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Improving the Usability of your Ouya

2013-06-20

I've been using my Ouya for a few days – playing around, downloading from Discover, sideloading, and so on. During this time, I figured out a few simple ways to greatly improve the usability of your Ouya.

Increase the font size
Since the Ouya was built for the television, I found it slightly odd that the menu text takes up very little of the screen.

Look at that tiny text.

To correct this, navigate to Manage > System > Advanced > Scroll down to Accessibility (if the system asks you to install Voice Control, select No) > Select Large Text.

Much better!

Disable background processes
Over time, the Ouya will leave some games "backgrounded" (suspended in memory). This can sometimes lead to performance issues, which are bad on a game console. One way to fix this is to manually kill background processes. This can be achieved by navigating to Manage > System > Advanced > Apps > Select an app > Select Force Stop.

The force stop view.

This is a good temporary fix; however, a more permanent solution is usually optimal. Navigate to Manage > System > Advanced > Developer Options > Scroll down to Background process limit > Select None (or At most 1).

Limiting background processes.

Install a file manager optimized for controller operation
One of the fastest and easiest ways to facilitate sideloading is to install a file manager that works well with a controller. ES File Explorer (Play Store link) is one such manager.

ES File Explorer's default interface.

You have two options to install ES File Explorer: You can install it from one of the Ouya-friendly app stores (Amazon and SlideME, for example), or you can sideload the app directly. To sideload an app directly, follow my guide. You can download the *.apk file from the SlideME page I linked earlier. Once the manager has been installed, access it through Make > Software > ES File Explorer.

ES File Explorer in the Software menu.

One of the best features of ES File Explorer is its built-in FTP client: Once activated, you can upload any file straight onto the Ouya from any other computer. ROMs, apps to sideload, patches, whatever. These can all be uploaded via FTP. To activate the FTP server, navigate to Tools > Remote Manager. There, the app will give you the IP and port to plug into your FTP client.

The ES File Explorer FTP server.

Install an Ouya-friendly alternate app store
In the entry above, I mentioned SlideME and the Amazon App Store. Both of these can be sideloaded with little to no difficulty. They can be downloaded from the appropriate Web pages:

Refer to my sideloading guide for more information.

The Amazon App Store.

 

SlideME.

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