One of the less talked about features on Samsung's Gear VR is the passthrough camera. It allows you to use a camera and see your actual surroundings, which can be handy in a pinch. Some apps are even starting to use that camera for some fun new features. If you haven't been able to find it, or flat out didn't know it existed, we've got the details on how to get to it.

The real world through a camera

Opening up the passthrough camera easy once you know where to look. Press and hold the back button on the right of your headset to open up the Oculus Settings menu. On the bottom right of this menu is the utilities icon, which shows up with a wrench. Tap utilities, and another menu will open up.

At the bottom of this menu you'll see an icon that looks like a headset, by tapping on it you can launch the passthrough camera. When you launch it, you'll be able to see your real-world surroundings through the camera on your Gear VR. this is activating the camera on your phone, and showing you the viewfinder though the VR headset. While it is an easy way to check out the world around you, the first time you use the camera can be quite disorienting.

You'll only be able to see a small square in front of you,because you are seeing through a camera. This means no peripheral vision and since the camera is on the far left of your face you aren't looking at things from the center of your head which takes some getting used to It can be helpful in a pinch, and you can actually jump to the menu while inside a game or app.

When you're ready to return to VR, it's just as easy. You'll see a small white box in the middle of your screen. Focus on it, and tap, and you'll be launched back into the menu you came from.

Step by Step instructions

  1. Open Oculus home on your Gear VR
  2. Hold the back button until the menu launches
  3. Go to Utilities. It's the last icon on the right.
  4. Go to passthrough camera, it will be the icon on the bottom of your screen
  5. When you're done focus on the middle of your screen where it says 'turn off camera' and tap. This will bring you back to the menu.