In this guide, we show you how easy it is to sideload onto the Oculus Quest 2 or 1. We have pictures for every step of the way and our guide is updated for 2021. During the process, you’ll also learn how to use Sidequest VR and why it’s an amazing app for Oculus Quest users.
With SideQuest VR you can quickly load games, applications, and modifications onto the Oculus Quest 1 and 2. It also comes with an integrated app store to explore over 500 more titles for your Quest that aren’t found in the official store.
New to the article is instructions on how to use the brand new SideQuest Android mobile app to sideload onto the Oculus Quest without need a computer.
Related: After this article, check out our top VR games on SideQuest!
Let’s check it out!
What is Sideloading?
Sideloading is a method for installing apps onto a device not through its official means, such as the App Store. Sideloading is popular on Android-based devices such as the Oculus Quest and Go. When you enable sideloading, you can install apps and games not found in the official Oculus Store.
Traditionally, sideloading meant that you had to manually copy files into a folder onto a connected device and maybe perform some manual configuration work. Luckily, there are programs which simplify and automate a lot of this work so that you don’t have to.
The program of choice to sideload onto the Oculus Quest headset is SideQuest VR.
What Can You Sideload onto the Oculus Quest 2 and 1?
The Oculus Quest 2 and Quest 1 are based on the Android operating system. This means that you can install any Android APK onto the device. There are plenty of Android apps and games and streaming apps to try out.
There are also lots of third party VR games that don’t exist on the official Oculus store that you can sidequest too. Including multiplayer games, shooters, and some really sweet VR party games, and more.
Just follow our instructions below for installing a sideload program and setting up your Oculus headset to accept sideloaded apps.
Then you should be able to search for any APK and try it out on your Oculus Quest or Go.
What is SideQuest VR?
Like we just mentioned, SideQuest VR is a program that makes it really easy to sideload onto the Oculus Quest. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is also a new android mobile app which you can use instead of a computer. Once setup, it comes with some really nice features:
- SideQuest has a built-in store where you can quickly sideload a bunch of cool VR apps and demos made by developers.
- You can quickly view, alter, and delete all of the apps you currently have sideloaded.
- SideQuest has a bunch of smarts built in to it to make sure that you alter your headset safely.
You should use SideQuest with your VR headset to try out apps not found in the Oculus Store. Lots of these apps are free and showcase new VR development. Loading custom content and modifications on your headset is also popular with SideQuest. You can improve the quality of your VR experience!
Many of the games that started out on SideQuest have now moved on to be in the Oculus App Lab or the official store.
SideQuest is also a good community for the Oculus Quest. You can chat about your favorite games, ask questions to the developers, and more.
Check out our SideQuest vs App Lab vs Oculus Store comparison guide for more details on how these stores interact and work together.
How to Use Sidequest VR
Using Sidequest VR to sideload games or find new ones is easy. First, you setup your Oculus Quest headset for developer mode. Then, you install Sidequest onto your computer and plug your VR headset into it.
When you are done, you can browse SideQuest’s app store which has over 500 VR titles not found in the official Oculus store. Or, you can install APK files from your computer onto your headset as well.
Our instructions to sideload onto the Oculus Quest below include how to use Sidequest VR, so check that out!
Sidequest VS vs adbLink
The two most popular ways to sideload games onto the Oculus Quest are via Sidequest VR and adbLink. If you have the APK file, both applications do the trick just fine.
Sidequest VR comes with some nice features like we mentioned above. The built in app store and the ease of use are top notch.
AdbLink has a few nice features too:
- Install APKs to any Android based device (phones, tablets, TV boxes, etc)
- Does not discriminate on which APK you are installing (no Safelink)
Next, we’ll show you how to install SideQuest VR and get it setup. Our tutorial covers 3 parts:
- Putting your Oculus VR Headset into Developer Mode
- Installing the SideQuest VR app onto your computer
- Basics of using SideQuest VR to sideload onto the Oculus Quest 2, 1, or Go.
There’s a fair number of steps below but don’t worry! We’ve made things really easy to follow and you’ll be setup and ready to sideload onto the Oculus Quest in minutes.
Below the main tutorial guide on how to sideload onto the Oculus Quest, we have instructions for using the new SideQuest Android app without a computer.
How to Sideload Onto the Oculus Quest with SideQuest
After following these steps, you’ll be able to sideload onto the Oculus Quest new games, apps, and custom content. You’ll set your Oculus Quest 2 or 1 (or Go) up in developer mode, install and configure the SideQuest VR app, and connect your headset to SideQuest.
Total Time: 10 minutes
Visit the Oculus Dashboard Page
Click here to go to the Oculus Dashboard page where you have to register as a “developer” for free before we begin. If you aren’t logged in yet, you’ll see the error message “You must be logged in to view this page”. Click on the black Log In button.
Log In to Oculus Dashboard
Log in to your Oculus account (the same one that’s logged in to the Oculus app on your phone and your VR headset. If you need to create an account, you can do that here by selecting “create an Oculus account”.
Create an Organization
After you are logged in, you’ll see the home Oculus dashboard screen. Click on Create New Organization. Create a name (it can be anything) and then check the “I Understand” box and click on Submit. Lastly, agree to the terms of the agreement to finish.
Launch Oculus App
Next, launch the Oculus app on your phone that you have synced to your headset. Click on Settings in the bottom right hand corner.
Go Into More Settings
Select your headset, which will open a menu beneath it. Click on More Settings and then on Developer Mode.
Enable Developer Settings and Reboot
Make sure that Developer Mode is toggled ON. This will give you access to the “Unknown Sources” area of your headset, where sideloaded games will be installed.
Next, reboot your Oculus headset by holding down the power button on the side and selecting Restart. When your headset reboots, it will start in Developer mode (you can come back to this screen to verify).
Download and Install SideQuest VR
Visit the SideQuest Download page and download the install file for your operating system. When it’s done, double click on it and follow the prompts to install SideQuest on your computer the same as any other program.
Open up SideQuest on your computer and you’ll see the home screen.
Connect SideQuest to Oculus Quest 2, 1, or Go
Turn on your VR headset and connect the Quest to your computer via the USB-C charging cable. Put on your headset to see a message that says “Allow USB Debugging?” Select “Always allow from this computer” and then OK. The status in the top left of SideQuest should change to green and say “Connected”.
If you don’t see the above message when you put on your headset, you may have to temporarily disable the unlock pattern. This can be found in the Oculus app under Settings > Quest > More Settings > Unlock Pattern.
Sideload a Game from SideQuest to Oculus Quest
The easiest way to sideload a game onto the Oculus Quest is to find one you like on the home screen of the SideQuest app. Click on the game’s image to open up its specific page and then click on “Install Latest” to sideload the game onto your device.
Sideloading an External APK onto the Oculus Quest
To sideload an external APK onto your headset, click the Install APK icon on SideQuest’s top menu bar. It’s the folder with the down arrow, fifth icon from the left. Select the APK file from your computer and SideQuest will let you know if the install was successful or not.
And that’s how you sideload onto the Oculus Quest using SideQuest. You will find all of the games you sideloaded under the Unknown Sources apps area.
How to Sideload Using the SideQuest Android App
A new SideQuest Android app on the Google Play Store allows you sideload onto the Oculus Quest without using a computer at all.
If you have an Android phone and want to set things up, follow the instructions below.
- Follow the first 6 instructions above to put your headset into developer mode and restart (before downloading SideQuest).
- Download and install SideQuest from the Google Play Store.
- Unlock your phone and leave it open.
- Put on your Oculus Quest and make sure your Guardian is setup and active.
- Plug your Quest into your Phone using a USB cable.
- Your phone will prompt you if you want SideQuest to handle your Quest headset. Press Yes and make sure the option to always allow this action is checked too.
- Put on your Oculus Quest and click OK on the message request to allow USB debugging. Again, make sure that Always allow from this computer is also checked.
- A second prompt will come up in your Quest asking you if you want to allow your phone to access the Quest’s data. Click Yes.
- You can now use your phone to browse and sideload onto the Oculus Quest just like on your computer.
- If you’d like to enable Wireless mode on your phone, click the Wireless toolbar button on the top left and select Enable Wireless. You can now install games from your phone without a USB connection!
What is your preferred way to sideload?
Are you having trouble trying sideloading content onto the Oculus Quest 2 or 1? Comment below to get in touch with us and we will help you out!