Woman wearing a Meta Quest headset and using her hand to touch the air.
To enable hand tracking, open the Settings screen on your Quest headset, select "Hands and Controllers," and enable "Hand tracking." Point your hand forward to aim it at things, touch your thumb and finger together to "click", and pinch and hold to scroll and move things around.

Quest VR headsets come with brilliant motion controllers, but to interact with the world of VR you can also use nothing but your hands. Activating this feature is easy, but it comes with a few limitations you should know about.

How Quest Hand Tracking Works

The Quest and Quest 2 headsets have exterior onboard cameras that track the headset’s motion relative to the environment. This is known as “inside-out” tracking and is becoming the standard way for VR motion tracking, replacing systems that use external cameras around the user.

Meta has found other interesting uses for those cameras, including the ability to blend objects from the real world with the VR world. The hand-tracking feature also uses these cameras, combined with a machine vision algorithm that can recognize the position and movement of your hands and bring them into the VR world.

There are some limitations when using your hands instead of the motion controllers. First of all, you won’t have any sort of haptic feedback, which can somewhat weaken the immersive experience. Secondly, your hands must be within view of the cameras for the system to work. Finally, you need to have a well-lit play space to get the best experience, or the headset will lose track of your hands or track them poorly.

How to Enable Hand Tracking on Your Meta Quest

Hand-tracking is not on by default, but it’s also no longer an experimental feature. Turning it on is a straightforward process.

First, press the Oculus button on the right-hand Touch Controller. This will bring up the universal menu. Hover your pointer over the clock area, and the words “Quick Settings” appear. Select it to open Quick Settings.

Quest Quikc Settings

Now select the gear icon at the top-right of Quick Settings to open the main settings window.

Quest Settings Shortcut

Select Hands and Controllers.

Quest Hands and Controllers

Toggle the “Hand Tracking” option to the on position.

Quest Hand Tracking Toggle

You also have the option to enable auto-switching between hand tracking and controller use. We recommend this since it makes it easy to dynamically change between different experiences simply by putting your touch controllers down. If you don’t, you’ll have to enable and disable hand-tracking manually every time you want to start or stop using it.

Hand-Tracking Gestures

Without a controller and all its buttons in your hand, you may wonder how you’re supposed to interact with system menus and functions. In hand-tracking mode, the Quest recognizes certain gestures you can use to call up system menus and navigate the user interface.

With your hand pointed forward, you’ll see the same laser pointer you get with a touch controller. You’ll “click” on any highlighted object by touching your thumb and finger together. You can also pinch-and-hold to scroll text or move things around.

To access the Home Menu, look at the palm of your hand and then touch your finger to your thumb until the menu icon fills up.

Try These Hand Tracking Experiences

Now that you have hand-tracking available, which games and experiences should you try? At the time of writing, hand tracking has reached version 2.0, and there are several great titles to try out:

There are sure to be many more creative and immersive hand-tracking titles, so if you have a Quest, it’s worth turning this cool feature on to get a grip on the metaverse.

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Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He's worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
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