7 hands-on (and off) tips for the new Meta Quest 3 mixed reality VR headset

Meta's latest MR/VR headset might be one of the best, and we can help you find your way around.
A person wearing a Meta Quest 3 headset, standing in a well-lit room with their hands behind their head.
There's a lot to experience on Meta's latest headset. Meta

The Meta Quest 3 could lay claim to being the best VR headset around right now, but it actually combines both virtual reality (completely enclosed digital worlds) with mixed reality (where digital elements are mixed with the real world).

With so many types of experiences available on the latest headset from Meta, there are a lot of features and settings to dig into if you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your wearable gadget. Let’s get you started.

1. Cast to another screen

While you’re busy immersed in VR or MR, the people around you—outside the headset—might feel a little left out. If you’d like, you can cast the action happening inside the Meta Quest 3 to another screen, so anyone in the room can see what you’re doing.

You can cast to a phone or a computer, as long as all the devices are on the same WiFi network. On a phone, you’ll need to be logged into the Meta Quest app for Android or iOS: Tap Menu, then Casting to start the show. On a computer, head to oculus.com/casting in a web browser, log into your Meta account, and follow the instructions.

Casts can be initiated from inside the headset as well. Press the Meta button (the Meta logo, a warped infinity symbol) on the Touch Plus controller, then choose Camera and Cast. You can then pick from Computer or Meta Quest mobile phone app.

2. Enter passthrough mode

Beyond the apps and games that make use of the Meta Quest 3’s mixed reality capabilities, you can also let the real world in when you’re browsing through menus and apps in the Horizon Home environment.

Tap the Meta button on the Touch Plus controller, then select the button to the right of the notification bell icon to switch between immersive (VR) mode and passthrough (MR) mode—the button you want looks like a pair of goggles and will be outlined or filled in depending on which view you’re using.

3. Customize your avatar

Your avatar represents you in a variety of places on the Meta Quest 3, so make sure it looks like you and not some generic gray blob of a person (the default). When you’re in your Horizon Home environment, select the mirror to get started.

[Related: Make a Memoji that actually looks like you]

You’ll need to choose an avatar template to get started, but don’t worry if it doesn’t look too much like you—you can customize your facial hair, your outfit, your body shape, and a number of other attributes to get the right VR representation of yourself.

4. Record photos and videos

Capturing screenshots and videos on the Meta Quest 3 is a good way to share what you’re up to. If you press the Meta button on the Touch Plus controller, then choose Camera, you can find Take photo and Record video options, but they’re really just for the Horizon Home environment.

When you’re inside games and apps, you can take a screenshot by holding down the Meta button, tapping the right trigger button, and then releasing both buttons. To take a video, hold down the Meta button, hold down the right trigger button until you see the video recording message, then release both buttons—repeat the action to stop the video.

5. Boost the refresh rate

A person wearing an orange sweater and gray pants striking an active pose in a room while wearing and using a Meta Quest 3 headset.
Some games can be played at a higher refresh rate. Meta

The Meta Quest 3 comes with a significant boost in graphical capabilities over the Oculus Quest 2, including the ability to hit a 120Hz refresh rate if games and apps demand it. This means motion will look smoother and more fluid, though it also means the headset might get warmer, and the mode is more of a drain on battery life.

If you want to make sure games and apps are looking as good as they can be, tap the Meta button on the Touch Plus controller, then choose Settings, System, Display, and enable the 120Hz refresh rate option. If you’d rather have the extra battery life, turn it off.

6. Reset the view

You might sometimes find yourself a little lost in the VR (or MR) world, with the menu or dialog box you want to look at above or below or behind you. To reset the view so everything is in front of you again, press and hold the Meta button on the Touch Plus controller.

After a few moments, you’ll see a circle on screen—keep holding to complete the circle and reset the view. This works in games and apps as well as the Horizon Home environment, so you can use it whenever you’re disoriented.

7. Use hand tracking

The cameras on the front of the Meta Quest 3 can track the actions of your hands and fingers, so you can ditch the Touch Plus Controllers if you want to. The tracking isn’t perfect, but it’s a more natural way of getting around in VR or MR.

Press the Meta button on the Touch Plus controller, then select Settings, Movement tracking, and Hand tracking. Here you can enable the feature (via the top toggle switch) and customize how it works.

Use the options on this screen to choose how you want to switch between using controllers and using hand tracking: You can simply just put the controllers down, for example, or double-tap the controllers together to switch.