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


OxygenOS 13 has brought about an overall improvement in terms of design, performance, and features. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for its predecessor, OxygenOS 12. Certain aged flagships and many of the devices in the Nord series have only recently started receiving the OxygenOS 12 update, almost a year after it was first announced.

Nonetheless, we suggest holding off from updating to OxygenOS 12 for the time being.

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—which is exactly what it has done with OxygenOS 13.

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 onto the Remove label like before.

Hiding apps in OxygenOS 12 is an entirely different process than it used to be. 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

Android 12 vs OxygenOS 12 Material You colors in quick toggles menu

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.

OxygenOS 13 hasn’t really solved this issue either but is a bit more generous in terms of sprinkling the accent color derived from the wallpaper you choose. 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.

Under certain conditions, OnePlus has acknowledged this problem and has been providing a free screen replacement to those facing this issue on their phones.

5. Poor Battery Optimization

Battery usage graph in OxygenOS 12

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. OxygenOS 13 Is a Whole Lot Better

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. This, however, went completely south, and OxygenOS 13 was launched with no visually distinctive traits to ColorOS 13.

Despite feeling indistinguishable from Oppo’s software, OxygenOS 13 tackled nearly everything that went wrong with its previous iteration. You’ll find a genuinely useful list of features in OxygenOS 13, a cleaner, more consistent interface, and better performance.

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

Why you should or shouldn't update to OxygenOS 12

With 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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