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If you’re looking for a VR headset for your Mac, you may be wondering whether the Oculus Rifts works with Macs.

The Oculus Rift was one of the first successful VR headsets to hit the market but it still does not support Macs. Oculus (now owned by Facebook) officially states that:

The Oculus Rift S and Rift are currently optimised to work with Windows PCs.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey stated way back in 2016 that Oculus would only support Macs “if Apple ever releases a good computer”.

Luckey told Shacknews at the time:

It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn’t prioritize high-end GPUs. You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn’t match our recommended specs. So if they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it.

Even now in 2021, despite the release of the Oculus Quest 2, there are no Oculus products that support Macs.

However, the situation in 2020 has changed significantly since that statement was made.

Amazing VR headsets like the HTC Vive Pro now support Macs and the technology is now there for the Oculus Rift to work on macOS too.

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The latest Mac Pros certainly have the specifications to run Oculus Rift headsets without any external hardware or upgrades such as en External Graphics Processing Unit.

And even older iMacs and MacBook Pros can theoretically now support an Oculus Rift with an eGPU connected to your Mac.

Currently, the recommended and minimum Oculus Rift technical requirements are:

Component Recommended Specs Minimum Specs
Graphics Card NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
Alternative Graphics Card NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater NVIDIA GTX 960 4GB / AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
CPU Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater Intel i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
Memory 8GB+ RAM 8GB+ RAM
Video Output Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
USB Ports 3x USB 3.0 ports, plus 1x USB 2.0 port 1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 ports
OS Windows 10 or newer Windows 10 or newer

Despite Apple’s efforts to make macOS support eGPUs since High Sierra and the development of the Mac Pro and eGPU market, Oculus still hasn’t changed its position and will focus on PCs for the near future.

Will The Oculus Rift Work On Mac With Boot Camp?

We don’t recommend trying to setup an Oculus Rift to run on Mac with Boot Camp.

There’s really no point installing Windows on a Mac to run any kind of VR hardware now that the latest version of macOS Catalina supports eGPUs natively.

eGPUs often don’t play well with Windows Boot Camp setups anyway and you’ll find yourself trying to fix more problems than using it with macOS.

That’s not to mention you’d need a USB-C Hub with a lot of ports in order to plug everything in needed to connect an Oculus Rift to your Mac. And even then, it probably wouldn’t work well anyway.

The best alternative to the Oculus Rift on Mac is easily the HTC Vive Pro which is by far the best VR headset for Mac users on the market right now.

It’s officially compatible with both Macs and macOS and arguably, the VR experience is even better with the HTC Vive Pro than the Oculus Rift anyway, especially with the complete HTC Vive Pro System.

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HTC VIVE Pro Virtual Reality System
  • STEAM VR 2.0 TRACKING - From seated to standing to full 22’11”’ x 22’11” room-scale. Ideal for multi-user environments for sub-millimeter tracking accuracy
  • HIGH RESOLUTION DISPLAY - Dual-OLED displays with industry leading resolution of 2880 x 1600 pixels for unparalleled visual fidelity of graphics, text, and textures
  • SPATIAL AUDIO WITH NOISE CANCELLATION - Hi-res, high impedance headphones, 3D spatial sound with active noise cancellation for an immersive experience without distractions from real-world sounds
  • MULTI-USER AND EXTENDED USE – Even weight distribution of the headset, easy on and off, and adjustments for head size, glasses and interpupillary distance (IPD) makes multi-user and extended use easier than ever
  • VIVE TRACKER ECOSYSTEM – Expand business use cases by adding real-life objects to VIVE Tracker bringing the object into your virtual simulation. Ideal for motion capture, automotive, aerospace or heavy equipment simulation.

Does The Oculus Quest 2 Work With Macs?

Facebook recently released its replacement for the Oculus Quest – the lighter more powerful Oculus Quest 2.

The Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone VR headset which means it doesn’t require a Mac or PC in order to use it. Rather it uses it’s own on board Android system to run games and apps.

Due to the lack of VR headsets that are compatible with macOS, the Oculus Quest 2 is actually a very good option for Mac users that want to enjoy VR since it doesn’t require a Mac or PC in order to work.

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3 Responses

  1. Rob

    I really don’t get why so many articles talk about needing an eGPU or just flat out saying a Mac wouldn’t be powerful enough to support VR. My iMac has much better specs than the recommended ones above. I think the confusion might be the difference between hardware and software. Using an operating system to categorize hardware specs may not be super effective. For example, I wouldn’t dream of running VR from a baseline laptop (e.g. MacBook). I think that’s also true of a baseline Dell or similar windows laptop. I was curious about running the actual Oculus software on Mac, which in short, is not supported. Most of this seems oriented around hardware though, which is a different topic. Anyway… I don’t mean to be rant-y, but even if this is an article to talk about hardware that’s best for running VR it’s not that realistic. The opening quote about a Mac Pro and the D700 card not matching recommended specs, but then below in the table of recommended specs you see other cards that aren’t as powerful. This ultimately leaves me feeling super confused to the point of writing the comment here.

    For anyone else reading this, if you’re curious about VR support, try running the free Steam app to simulate VR benchmarks. Mine were through the roof so I pulled the trigger on an Oculus to play standalone as well as my PC games in Bootcamp. So far so good!

    Reply
  2. Greg

    FWIW:
    I run my oculus quest 2 with my mac pro 2019 all the time. I do this in boot camp and also in Mac OS.
    While official support is not there in the mac OS as much as windows (for example, the oculus Windows desktop software), It is completely useful for both.

    While I am booted in the Mac, I am able to use “Immersed” and “Virtual Desktop” software that allows me to see and use the desktop from inside the quest and interact with it. With Virtual Desktop I can even do that remotely; with Immersed I can add 3 more monitors to my setup to be able to create screen real estate at a very good resolution.

    Watching VR movies is also possible if you set the mode in the browser, then use the virtual desktop software to select a video mode.

    To be honest, I barely use the windows desktop software although I keep this mac booted in windows quite a bit. However, It is absolutely critical for games such as Star Wars Squadrons. I’m sure there are other desktop based VR games with lots of hard drive data that really need that desktop/headset combination to be good.

    I agree with @rob about the mac hardware too. It’s been quite adequate for a long time and many mac users are doing eGPU setups also. Apple is always the one pushing the connection technology and Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 are more than adequate to leverage eGPU system power. But the macs are doing just fine there.

    The new ARM based Macs are running circles around everything these days. If Facebook doesn’t get on the stick, they will be glued to the low performance platform.

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      You make some good points and for sure ARM based Macs are the future of VR on Mac. In the meantime the Oculus Quest 2 is currently the best alternative to the Oculus Rift on a Mac. Thanks for sharing your experiences using it with a Mac.

      Reply

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