OnePlus phones are quite popular in India’s affordable upper mid-range flagship market. Aside from the fact that the OnePlus phones have great hardware, a key factor in the brand’s phones is their clean software experience through OxygenOS. Packed with features, but minimal where it needs to be, OxygenOS is further improved with quick updates.
However, like most Android software updates across all brands, OxygenOS updates are rolled out in batches as well. This allows the brand to test the new software for critical bugs in a small number of users, before rolling it out to the masses. But what if you like living on the edge and want to be among the first to try those new system updates? That’s where Oxygen Updater comes in. Here are some quick details.
Surname: Oxygen Updater
Availability: Android (for OnePlus phones only)
Price: Free (ad-free version will cost Rs 99)
Oxygen Updater allows you to manually download the official system update files, be it full Android version updates or smaller security patch updates. With support for all OnePlus phones and different installation methods, including additional benefits for rooted users, we tested Oxygen Updater for a few weeks and this is what we think.
Easy to understand interface
Oxygen Updater has a clean user in line with the OxygenOS design language, almost making the third-party app feel like part of OxygenOS, well, OxygenOS 10 to be precise. Setting up Oxygen Updater is a breeze, regardless of which OnePlus phone you have. The app is compatible with all phones, from the first OnePlus One to the recent Nord N10. We tested the app with our OnePlus Nord.
Once the app has shown you its capabilities and has automatically selected your device, it will also ask if you have a rooted device. The increased compatibility with root access phones will allow the application to automate some of the subsequent steps. However, it also works fine without root access.
Once set up, the neat tabs at the bottom include your main screen, where new updates will appear, and your device screen, where you can get all the information you need about your own phone. There is also a dedicated News tab that features only OnePlus related news.
Finally, a settings tab allows you to modify some minor changes. The app features ads at the bottom, but thankfully, they’re not the annoying page-scaling type. Regardless, you can go ad-free with a one-time purchase of Rs 99.
Every time a new update is released for your OnePlus phone, the application gets the exact update file for your phone, immediately after OnePlus has made it official. These update files are the same files that are downloaded when you choose the normal way to update your system.
Oxygen Updater also claims that these manual update files are authentic and have not been tampered with. Here’s an excerpt from the app’s FAQ section.
Ask: Can I verify if the downloaded update is authentic?
Answer: The oxygen updater does this automatically. The application server gets the MD5 checksum from the OnePlus file. This takes place when importing the update, just before receiving an automatic notification of the update. When you use the application, the application gets the MD5 checksum from the application server over a secure connection. When downloading, the file is verified by this checksum. If the file has been tampered with or was incomplete, an error will be displayed and the file will be removed from your device.
Depending on whether you chose incremental updates or full zip updates, the file size of the download could range from less than 100MB to approximately 3GB. The type of update (small security patch update, large Android system update) also determines the size of the download.
Once the files are downloaded, the app will let you know what to do next in a series of instructions. These involve manually heading to the System Updates section and choosing the downloaded file to install manually as an update.
After that, restart your phone and the update is installed.
Support for OnePlus Open Beta builds
Oxygen Updater also supports open beta build cycles for OnePlus phones. While this is not for everyone, those who use the official open beta on their OnePlus phones to test major new updates weeks or months in advance will find the feature very useful.
Just like you can choose between full and incremental stable builds, you can also choose full or incremental beta builds as your download type in settings. Once you do that, you will be notified for beta updates instead of stable updates, and the installation procedure remains the same.
Note that OnePlus allows you to go from stable builds to beta without losing your data, but going back to stable builds from beta builds will require you to format your internal storage, causing everything to wipe out.
Is Oxygen Updater For You?
If you’re someone who doesn’t mind being the first to receive system updates when they’re available, Oxygen Updater might not be thrilling. However, if you like to experience newer software at launch, OnePlus Updater could be a boon for you. You will always be one of the first people to try a new update without signing up for some beta programs.
The app also eliminates the dreaded waiting period until you receive the OTA notification because as soon as the update is released, you will likely have it in the app the same day. Oxygen Updater is also quite useful for content creators and testers who can use it to test the latest OxygenOS builds, both stable and beta, before anyone else.
The risks associated with software problems or bugs in a new build of OxygenOS still exist, as the application simply provides you with the files that OnePlus has released; testing it for errors is up to you, the user. Also, unless you know what you are doing, it is best to stay away from open beta versions, which have a higher probability of having bugs.
Trash or pass?
All things considered, Oxygen Updater is a solid addition to your app arsenal if you’re a OnePlus device enthusiast. We tested the app for a few weeks, using it to update our OnePlus Nord from OxygenOS 10.5.10 to 10.5.11, and then to the stable version of OxygenOS 11 for OnePlus Nord. Our experience was smooth, easy, and seamless. While its target audience may be a small portion of OnePlus users, it does what it does best and, so far, without a hitch. The app receives a solid pass from us.