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? (Updated March 31, 2022)
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. In addition, Quest 2 also uses an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) to sense changes in its position using a gyroscope, accelerometer and e-compass. Using computer vision and data from the IMU, the Quest 2 can generate a 3D map of its surroundings in realtime, which enables it to sense its position in 3D space.
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. The Quest 2 may also be confused by certain types of movement. 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.
- You are in a moving environment. If you are on a moving ship for example, it is possible that the ship’s movement would be registered by the Quest 2’s IMU even if there is nothing in the room that is moving.
- 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 (updated March 31, 2022)
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. Don’t be so close to objects, which can confuse the headset during startup.
Step 2: Keep the controllers nearby and in front of the headset. Don’t try to use hand tracking immediately. If you have a new silicone cover for your controllers, try removing them. The silicone covers can cover the infrared lights on your controllers.
Step 3: 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.
Step 4 (optional): Delete Guardian History. Whenever you create a guardian boundary, Quest will store the location in its memory so that if you enter the same space, it will recall the guardian boundary that you created. Some users have reported that the Tracking Lost error was fixed when they deleted their Guardian History. Under Settings, go to the General tab and look for the option to Clear Guardian History.
Step 5: 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):
- Connect your headset to your PC.
- On your Quest, choose “Allow” to allow the PC to see the contents of your Quest.
- 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.
- 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.
- Launch the Oculus app on your phone.
- On the bottom, tap Devices.
- Tap on the VR headset you want to reset.
- Tap Advanced Settings.
- Tap Factory Reset and tap reset.
I tried everything. Tracking lost happens every time my son plays and he gets very upset. What should I do next?
Hi Tammy. Make sure your son doesn’t move when you turn on the Quest 2. If he is moving around a lot, then the Quest 2 can’t “get its bearings.”
I am trying to use my OQ2 on board of a ship.
My tracking gets lost always no matter what.
Ofcourse the ship is moving, but even when I just sit in a space where you can not see the movement (My head is completly steady compared to the room), I still get tracking lost. The camera view drifts away. Is there any level sensor or something connected to the tracking?
Is there a solution for this issue?
Hi Martijn. The Oculus Quest uses not just the cameras to track its position in space using SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) but in addition, it also relies on internal gyroscopes on the headset and the controllers. Because the ship is moving, the gyroscope is registering movement even if you technically aren’t moving in the room. I’m not aware of a solution to this type of problem except perhaps to ask Oculus and hope that they create a fix for this.
Any results on solving your problem?
I have the same issue, and I just start digging around for a solution.
For the moment I just Factory Reset the headset, now installing automatically the updates.
The headset was working much nicer in previous contract (same vessel), after last update when I was at home start exactly what you describe above.
I was hoping not to start this automatic update and to have the headset as last year. Maybe I will do another Factory Reset and not giving access to the internet.
Please let me know if you have any progress. Thanks!
It turned out to be the TV. I watch movies on my Quest and use the same recliner I use for watching TV. My controller image was jumping around and not pointing correctly and I tried all sorts of things and online research. I only use one controller for movies and couldn’t understand why both were affected as I hardly use one of the pair. The problem was intermittent which was even more confusing. Turns out that was because if my TV was on the Fire Stick while idle the screen was blank, if on cable there was a moving picture. This was the only site that mentioned the TV. Thank you so much! I discovered this right before spraying my thumbsticks with electric cleaner as recommended on another site.
Great job figuring this out!
Hey, when I get on my oculus quest 2 I will get a message that says “Headset can’t track movement” Then it is also followed around by the way my head moves. It says “Something went wrong and your headset can’t track your movement. Possible reasons include your room lighting or the speed of your movement.” But when I try to fix everything like lighting and movement it never works. I also check to see if the cameras are blocked or if the Infrared lights on my controllers are working and they are. I don’t know what the problem could be I’ve tried not moving turning it on. No tv or anything that could interfere. Could you tell me what to do?
factory reset, followed by warranty repair. It sounds like you adjusted everything that could be adjusted externally. It’s either internal software or hardware at fault. The factory reset will redo the software. If the problem persists after the reset, then it’s hardware.
Mine is doing the same thing. Another clue, in my case, is that the tap-for-passthrough feature stopped working at the same time the inability to track movement started. The two together strongly suggest an accelerometer problem.