Quest hackers Basti564 and threethan figured out how to run background Android apps with audio on Quest.
Quest has built-in support for sideloading and running 2D Android apps, but normally launching a VR app fully kills any running 2D app. This new hack seems to bypass this limitation, letting you do things like listen to music from Spotify or talk to friends on Discord while playing VR.
Bastian added this hack as a feature of their tool Oculess, which lets you unlink your Facebook account from your Quest and disable telemetry.
How To Enable Background Audio
To use Oculess, just download it from GitHub and sideload it using SideQuest or Oculus Developer Hub. If your headset isn’t already in developer mode or you don’t know how to sideload apps you can follow our guide here. If you have an older version of Oculess you’ll need to update to the latest release.
Once you’ve installed Oculess, follow these steps to make it possible to use apps like Spotify or Discord in the background:
- Sideload The Apps: you’ll need to find an APK (Android app file) for the apps you want to use such as Spotify or Discord. You can find them on APK hosting sites such as APKPure
- Activate Oculess: open Oculess in the Unknown Sources section of your Quest app library. Click ‘Remove Accounts’ then remove all your accounts. This is temporary, and will revert when you next reboot your headset
- Run This ADB Command: use SideQuest or Oculus Developer Hub to run the ADB command adb shell dpm set-device-owner com.bos.oculess/.DevAdminReceiver
- Enable Background Audio: open Oculess from Unknown Sources and click ‘Enable Background Audio’
That’s it! You can now start a Spotify playlist or join a Discord call then head into a VR game. This should also work for other 2D Android apps which use background audio.
Steps 1, 2, and 3 only need to be done once, but you’ll need to repeat Step 4 every time you reboot your headset if you want to use background audio.
As always, it’s important to note that sideloading hacks like this is done at your own risk – in the worst case scenario you could need to factory reset your Quest. That said, we were able to perform these steps with no side effects.