Problems with Samsung Gear VR Right Now and How to Fix Them

featured-image-new-vr-problemsWe’ve covered VR issues before, but we still haven’t touched on all of the problems VR users are facing. It doesn’t matter if you’re using the Gear VR, Google Cardboard, or any other VR headset; you’re going to run into problems. However, just like any puzzle, any problem has a solution.

I’ve taken a look to find every problem I can answer, so if you have any of the problems on this list or any in the comments below it; we’ll do our best to solve it. Virtual reality is an amazing experience, so it’s always a shame when technical problems sully it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s still plaguing VR in 2017.

What to Try First to Fix Your VR Problems

Before you go through any of these problems or solutions, take a look at these troubleshooting steps. Almost 99% of the time, any one of those steps will fix any Android software issue.

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If none of those steps work for you, I have plenty more for you below.


1. Android Device is Refusing to Go Into VR Mode

Since it’s impossible to use any VR features without your Android being in VR mode, this is the most important problem to address with the Gear VR or any other Android VR headset. There are a few different ways to handle this problem, so I’m going to separate the solutions into two categories.

The first is if your Android has gone into VR mode before, and the second is if your Android has never gone into VR mode before. This way we can see if this has always been a problem, or a problem because of a change in your Android or headset.


Let’s tackle the former option first.

If Your Android Has Gone Into VR Mode Before:

So you’ve used VR with your Android before, and it’s worked just fine up until today. Your Android is no longer going into VR mode no matter what you try, or it’s just sitting on the home screen with no way to fix it.

Since you’ve used VR with your Android before, something must have changed since the last time you used your headset. Let’s look at some possibilities.

1. A New App is Causing the Problem

Have you recently installed a battery optimizer or a task killer? I’ve voiced my opinion on those in the past, and their unfortunate tendency to kill VR apps only furthers why I don’t like them. If you have one installed, try uninstalling it before attempting VR again.

Task killers aren’t the only apps that mess with VR, but they’re one of the biggest offenders. One of the easiest ways to figure out if a new app is causing the problem is to boot your Android into Safe Mode.

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If the buggy software is the problem, you’ll notice that in Safe Mode you won’t see the issue anymore. This is mainly used to trial and error your way to figuring out which app is causing the problem, after you’ve found the troublemaker, uninstall the problem app and turn off Safe Mode to use your Android as normal.

If you don’t want to resort to using Safe Mode, just try disabling some of your newer apps to see if VR mode starts working normally again.

2. Your Android isn’t Correctly Secured

I’ll mention this issue again in the next section, but for now, let’s talk about how or why this can happen. You’ve used VR mode before, so you know your Android device is compatible with your headset but is your Android secured the same way it was last time?

It never hurts to double check, or even triple check how you’ve slotted your device into your headset. If you can’t remember the proper procedure, take a look to see how you do it with compatible devices:

Past this point are issues that crop up if you’ve never gone into VR mode before, but also apply to users who have used the mode before.


If Your Android Has Never Gone Into VR Mode Before:

You’re trying your best to get VR mode to work, but it just isn’t cooperating. You’re sure you’re doing everything right, and you probably are; so there has to be something enabled or disabled that’s preventing you from using this mode.

Let’s take a look at everything your Android device needs to have enabled and disabled before you can use VR mode.

1. Enable Facebook Services

Ever since Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, if you want to use the Oculus app effectively Facebook services need to be enabled. This sounds like a strange requirement, but some users have had this problem in the past.

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The easiest way to do this is through one of Facebook’s apps, or by giving it a pass through any package disablers you have. Otherwise, following the instruction in the picture above will make sure any updates go through just fine.

2. Properly Secure Your Android

I mentioned in the section above, and I’m mentioning it here again, please make sure your Android is properly secured. There’s a video here showing some of the basic setup for the Gear VR, and it shows how to slot an Android into the device:

3. Push Past the Home Screen

One variant of this problem happens when the home screen just refuses to go away and blocks the entire view. The easiest way to deal with this is to launch the Oculus app before putting your Android into the Gear VR, this effectively bypasses the home screen entirely.

4. Use the Samsung VR App

If you’re having a hard time getting VR to work with anything, why not try Samsung’s own VR app? If this doesn’t work from the start, then you know the problem isn’t the with the apps you’re using. You can get it here:

Don’t forget to try the steps I mentioned at the start earlier, they really do work wonders.


2. Unable to Update After Using VR

We’ve covered updating issues with the Gear VR before, but a new solution has come to light that I mentioned in the previous section. Ever since Facebook acquired Oculus, some updates are tied to Facebook services, which means you need to have Facebook updates or packages enabled.

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This isn’t the only solution if you’re still having problems, but it’s one that’s often overlooked, which is why I’m mentioning it at least a second time.


3. Even More Network Errors

Network errors are often a terrifying thing to troubleshoot. There are hundreds of possible combinations that are at work to cause the problem, and narrowing it down to one takes more time than anyone will want to spend.

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Since there’s no clear-cut solution for this, I’ll just mention everything to try before all you can do is wait for an update that gives you a fix. Starting from the top, try:

  • Disabling your Wi-Fi network
  • Deleting your saved Wi-Fi networks
  • Disabling your mobile data
  • Renaming your used Wi-Fi network
  • Changing the password of your used Wi-Fi network
  • Using the Gear VR in a different location
  • Trying the Gear VR with a different Android
  • Soft resetting your Android
  • Uninstalling recently installed apps
  • Backing up your data, and then doing a factory reset

If you’re still having problems at this point, there’s nothing more you can do besides waiting for an update that solves the problem.


4. Android Device Doesn’t Fit in the Gear VR Even Though it Should

If you run into this problem, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is my Android supported?
  • Does my Android have a case on?
  • Do the clips in my headset behave the same way they did before?
  • Am I using a screen protector?

If your Android is supported and as bare as the day it came out of the box, then the problem has to lie with your VR headset. Unfortunately, this usually means you need to purchase a new one, as there aren’t quick fixes for a problem like this.


5. User Account isn’t Recognized

Sometimes Oculus accounts have a bug where they aren’t recognized after being verified, or the verification email isn’t sent out at all. For either of these issues, try waiting at least twenty-four hours before attempting any additional fixes.

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Once the some time has passed, and your account still isn’t working, you can either:

  • Check your Spam for the verification email
  • Get the email resent from Oculus using their sign up page
  • Try clearing your cache partition before signing in again
  • Sign into your account under a different Wi-Fi network or without mobile data

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And then as a last resort:

  • Create a new account to use

If making a new account doesn’t solve the issue, try contacting Oculus support directly with your issue.


6. VR Apps Won’t Work with VR

There are two things you need to do when you notice your app isn’t working in VR. Number one is to double check if the app has VR support. If you don’t see any mention of VR on the page, or it isn’t in the Oculus store, then you’re out of luck.

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The second thing you need to do is uninstall and then reinstall the app. Most of the time, this will fix the problem, even if you didn’t know what was causing the problem in the first place. If you’re still stuck with this problem, please refer to the steps I mentioned at the beginning.


7. Wi-Fi Problems After Using VR

Just like with network errors, there are a large number of reasons why Wi-Fi problems happen after using the Gear VR. The reason why I’ve listed this problem separately from network errors, even if they’re similar, is because Wi-Fi issues can’t be fixed by an update from Oculus.

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Since Oculus won’t be any help, let’s look at what you can do to fix this yourself. Here are a few short steps to try before I get into anything big:

  • Soft reset your Android

There are plenty of problems a soft reset will fix, and this is one of them, but past that:

  • Disable and then re-enable Wi-Fi networks
  • Rename or change the password on used Wi-Fi networks
  • Delete Wi-Fi network history before connecting to Wi-Fi again
  • Disable and then re-enable mobile data
  • Turn on airplane mode for at least a minute before turning it off

That covers all of the quick solutions you can try, and hopefully, that’s more than enough. If you’re still having Wi-Fi problems, you need to rule out what’s still causing them. Do you have any other devices that connect to this Wi-Fi source successfully? Does your Android have Wi-Fi problems with more than just VR?

If your Android is the only device you own that has Wi-Fi problems, you’ll need to do more than just a soft reset. Wi-Fi issues plague many services and devices, and most of the time all you can do is just pull the plug and hope it works again once you turn it back on.


8. Seeing Dust While Using VR

Thankfully this is one problem that’s easily fixed in just a few seconds. Because of the Gear VR’s design, it’s easy for dust to get into the unit. Giving the area where you see dust a wipe, or blowing compressed air into the afflicted areas is an easy way to get rid of your dusty vision in no time at all.

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It’s easy to pick up a can of compressed air for as little as $10, and it’s something that’s always helpful to have around the house. Pick it up on Amazon here:


9. Google Voice Search Isn’t Working

Google voice searching is integral to most user experiences with the Gear VR, and it thankfully isn’t that hard to fix when it isn’t behaving properly. There are two fixes for the issue, and both of them have been proven to work.

1. Update Google Services

Sometimes the solution is as easy as updating something to the newest version. If it’s been a long time since you’ve updated your Google app, open the Play Store and update it to the most recent version.

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2. Enable Google’s Text-to-Speech

If doing an update doesn’t the fix the problem, the issue lies with your text-to-speech. Go to your Settings, then to Language and finally to Speech to look at your available options. Set everything to default, and then try using Google Voice Search again.

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Once it’s all set, the problem should be fixed.


Your Last Troubleshooting Resort

When you’ve done everything you possibly can, there’s only one option left to try, a factory reset. A factory reset brings your Android back to zero but wipes away any bugs or software problems as soon as the process finishes. It’s a surefire way to fix almost any issue at the cost of time and convenience.

A factory reset will wipe your Android completely, deleting all data. It’s important to backup any and all of your important information before attempting this. If you think you’re ready to try this last resort to fix your VR problems once and for all, we’ll guide you through it right here.


Conclusion

As great as VR is, there is still a multitude of problems with it, especially with devices like the Gear VR since there are so many variables at play. The more problems we uncover, and the more issues we solve, the more advanced VR technology will grow, and hopefully Android will grow right along with it.

If you still have any VR problems, even with other VR headsets, please leave any questions you have in the comments below!

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