Hands-on with Meta Quest swipe keyboard and other v56 upgrades
The Meta Quest v56 update adds a direct touch swipe keyboard, along with other changes that improve the experience.
The Quest v56 update is available for public test channel (PTC) users, and I tested the new swipe keyboard to see if it speeds up typing. Meta included more surprises, like a local dimming control for Quest Pro owners.
VR swipe keyboard
A swipe keyboard is an obvious addition, since the Quest 2 accepts hand-tracking and uses an Android-based operating system. It's an issue raised in Meta's community ideas forum as far back as 2019. I revived the thread in 2023 after Meta added direct touch for hand-tracking, and now the time has finally arrived.
When you get the v56 update, go to Experimental settings to enable the swipe keyboard. I tested it on my Quest Pro, and while stuttery at first, performance improved after restarting my headset.
Refrain from swiping through words at top speed. The Quest 2 and Quest Pro are VR headsets that use low-power chips in continuous tracking and image reprojection cycle. To figure out where your hands and fingers are in relation to the virtual keyboard is non-trivial.
Yet, the Quest swipe keyboard works. I greatly prefer swiping in text instead of hitting a letter at a time on a touchscreen or virtual keyboard. If you find Meta's swipe keyboard frustrating or inaccurate, slow down, and it should begin to work reliably.
More v56 upgrades
You'll find more new features in Experimental settings. If you own a Quest Pro, the local dimming option will finally be under your control. The fine print below this toggle switch says local dimming should work on most apps, unless the developer has specifically turned the feature off.
Local dimming takes advantage of the Quest Pro's mini-LED backlighting, making dark areas darker while brightly lit spaces can reach full brightness. Local dimming had to be enabled by developers previously.
The Wi-Fi panel has a new appearance, matching the settings panel's format and layout. It was a separate narrow window in the previous version. Functionally, nothing seems to have changed. Unifying the look of various components is a good idea, and I hope Meta continues to refine the look and standardize the operation of the Quest user interface.
We'll keep looking and update you if we find any other interesting tidbits.
The Quest v56 update is only available in the public test channel, so it may take a few weeks before you see these changes.