Facebook, through Oculus consulting chief technology officer John Carmack, announced last month that it would unlock the Oculus Go headset’s software. The VR hardware wasn’t with us for very long, going on sale for about two years before being sent to that great big junk-heap in the sky.
Only, the software update is supposed to prevent that. Will it work? Only you will be able to decide that, by loading the newly-released update to your Oculus Go and seeing what it can do when liberated from the tyranny of Facebook’s grip.
Oculus Go and do something new with it
Carmack’s promised software upgrade dropped over the weekend, allowing owners root access to their virtual reality hardware. What is done after that will be up to enterprising developers, but expect to see all sorts of modification in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s how you can go about unlocking your Oculus Go headset.
First up is to download the update, which turns up as a ZIP file about 700MB in size. Installing the unlocked operating system is done in much the same way you’d gain root access to an Android smartphone. The Oculus Go should be connected to a (Windows) PC via cable. You should probably also have Android Studio installed on your PC since you’re going to need it. Oh, yeah, and these changes are rather irreversible.
You’ll have to turn on Developer Mode, if you haven’t already, and then turn on Android Debug Bridge (ADB). From there, you’ll have to access ADB Sideload Mode by either a) rebooting the headset using the adb reboot sideload command, b) using the adb reboot bootloader command, or c) holding the Volume Up key when booting the hardware from off and then selecting the Sideload option before pressing the power key.
Using your PC, you’ll want to enter the adb sideload unlocked_build.zip command. Wait for this to run and complete, or great harm will befall. The hardware will reboot, but you’ll have to reboot again to get back to the bootloader. Either a) adb reboot bootloader or b) holding the Volume Up key when booting the hardware. You can also opt for fastboot oem unlock but this will factory reset your device as well. That should do it.
The folks at Oculus have a slightly more detailed walkthrough if you need a little more assistance.