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Oculus Quest 2 Tracking Lost – WHY it happens and HOW to fix it (and how to backup saved files)

Oculus Quest 2 Tracking Lost error - how to fix it
Oculus Quest 2 Tracking Lost error - how to fix it

If you have an Oculus Quest 2 (aka Meta Quest 2), you may encounter a Tracking Lost error message.  What causes it and how do you fix it?  And if you have to do a factory reset, is there a way to restore the saved progress in your games?  Yes you can.

Oculus Quest 2 (reviewed here) is the most popular VR headset on the market today for good reason.  It is completely wireless, has excellent tracking with six degrees of freedom, and even has advanced features such as hand tracking.  On top of its cutting-edge features, it is also incredibly affordable, starting at just $299 with 128GB of storage.

TRACKING LOST ERROR

Recently, users have reported seeing a Tracking Lost error message.  When this error message appears, the tracking becomes limited to head rotation, which means that apps essentially become unusable.  If you try moving up, down, sideways, or forward or backward, the headset cannot track your movement.  Occasionally, after a couple of seconds, the error goes away on its own.  But sometimes, it doesn’t.

WHAT CAUSES THE TRACKING LOST ERROR?

What is causing the Tracking Lost error?  First, we need to understand how the Quest 2 works.  Quest 2, like the Rift S (reviewed here) and Oculus Quest (reviewed here), senses its position using SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping).  Unlike older VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift CV1 that uses external tracking devices, Quest 2 is a standalone VR headset with no need for beacons.  Instead, it has four small cameras to analyze its surroundings.  Using computer vision, the Quest 2 can generate a 3D map of its surroundings in realtime, which enables it to sense its position in 3D space.

From left to right: Oculus Quest, Quest 2 and Rift S
From left to right: Oculus Quest, Quest 2 and Rift S

When you turn on the Quest 2, it reorients itself and it needs to have a clear view of its surroundings.  If there is anything that blocks its view or the surroundings change too quickly, the Quest 2 can become confused and can lose tracking.  Examples include:

  • One or more of the cameras are blocked, such as when your hands partially block the cameras while adjusting the headset.
  • A lot of movement in the surroundings.  If there is something that is moving around a lot you while you power on the headset, the Quest 2 can get confused.
  • You are moving a lot.  If you move a lot while powering on the headset, such as when you go from sitting to standing, the Quest 2 might not be able to get a baseline of its surroundings and can lose tracking.
  • Environment is too bright or too dark.  If the room is too dark or you try to bring the Quest 2 outside in bright sunlight, its cameras might not be able to cope with the lighting.
  • Screens and monitors.  Screens and monitors can be confusing to the Quest because they can change brightness rapidly or can flicker at very high speeds.
  • Lights in another country.  If you bring your Quest to another country that has household electricity of different frequency, the lights can appear to flicker to the Quest 2’s cameras (even though your naked eyes don’t detect the flickering).

HOW TO FIX TRACKING LOST ERROR

The fix for the tracking lost error is easy.

Step 1: Check the headset.  Make sure there’s nothing blocking the cameras.  If you are moving a lot, try not to minimize movement first while the Quest 2 gets its bearings.

Step 2: Check the environment.  Make sure you are in a room with adequate lighting.  If you are facing a TV or computer screen, try to face away from it or turn off the screen.  If you’re outside, move indoors.

Electrical Frequency issue: If you are traveling to an area with another light frequency, go to the Settings, and under Device, look for the Tracking Frequency option.  Normally this is on Auto.  But if it’s not working, you can try to switch to 50hz for countries that use 50hz electricity (e.g. European countries), or 60hz for United States and countries in North or South America.

Tracking Lost error might be caused by the frequency of household electricity
Tracking Lost error might be caused by the frequency of household electricity

Step 3: Turn on tracking again.  First, press the Oculus button on your right controller to bring up the popup menu.  On the bottom left, click on the battery icon or Wi-Fi icon to launch Quick Settings.  From Quick Settings, click on Guardian.  This will let you turn on the tracking again.

If tracking still doesn’t work: Backup Files and Factory Reset

If the steps above don’t fix the tracking issues, there are a couple of things you can do: first is to reboot.  Just hold down the power button until you see a message asking if you want to reboot.

If you reboot your headset but it still has tracking lost error, then the last resort is to do a factory reset.  A factory reset deletes everything.  You’ll still have the games that you purchased before, but you’ll have to download each one again.  You may also lose your saved progress.

How to backup and restore your saved games on Quest

You can try to save your progress in games (no guarantees):

  1. Connect your headset to your PC.
  2. On your Quest, choose “Allow” to allow the PC to see the contents of your Quest.
  3. On Windows Explorer, select the Quest and go to the directory Android/data and look for the directory for the game you want to save.  For example, for Beat Saber, it’s com.beatgames.beatsaber.  Copy that directory to your hard drive to back it up.
  4. After you do a factory reset (see below) and reinstall your game, then copy the save directory to your Quest’s Android/data directory again to restore them.

How to factory reset Oculus Quest or Quest 2

The easiest way to do a factory reset is to use the Oculus app on your phone.

  1. Launch the Oculus app on your phone.
  2. On the bottom, tap Devices.
  3. Tap on the VR headset you want to reset.
  4. Tap Advanced Settings.
  5. Tap Factory Reset and tap reset.