Sideloading is one of the real joys of an Oculus Quest 2 headset. It’s one thing to buy games directly through the Oculus Store (for premium prices) and another to explore a world of mostly free games. We’ve already written our list of the best games you can find on the alternative Oculus app store SideQuest, but here we show you how to sideload SideQuest games on your Oculus headset.
What Is Sideloading?
Sideloading is the process of transferring files between two devices (as opposed to downloading and uploading). What makes it different from regular file transfers, particularly in the case of Android devices, is that it lets you install apps and games from outside of the Play Store, Oculus Store, or whatever first-party source a given device uses.
Oculus and Google want you to get things from their stores on their devices, of course, but you’re not legally obliged to, and sideloading helps you work around the basic-level restrictions these companies put in place to keep you on their stores and keep you filling their pockets.
Sideloading is a great way to explore apps and games that you may not find on the default stores that devices foist on you.
How to Install SideQuest
The first step to sideload games onto your Quest 2 is to set up Developer Options on your headset. You’ll need to register on the Oculus site as a developer first, ideally with the Facebook account that’s linked to your Oculus account.
Once you’ve done that, switch on your headset. Then on the Oculus app on your phone, tap Devices, select your device (which should say “Connected” if it’s turned on), then tap “Developer Mode” and switch it on. Reboot your headset.
To check whether Developer Mode is enabled, go to Settings on your headset, and you should see a new “Developer” option available. Congratulations, you’re now posing as a developer!
Next, you’ll need to allow content from unknown sources on your headset. Open the Oculus app on your PC, then go to “Settings -> General” and turn on the “Unknown Sources” slider.
Next, download and install SideQuest on your PC. There is also a nifty SideQuest app that lets you sideload by using your Android device, though it’s still in beta, and you may need to enable wireless ADB on your headset to sideload apps.
How to Sideload SideQuest Games
Plug your headset into your PC (ideally via the same cable you use to charge it: a USB data cable that can be used for sideloading), then run SideQuest.
All going well, a green circle should appear in the top-left corner of SideQuest, which means that your headset is connected to SideQuest and ready for sideloading. If it’s orange, you may need to put on your headset and grant the relevant permissions required for SideQuest.
Once you get that green circle and your headset is linked with SideQuest, you can start sideloading! Simply search for the app or game you want in SideQuest, then click the Download button (which downloads the game from the Internet, then sideloads it straight to your headset).
To see the download status of the games you select, click the icon shown below.
Now that you have sideloaded SideQuest games to your Oculus headset, enjoy the gameplay. If you’re looking to do some gaming on your other devices, see our list of great Chromebook games and our guide on how to play PS3 games on your PC using RPCS3.