app on the list.
- Check the app’s visibility by going to Settings, Library, and Hidden Apps.
- Reinstall the app by using SideQuest or a different platform.
You now know how to allow unknown sources on Oculus Quest 2 and enjoy more variety in your VR content.
You must enable developer mode and sideload the app through SideQuest or install it directly via an APK file.
To read more guides for your Oculus Quest 2, go to our blog!
Finn Wheatley holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from UCL, London. He helped small data science consultancy firms, helping large corporations to grow their data capabilities, deploy advanced machine learning-based analytics and troubleshoot tech-related issues.