6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Update to OxygenOS 12 on Your OnePlus Phone

OnePlus has not been winning many plaudits lately following all the questionable changes it has brought about in OxygenOS. If in case you haven’t yet updated your phone to OxygenOS 12, we suggest holding off for now.

After transitioning from OxygenOS 11 to 12 and being subjected to bugs, inconsistencies, and general disappointments firsthand, we are here to share six reasons why you should avoid updating your OnePlus phone to OxygenOS 12.


1. Inconsistent UI

OxygenOS had already been departing away from the look and feel of stock Android little by little even before the merger between OnePlus and Oppo was announced. However, nothing can prepare you for the complete overhaul that OxygenOS 12 brings, and we say that not in a good way.

While you can recognize the familiarities of OxygenOS in areas like the quick settings, most other UI elements have been swapped with those of ColorOS. It would’ve been completely fine by us if OnePlus had just embraced the Oppo-fication in its entirety instead of pushing out a half-baked version that can neither be called OxygenOS nor ColorOS.

Once again, the problem isn’t the redesign, it’s the inconsistencies that you notice while gliding through the user interface that bothers us.

2. The Launcher Is a Downgrade

If there was one thing that OxygenOS was always praised for, it had to be the simple yet highly customizable launcher. Allowing for small tweaks like being able to swap icon packs, edit individual app names and icons, and change the grid size, all contributed to a great personalized experience.

OxygenOS 12 comes with a new launcher which is easily the biggest disappointment in the entire update. First off, there is a lot of added friction while interacting with elements on the home screen and accessing the app drawer.

You can no longer edit individual app icons or uninstall them directly from the home screen. Even removing them has now become a two-step process instead of being able to drag them towards the Remove label like before.

OxygenOS now handles privacy and hidden apps a lot differently than it used to. You can no longer simply swipe right in the app drawer to access the hidden apps. Instead, you’re supposed to open the phone app and enter a secret pin which then unlocks a folder containing the hidden apps.

3. No Real Material You Theme Engine

The hype around the Material You theme support in Android 12 seems to be of no avail for OnePlus users. While OxygenOS 12 technically does support dynamic colors in certain Google apps, the UI simply doesn’t take any advantage of Material You.

Most UI elements have remained untouched from previous versions of OxygenOS and ColorOS despite Google really going all out with redesigns in the lock screen, quick toggles, and other areas in Android 12.

Early beta builds of OxygenOS 13 for the OnePlus 10 Pro seem to incorporate the dynamic colors more prominently. For now, Android 12 on OnePlus phones seems like an under-the-hood upgrade at best.

4. Mysterious Hardware Issues

Quite a few OnePlus users have reported hardware issues with their phones after updating to OxygenOS 12. While there is still no good explanation for this abnormal behavior, it’s just another reason to stay away from an update that OnePlus itself hasn’t fully figured out yet.

Most of the users have taken it to the forums or social media and have been complaining about a green line running down their phone’s screens. This is as confusing as it is scary and going by the unlucky pattern, tapping that update button seems risky.

5. Poor Battery Optimization

Although performance as a whole seems to have improved in OxygenOS 12, it seems to come at the expense of faster battery drain. Shifting to an Android version upgrade always takes a toll on battery optimization due to the plethora of new features. However, it seems like battery optimization with OxygenOS 12 is just poor even weeks after updating.

Certain apps have been draining the battery in the background for no apparent reason. A few users have reported improved battery results after factory resetting their phones post-update, although that’s certainly not what most users would be willing to do.

6. Better Promises With OxygenOS 13

Although OnePlus is no longer the community-driven enthusiast startup it once was, the backlash towards OxygenOS 12 seems to have worked in pushing OnePlus to call off the unified OS merger with Oppo.

In a community post, OnePlus claimed that it would be going back to the basics with OxygenOS 13. While it’s clear that Oppo still has its share of influence on OnePlus, it is almost certain that the next version of OxygenOS will simply be better. So if you do have a OnePlus phone that’s set to receive the OxygenOS 13 update in the future, we highly recommend you roll with OxygenOS 11 in the meantime.

Why You Probably Should Update to OxygenOS 12 Anyway

All that said, while there are good reasons to avoid installing the OxygenOS 12 update, you might want to ignore our advice anyway. Hear us out. Although it’s completely possible to live with an older version of Android, it comes at the expense of being on an outdated security patch level and not seeing the light of new features.

OxygenOS 11 runs atop Android 11, which still works well with apps and services, so compatibility issues aren’t of any major concern. If you own a relatively newer OnePlus phone that has been promised to receive the OxygenOS 13 update, you might as well just hold the updates off.

However, in case you own a phone that stops receiving software support at OxygenOS 12, your options are quite limited. You could either compromise on features and security and stick with OxygenOS 11, or just pull the trigger and enjoy newer features at the expense of a slightly worse user experience.

It’s Not All Bad if You’ve Already Updated

We do realize that taming your excitement and holding off on a major Android update seems strenuous. If you’ve already updated your phone to OxygenOS 12 or just really want to do it, it’s not all that bad.

Despite its downsides, OxygenOS 12 still manages to bring a bunch of useful features to OnePlus phones.

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