Updated: March 11, 2021 7:13:34 pm
OnePlus phones are pretty popular in India’s upper mid-range and affordable-flagship market. Apart from the fact that OnePlus phones pack great hardware, a key factor in the brand’s phones is its clean software experience via OxygenOS. Feature-packed, yet minimal where it needs to be, OxygenOS is made even better by quick updates.
However, like most Android software updates across brands, OxygenOS updates are also rolled out in batches. This allows the brand to test new software for critical bugs on a small number of users, before rolling it out to the masses. But what if you like to live on the edge and want to be amongst the first to try out those new system updates? That’s where Oxygen Updater comes in. Here are a few quick details.
Name: Oxygen Updater
Availability: Android (Only for OnePlus phones)
Price: Free (ad-free version will cost Rs 99)
Oxygen Updater allows you to manually download official system update files, be it entire Android version updates, or smaller security patch updates. With support for all OnePlus phones and different installation methods, including extra perks for rooted users, we tried Oxygen Updater for a few weeks and here’s what we think.
Oxygen Updater has a clean user in line with the OxygenOS design language, almost making the third-party app feel like a part of OxygenOS, well, OxygenOS 10 to be precise. Setting up Oxygen Updater is a breeze irrespective of what OnePlus Phone you have. The app supports all phones from the first OnePlus One to the recent Nord N10. We tried the app out with our OnePlus Nord.
Once the app has shown you its capabilities and auto-selected your device, it will also ask you if you have a rooted device. Increased compatibility with root access phones will allow the app to automate a few of the subsequent steps. However, it works just fine without root access as well.
Once set up, neat tabs on the bottom include your main screen, where any new updates will pop up and the device screen, where you can get all the info you need about your own phone. There is also a dedicated News tab that features only OnePlus-related news.
Finally, a settings tab lets you tweak some more minor changes. The app does feature ads on the bottom, but thankfully, they’re not the annoying, page-scaling kind. Regardless, you can go ad-free with a one-time purchase of Rs 99.
Every time a new update for your OnePlus phone is released, the app sources 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 your normal system update way.
Oxygen Updater also claims these manual update files are authentic and not tampered with. Here’s an extract from the app’s FAQs section.
Question: Can I verify if the downloaded update is authentic?
Response: Oxygen updater does this automatically for you. The app server obtains the MD5 checksum of the file from OnePlus. This takes place when importing the update, right before you receive a push notification of it. When you use the app, the app obtains the MD5 checksum from the app server using a secure connection. When downloading, the file is verified using this checksum. If the file has been tampered with or was incomplete, an error will be shown and the file will be deleted from your device.
Depending on whether you chose incremental updates or full-zip updates, the file size of the download could be anywhere from less than 100MB to about 3GB. What kind of update (small security patch update, large Android system update) also determines the download size.
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 your downloaded file to manually install it as an update.
Following that, you restart your phone and the update is installed.
Support for OnePlus Open Beta builds
Oxygen Updater also supports OnePlus phones’ open beta build cycles. While this isn’t for everyone, those who use the official open beta builds on their OnePlus phones to try out new major updates weeks or months ahead of time will find the feature very handy.
Just like you can choose between incremental and full stable builds, you can also choose incremental or full beta builds as your type of download in the 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 to beta builds without losing your data, but coming back to stable builds from beta builds will require you to format your internal storage, leading to everything being erased.
Is Oxygen Updater for you?
If you’re someone who doesn’t care about being the first to receive system updates when they’re out, Oxygen Updater might not excite you. However, if you do like experiencing newer software the moment it is released, OnePlus Updater could be a boon for you. You will always be one of the first people to try out any new update without needing to sign up for some beta programme.
The app also eliminates the dreaded waiting period until you get the OTA notification because as soon as the update is out, you’ll likely have it on the app on the same day. Oxygen Updater is also pretty handy for content creators and testers who can use it to try the latest OxygenOS builds, both stable and beta, before anyone else.
The risks associated with software issues or bugs on a new OxygenOS build are still there since the app simply gets you the files that OnePlus has released; testing it for bugs is up to you, the user. Further, unless you know what you’re doing, its best to stay away from the open beta builds, which have a higher probability of being buggy.
Trash or Pass?
All aspects considered, Oxygen Updater is a solid addition to your arsenal of apps if you’re an enthusiast with a OnePlus device. We tried the app for a few weeks, using it to upgrade our OnePlus Nord from OxygenOS 10.5.10 to 10.5.11, and later to the stable OxygenOS 11 build for the OnePlus Nord. Our experience was smooth, easy and free of any hiccups. While its target audience might be a small portion of OnePlus users, it does what it does best, and so far, flawlessly. The app gets a solid pass from us.
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