There’s a ride (probably way more than just one, but I’m a pansy and got sick) in Disney World that incorporates practically all your senses—sign, motion, sound, touch—even smell. It still falls short of a truly immersive experience, but it comes close. Google Daydream isn’t that close—it relies solely on visual stimuli and limited movement—and unlike Disney World rides, it also wants your Android to do all the heavy lifting. In short, it’s not perfect, but it’s not bad, either.
Positioned between very expensive devices like Oculus Rift and the significantly cheaper Google Cardboard, Google Daydream fills a niche for attainable entertainment. That is not to say that it has no issues; however, that can’t even be said of the nearly $600 Oculus Rift.
But like the Daydream’s price that the average person can work with, most are problems we can work with and handle. Unless, like myself, you have a serious case of motion sickness—sometimes I just have to sit it out.
Problem 1: Frozen or Unresponsive Controller
If the controller is acting like it’s dead or on its way, it might be. Try charging it. Also, if the LED indicator light blinks three times in a row even when you press the Home button, charge the controller for a few hours.
Inspect Bluetooth Connection
On your Android, go to Settings > Bluetooth and ensure that the devices are paired. If not, pair them.
Check the Daydream App
If the problem is that you can’t get your Daydream app to recognize the controller, the problem is most likely with Google VR Services. Uninstall and reinstall that the Services app.
Re-Pair Controller and Android
Sometimes a fresh start helps. Unpair the devices. Then launch the Daydream app and go to the three bars that represent the Menu. Then go to Settings > Controller > Pair new controller. Long-press the Home button on the controller.
Problem 2: Controller Aiming Issues
An equally annoying problem with the controller is when the pointer goes everywhere except where you are aiming. Some of the above solutions may also work for this problem as well—plus, we’re going to give you more.
Use Home Button to Re-Center
Long-press the Home button to re-center the cursor.
Power down your device and turn it back on.
Charge and Press Home Button
If you notice the LED light blinking three times in a row, your controller might be due for a charge. Put the controller on the charger and press the Home button until the light stabilizes. Charge for at least an hour.
Tap Firmly but Gently To Set Things in Place
If you have dropped your controller, this might work for you. Sometimes parts become jarred and tapping the controller can help realign things back into place. Pounding roughly on your controller, although it might provide you temporary emotional relief, will likely just make things worse.
Although it isn’t a totally widespread problem, there have been instances of faulty hardware. If for instance, you point the controller up and the laser moves in the opposite direction you might be among those affected and eligible for a replacement.
Problem 3: Disappointed in 3D Experience
Perhaps you expected more—you wanted to be wowed—and Daydream just falls short. You aren’t alone, but here are a few tips to improve your experience.
Unless you are deaf or hard of hearing, your everyday reality involves sound. The 3D will seem a bit more realistic to you if you immerse yourself not only with sight but sound.
Watch YouTube 3D in Full Screen
Skip the Daydream platform for now. Instead, use only the YouTube app and 3D SBS Video. Use near-field communication to create the connection between your devices.
Use Daydream in the Dark
Unfortunately, the Daydream headset is susceptible to light leaks. That light is a constant reminder of the outside world; not the 3D one you are trying to immerse yourself in.
Explore the World
This may be the next best thing to teleportation. No, it won’t teleport that annoying person in the same room with you somewhere cold, dark, and miserable, but you can extricate yourself. Use Google Street View to visit the Seven Wonders of the World. Use YouTube to feel like you’re in your favorite music videos.
Even if you missed an event, but someone sent you photos, you can be there in spirit and in 3D using the Google Photos app. Want to go back in time, or at least to 2007? Use Google Street View’s clock icon (or time portal) in the top left corner next to the date the most recent photo was taken. Older images will become visible in the thumbnail.
Don’t Let Anything Obscure Your View
It’s going to happen. Your lenses are going to get dirty. It might happen gradually, though, and you might not even realize it. So make a point to be proactive and periodically wipe away any dust, dirt, or smudges from the lenses. You can use rubbing alcohol or a glass cleaner with a cloth for best results.
Problem 4: Power Drain and Overheating
With your Android doing a lot of the processing, it’s no wonder that it experiences rapid power loss accompanied by heat generation. Some Google Pixels have been having this problem with or without Daydream. Here’s what you can try.
Use a Portable Charger
It’s not practical to use the cord to plug in your Android while you are using Daydream, but it’s really inconvenient to run out of battery so fast. Stick a portable charger in your pocket and have the best of both worlds.
Uninstall Anything Unnecessary or Problematic
To determine if the Daydream app is the issue (or if this is the problem at all) try going into Safe Mode. Safe Mode only uses those apps that come with your phone without loading any of the third-party software that could be causing the issue. The method by which you enter Safe Mode depends on which type of Android you are working with.
For the sake of this example, we will use the Google Pixels. Start by turning off the device, and then long-pressing the Power/Lock keys. When you see the Pixel logo, immediately press the Volume Down button and release Power. Continue holding the Volume key until the device reboots. The words Safe Mode should appear in the lower-left of your screen.
If you do not experience the problem in Safe Mode, try uninstalling any third-party app, one-at-a-time, that you think might be the culprit. If multiple apps are causing the issue, uninstall those you don’t need. If it is only the Daydream app, we will have to try to work with other solutions. If the phone still misbehaves in Safe Mode, your problem could be related to the hardware or a corrupted OS, which can be tougher to fix on your own.
Use a Mobile Cooling Fan
Portable cell phone cooling fan radiators might be of assistance.
This is going to wipe everything, and you will have to start from scratch. To start with a clean slate, go into Recovery Mode. Choose Factory Reset/Wipe Data by selecting the option using the Volume Down key and confirming your choice by pressing the Volume Up key.
Check with Carrier
In some instances, service providers have agreed to provide a replacement for Pixel devices experiencing these issues.
Problem 5: Error Message: “We’re Having Difficulty Finding Your Controller.”
Um, the controller is beside your Android. Why the disconnect?
Check Bluetooth Connection
On your Android, go to Settings > Bluetooth and ensure that the devices are paired. If not, pair them.
Power down your device(s), then power them back on again.
Keep Them Close
Make sure that the controller is right beside your Android. Keep the controller and Android close to one another when pairing.
Uninstall Apps, Reinstall, and Update
Uninstall both the Daydream and VR Services apps and reinstall them. If you are prompted to update either app, do so.
Use the Home Button
Long-press the Home button for approximately five seconds. Release, and repeat as necessary until the devices pair.
Problem 6: Controller is Paired but Can’t Connect
So you are able to see that the controller and Android are supposedly connected via Bluetooth, but they somehow still aren’t really connected. What gives?
Unpair your Android and controller and tap Forget. Pair the two devices again.
Close and Reopen App
Close the Daydream app and try again. If necessary, force stop the app. Go to Settings > Apps > Daydream > Force Stop.
Ask for Replacement
There’s no guarantee, but some users have found Google willing to provide a replacement especially if the company is unable to resolve the issue.
Confirm Device is Charged
If the LED indicator light blinks three times in a row even when you press the Home button, charge the controller for a few hours.
Connect to PC and Long-Press Home and App Buttons
Connect to a computer and press and hold the Home and App buttons until the LED light becomes solid.
Problem 7: Can’t Connect to Google Play Store
Some users have experienced problems connecting to the Play Store only within the Daydream app. This is because the connection is unavailable in some countries. But here is a way to get around it.
Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
The VPN needs to access a country where Daydream is supported. Go to Google’s website specific to that country—for example, google.co.uk for the United Kingdom. You will need to create a new account on this website, using that country as an entry on your form selection. Visit Settings > Personal Info > Search Settings > Languages to select the appropriate language.
Also, go into Language and Input Tools and do the same thing. Add the new account you just made to your Android. Now head to Settings > Apps > Google Play Store > Clear data & cache, because you don’t want the former settings to interfere. Launch the Google Play Store app and switch to your new account. Finally, connect to the VPN using your Android.
Download Apps from the Google Play Store Without Using the VR Headset
No, it’s not convenient, but sometimes it may be all you can do.
Problem 8: App Hung at Google VR Services Update
This one affected a lot of people. Luckily, Google has provided a fix.
Uninstall and Reinstall Service and Daydream Apps
Even if you tried this before and it didn’t work, try again. Google has made some corrections.
You can update automatically by restarting your Android.
Unpair and Re-pair Devices
Unpair the devices. Then launch the Daydream app and go to the three bars that represent the Menu. Then go to Settings > Controller > Pair new controller. Long-press the Home button on the controller.
Some people have also complained that the headset is uncomfortable or ill-fitting, but there seems to be no consensus on that, as others raved about how comfortable it is. It’s definitely more comfortable than Google Cardboard.
The app selection for Google Daydream is lacking, but hopefully, this will continue to improve. You probably aren’t ever going to feel like your whole body is moving through 3D space using Daydream, but you aren’t breaking the bank either.
Have you encountered any other problems with Daydream? Tell us about them. Also, if you have solutions, others could benefit from, post them.
Next Read: Samsung Gear VR