The Update Loop Solved

Stuck on the "Oculus Media Plugin" update? Here's how to fix it.


12/13/20234 min read

Update: Meta appears to have fixed the issue at their end and it is no longer occurring.
This guide is now simply for historical and reference purposes.

On December 6th, 2023 Gearheads around the world started posting across Reddit that their Gear VRs weren't working anymore.

It didn't seem to matter whether the Oculus Gear VR app was opened, or you tried to open an app using Dev Mode via the Gear VR Service shortcut, the result was the same. Your phone would tell you there was an update available. This didn't make any sense as support for the Gear VR ended in 2020 - why is there an update in 2023? Proceeding to the next screen would tell you that Oculus Media Plugin needed updating, but it also reported the file size as being 0.0Mb. Clicking the update button would bring up a "Network error occurred" error. Had the Gear VR been bricked?

As we all know, it's impossible to get beyond the robo-responses when dealing with Meta Support, so the following is purely conjecture. This is what we think happened. Meta has been making changes to their servers in the background for the last few months. We covered what this meant for accessing information about Gear VR content in our article "Wiped From The Web". The file required for Oculus Media Plugin had either been moved, or accidently erased. This caused the Gear VR update software to assume a new version was required as the checksum/file size didn't match. The problem is, since that file wasn't on the Meta/Oculus server where the the Gear VR expected it to be, the software would respond with the "Network error occurred". Regardless of if this is correct or not, the result was the same, users could no longer use their Gear VRs.

The community quickly discovered that the required APK was available online and the issue could be fixed by sideloading it while the Gear VR Setup Wizard was still running. Essentially they were tricking the Setup Wizard into thinking the file had been installed, and everything worked again. At least for a little while. Eventually something behind the scenes would run the check again, and the Update happen again. This issue started being referred to on Reddit as The Update Loop.

Solving The Update Loop

Switching off all data (Wi-Fi and mobile data) would prevent this loop from happening, but this wasn't a long term solution. Without internet access you couldn't use the Gear VR for YouTube, or web browsing, or anything else online. There had to be a better way.

The community discovered that by using a firewall application like NetGuard you could prevent the Oculus apps from "calling home" and restarting the loop. The problem that still remained is that by doing this Gear VR Home would no longer be able to do anything either. Again, there had to be a better way.

That's when our team joined the discussion and started testing. We tried blocking all 12 of the apps/services that the Gear VR required one-by-one but unfortunately, it didn't solve the issue. The Loop was still happening.

So then we went berserker mode and blocked EVERYTHING. NetGuard has a feature that tells you when an app or service attempts to access the internet, so over the course of two days we allowed apps to access the internet again one at a time, slowly narrowing down the list. Finally we found the culprits. Two of them.

  • Gear VR SetupWizard

  • Oculus Core Mobile Services

Blocking both of these services will prevent the Loop from re-occurring.

Update Loop Fix - Step by Step Guide
  1. Download the Oculus Media Plugin APK - Download link

  2. Try and start an app, or plug your device into the Gear VR. This will bring up the Update required prompt.
    (Note: Attempting to open an app works on S8 and newer devices. On the S6 and S7, plugging your device into the Gear VR might be required)

  3. Click Start and on the next screen, click Update.

  4. While keeping the Setup Wizard active (don't manually close it), install the Oculus Media Plugin APK

  5. Once installed, your device screen should automatically either open the app you chose, or go back to the Gear VR Home app.
    If this didn't work, click Update again, wait for the Network Error message and install the APK again.

  6. Download NetGuard

  7. Open NetGuard and go into Settings -> Advanced Options and enable Manage System Apps

  8. Block Gear VR SetupWizard and Oculus Core Mobile Services from accessing the internet

  9. Activate the NetGuard firewall. It will ask you to turn off battery optimization, make sure you do this.

  10. Enjoy you Gear VR again.

This solution wouldn't be possible without NetGuard so please support their development by purchasing one of the Pro features or donating on their webpage.

Gear VR Software update screen
Gear VR Software update screen
Download VR apps screen
Download VR apps screen
NetGuard screenshot
NetGuard screenshot