[Updated for Quest 2 and working v277 to v28 link]
If you are an Oculus Quest / Quest 2 owner who gets FOMO (fear of missing out) when the next update rolls around and you have to sit and wait for it to appear on your Quest, some days later, then this guide is for you.
Most new updates carry with them some exciting features and v28 is no different. In this update, we have Oculus’ answer to Virtual Desktop – Oculus Air Link – a way to play PCVR content wirelessly without plugging in an Oculus Link cable.
There is also 120 Hz support in this update, which offers developers the ability to unlock support for baby smooth 120 Hz mode in their apps. The Oculus Home environment will stay at 90 Hz, likely to maintain battery life. Certain games will likely struggle to release at 120 Hz, but when those that do are release, expect some smooth frame rates that will enhance the game as much as it did when we went from 72 to 90 Hz.
You can also import your desktop surface into your Oculus Home environment as well as your physical keyboard in update v28. Light theme and improved hand tracking round up the new features that come in this new update. So in short this is their biggest update yet, which I am sure you are gagging to install on to your Quest headset!
If only there was a way to force the update? Previously, there wasn’t a 100% workaround to force the update on your Quest, with rollouts of the update becoming region-specific, there was no certainty when you Quest will update to the latest firmware. Until now.
Across many updates on the Quest, various people have been able to intercept the latest update .zip file’s location, we are able to grab the update file. Using ADB tools you can then sideload the update file onto your Quest manually and get the update right onto your Quest without all the days of waiting!
Going forward, this method will work with future updates, just as long as someone grabs the update file as soon as it rolls out and shares it with us – something I am sure people out there will do, as our Quest community is amazing! Also, being able to roll back a firmware this way may also be possible.
This update workaround 100% works flawlessly. The process is just as easy for PC owners. There aren’t many guides on how to do it on the Mac, so I thought I’d do the honors!. If you find this useful, please do share this page.
How to force new firmware updates on your Quest on macOS
So you will need the following in order to sideload the update manually onto your Oculus Quest.
- Oculus Quest (with or without Developer mode enabled)
- USB-C cable
- iMac or MacBook running macOS
- Your Mac should be connected to the internet
- Apple Terminal App (Mac) or Windows Command Prompt (PC)
- Installation of ADB Homebrew
- Downloaded Oculus Quest update file – currently v277 to v28 Quest 2 firmware / or try looking for it here
I have previously run Developer mode on my Quest, however, I was able to achieve this without Developer mode switched on. If the steps below do not work for you, then follow this guide on how to enabling Developer Mode on your Oculus Quest.
Download Oculus Quest update file
First it is best to get the update file. At this time of writing the update file has been shared on Reddit. Future updates will likely be shared by other people. Please do make sure you download them from a trustworthy place.
- Download the Update v28 Download Folder / or try finding the latest update on this page here
- Place the downloaded Zip file into a Questupdate folder in the root of your Users > <your username> folder. E.g. “Users > Anthony > Questupdate” folder.
- It is important that the update.zip file remains zipped.
Install Homebrew on your Mac
First you will need to install an ADB environment. This allows your Mac to talk to the Oculus Quest and transfer files. A but similar to sideloading apps and games on your Quest through Developer mode. The most friction free way of doing this on the Mac is through installing Homebrew on your Mac.
- Load up the Terminal application on your Mac (which comes installing on every Mac) by either going to Spotlight and entering “Terminal” or going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal
- Once the Terminal window appears, copy and paste, or type in the following command and press enter to execute it:
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
- Let this command run, which is basically downloading the tools needed for ADB commands to work on your Mac. It will finish with ‘Next Steps’ and settle back on the command entry prompt again.
- Next the next command to install the Android platform tools, so copy and paste, or type in the following command and press enter to execute it:
brew cask install android-platform-tools
- Again, let this command run. It will download the tools and install them on your Mac and then verify the files. It will finish by saying that the “android-platform-tools was successfully installed!” and settle back on the command entry prompt again.
Boot your Oculus Quest into Recovery Mode
You will need to boot your Oculus Quest into Recovery/Update Mode in order for your Mac to see it as a device to sideload the update file onto. You will not lose any files doing this, it is just opening the door on your Quest to allow the update to happen.
- Power down your Oculus Quest if it is already on. Do this by holding down the power button until it powers down or if it displays the Power off menu, select the Power off option.
- With your Quest off, hold down the Power and Volume Down buttons until you see the USB Update Mode menu appear on your Quest. Tip – As soon as you see the Oculus logo after pressing both these buttons, quickly let go, otherwise on Quest 2 I found it would continue to the main menu and skip the Update Mode menu.
- On the USB Update mode menu select Sideload update option. Take off the headset and look at the power button LED light, which should turn purple in colour.
- Plugin your Quest into your Mac using the USB-C lead and you should see the purple LED start flashing.
Apply the new update to your Quest
With the Oculus Quest connected to your Mac, next we will look for ADB devices on your Mac (your Quest) and apply the update.zip file.
- In Terminal window we need to enter into the QuestUpdate folder we created earlier that contains the update.zip file.
An easy way to do this is to enter ‘cd ‘ (with a space at the end) and then in Finder select the folder and drag the folder from Finder into the Terminal window. It should look something like this but with your username instead of mine:
This will automatically enter the correct file location. Press enter button on the keyboard to execute the command and make Terminal enter this folder.
- Once in this folder in Terminal, copy and paste, or type in the following command and press enter to execute it:
This will list devices that are connected to your Mac. If nothing shows here after you run this command, check the cable or connection, also if the Quest is still powered on and has not shut down.
- Finally we need to execute the command to send the zip file to the Quest. To do this copy and paste, or type in the following command and press enter to execute it:
adb sideload update.zip
- Let this command run. You will see the transferring of the file to your Quest. At this point do not disconnect the Quest from your Mac. Let it upload to 100%.
- Once the file has finished transferring, you will see or hear your Oculus Quest reboot to apply the update.
- Put on your Quest and you should see the above symbol appear on your Quest. In new updates, you might just see the Oculus boot logo. This means it is applying the update file to your Quest. Let this continue. Once finished it will reboot once again. PLEASE WAIT, THIS CAN TAKE AROUND 4-5 MINUTES TO COMPLETE.
Restart your Quest to see the update’s new features
Once I had applied the update, I noticed my controllers were also being connected and updated. Once this has finished I went to check for the hand-tracking option in Settings > See All > Experimental Features to see it wasn’t there.
Hold the power button down on the Quest until you see the Power off menu and select Restart. After my Quest restarted it could detect the updated features and enabled them in the Settings area. From there you can now see the hand-tracking option and enable it.
Once hand-tracking has been enabled you can toggle it in the Settings bar of the bottom dashboard menu, next to See All. It will currently say Use controllers, select this to toggle it to Use hands. When you do this for the first time, you will see a brief tutorial on how using hands to control works.
I hope you enjoy this guide. Please do share this if you find it useful.