Oculus Quest 2 v37 update brings link sharing and interface improvements
Meta is rolling out update v37 for Oculus Quest and Quest 2 bringing quality of life improvements such as interface tweaks and Apple Magic Keyboard tracking support. A new Link Sharing feature finally promises to make it easier to send links from your phone to your headset, making it easier for WebXR apps to proliferate through sharing.
The Oculus Quest v37 update starts rolling out to users today and includes targeted changes that will hopefully improve the headset’s core functionality, while adding a few nifty features.
Link sharing and what it means for WebXR
Although Quest has a fairly capable web browser built in, there has always been the annoying issue of getting links in the headset from outside.
The Quest v37 update finally adds a link sharing feature that works as you’d hoped: when you use the share link feature on your phone, you’ll now see an “Oculus” option that will forward the link to the Oculus app. From there, you can either click “Open Now” to immediately launch the link in your headset, or use the “Save to VR” button to bookmark it in your headset for later viewing.
It might not seem like a big deal, but there is one area where this new feature could have a huge impact, and that’s WebXR. WebXR is a stack of web features that allow running VR applications directly from the web browser. The “instant” nature of WebXR applications makes them highly shareable and ideal for small experiments. But the inability to easily get links from the outside of the headset to the inside of the headset hampers the use of WebXR apps more than you might think.
For example, before this point, if someone on Twitter said “hey, check out this awesome WebXR app!” you either have to memorize the URL and type it in directly, or memorize the name of the app and then google it to hopefully find it inside the headset. Or if you’re really savvy, you can use a third-party service like this to get links into your headset a bit easier (but still clumsier than we’d like).
Although none of this sounds this difficult, it’s still a major sticking point that means far fewer people are going to make that leap between finding a WebXR link on their phone and actually getting into their headset experience.
For now, Oculus says the new link sharing feature is only available on Android phones, but iOS support is expected in the future.
We’re happy to finally see this feature making its debut in the Quest v37 update, although it would be nice to have a similar ability to get links from desktops and laptops to the headset as well. For now, I guess we can always fall back on hmd.link.
Quest’s v37 update also brings improvements that Oculus seems to be hoping will bring some (much-needed) clarity to the organization of the interface.
First, it looks like they’re removing the dedicated panel above the menu bar. You can now drag the white line below the panel to move any panel from larger “desktop” mode to “tablet” mode. We hope the Library, Quick Settings, Social, etc. will receive the same treatment for consistency reasons (previously they could only appear in the small dedicated panel).
For those who have multitasking enabled in Quest’s experimental options, the larger “desktop” view will display up to three panels at once. When items are minimized to “tablet” view, only one will be visible at a time.
Additionally, hand tracking gets an expanded gesture-based menu. Previously, if you looked at your palm and made a pinch gesture, it would open the usual Oculus menu. Now when you do the same in v37 you will be greeted with a new menu with quick actions.
As well as choosing to open the usual Oculus menu, you’ll also be able to move your pinched hand to select other actions like taking a screenshot or activating voice commands. Releasing your pinch will make the selection.
The feature certainly reminds us of some great hand tracking interaction concepts shared with us by Leap Motion (now Ultraleap) in 2018.
And finally, in the interface department, the v37 Quest update aims to streamline the ‘Explorer’ tab, which essentially functions as the headset landing page.
Oculus says Explore’s goal is to function as a “hub where you can find out what’s possible and what’s happening in virtual reality.” To that end, the company claims to have redesigned the tab to better support these ideas.
Keyboard tracking for Apple Magic Keyboard
Beyond the new Link Sharing feature and interface improvements, the update also adds keyboard tracking support for the popular Apple Magic Keyboard.
While Quest has long supported Bluetooth keyboards, in the v28 update Oculus introduced the keyboard followed to let you see a virtual version of a keyboard inside your headset, with a (ghost) view of your hands on it for easier typing.
At the time the feature launched, it only supported one keyboard, the Logitech K830, but starting with v37, Oculus also added support for the Apple Magic Keyboard.
It’s unclear if it will work with the smaller version of the keyboard and the larger version with numeric keypad, or just one or the other. We contacted Oculus for clarity.
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As with previous updates, v37 will be rolling out slowly to Quest and Quest 2 users, likely over the course of a week or more, but you can check for an update manually to see if it’s available for you. Here’s how:
How to Update Quest and Quest 2
- In your headset, bring up the Quest menu by pressing the Oculus button on your right controller. Click the clock to access Quick Actions, then click the Settings button (gear icon) in the top right.
- To the left of the Settings section, select “About” at the bottom of the list
- Look next to the “Software Update” label to see if a newer version is available
- Check the “Version” label to see which version is currently installed