Quest’s Next Update Could Make It Easier to Use 2D Android Apps, But Harder to Mod Games

Meta recently rejected Google’s bid to bring Android XR to Quest, although now it seems the company is looking to make it slightly easier to use 2D Android apps on its standalone headsets, but also possibly harder to mod Quest-native games.

X user ‘Lunayian’ discovered in Quest’s v63 on the public test channel (PTC) that Meta is currently testing the ability to show and keep apps pinned to the Universal Menu dock, which is where you find all of your recently-used apps.

Since Quest is based on an open-source version of Android, users have been able to sideload apk files for both XR-native apps and standard 2D Android apps via SideQuest, however it seems the company is baking these into the Universal Menu to make recently used apps easier to access. Before this, sideloaded apps would disappear from the Universal Menu when another app was opened, so you’d have to go back into the App Library to find them again, which was a minor hassle, but a hassle none the less.

A report last week was substantiated by Meta CTO Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth, who called Google’s Android XR ambitions too “restrictive,” as the search engine giant was “threatening to fragment the ecosystem,” so we shouldn’t expect Google’s Play store on Quest anytime soon. Still, it’s clear Meta knows what it’s missing in its continued bid to compete with Apple Vision Pro, which boasts over 1.5 million apps built for iPhone and 1,000+ visionOS-native apps.

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Speaking of sideloading, update v63 on the PTC seems to include a few other features that are stirring the pot with users who opted into the software test channel. The update has ostensibly removed access to scoped storage, which allows folder access for things like game modding.

Meta forum moderator ‘WootM4ge’ maintains in a post that “prohibiting access to the scoped storage within your headset wasn’t a feature that Meta intentionally added, but instead was a part of a new update to Android that implemented some security features, which has locked access to files.”

It’s not certain whether this will carry over to the public release channel, but if it does, it means things like Minecraft standalone port QuestCraft and the miasma of BONELAB mods currently available will be nonfunctional. There’s no word on when Meta will roll out v63 officially, so we’ll be keeping our eyes out in the meantime.

We’ve reached out to Meta on whether v63 will indeed revoke access to scoped storage, and will update this piece when/if we hear back.