The new features of the Android 12 update from OnePlus at your fingertips


Android Authority

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

At the end of September, OnePlus threw a huge bomb on smartphone fans: Starting with Oxygen OS 12 based on Android 12, the company would combine its Oxygen OS Android skin with the skin of its sister brand Oppo. This new “unified OS” does not yet have a final name. All we knew at the time was that OnePlus wanted to get the most out of every Android skin to make something new and better.

With the very first Oxygen OS 12 beta out now, we finally have an idea of ​​what the unified operating system might look like, at least as far as OnePlus phones go. While we save our comment for the end of this article, we can summarize it quite succinctly for you: It’s Oppos Color OS, but a bit stripped down.

Let’s dive into the first beta of Oxygen OS 12 and see what’s going on. Please note, however, that this is the first beta of this software. All of the things we cover here could change before a stable start, so don’t take any of them as gospel yet.

If you want to find out how to go down

Revision of the user interface of Oxygen OS 12

Oxygen OS 12 beta home screen

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When you first boot into Oxygen OS 12, you get a very familiar setup process like Oxygen OS 11. However, when you land on your home screen, die-hard fans of the OnePlus skin will immediately notice that something is wrong.

The biggest change here is the icons. By default, they now have the shape of rounded squares instead of the circles OnePlus fans have become accustomed to. The good news is that if you don’t like it, you can easily customize them. You can stick to the basic formats or even use “ART +” to fully customize the shape and appearance of the icons. Color OS fans will be very familiar with this as it is basically the same system that appears on Oppo phones. Get ready because that’s what we’re going to say a lot in this article.

If you long press an empty space on the home screen, you will find the new personalization editor. In the screenshot above, notice that the “Background Images” icon in the lower left is not formatted correctly. This is probably because I use OnePlus Sans as the font throughout (you have a choice between this one or Roboto when you set up the phone). This will likely be fixed in the stable version. Anyway, after a long press you can change all sorts of things on the home screen. This new system, in turn, is borrowed directly from Color OS.

Throughout the phone, the UI elements are replicated either unchanged from Android or from Color OS. OnePlus fans will likely take some time to get used to it.

Related: A history of every OnePlus phone so far

New optimizations in dark mode

Oxygen OS 12 Beta Dark Mode customization

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Since the introduction of a dark mode, OnePlus has given users the option to tweak it. However, this ability is greatly expanded in Oxygen OS 12. You can now choose between three different types of Dark Mode: Enhanced, Medium and Gentle. The enhanced mode is a “real” dark mode, ie the dark parts of the display are actually black. This creates a very high-contrast viewing experience.

At the other end of the spectrum we have Gentle Dark Mode, which turns the real black aspects of the display into a dark gray. This makes things less contrasty but still easier on the eyes than a non-dark mode. Obviously, the middle setting strikes a balance between Enhanced and Soft.

Dark mode fans will appreciate the control OnePlus gives you here.

In addition to these three modes, you can also toggle other aspects of your phone’s appearance. You can have the contrast automatically adjusted based on the ambient light sensor, and you can also adjust wallpapers and icons to match dark mode.

Other Android skins out there have dark modes, and Android even has one built in. However, OnePlus gives you a level of control that you rarely see here, which is beautiful. The only other skin that offers this level of customizability is Color OS, which – you guessed it – has the exact same system.

Hide private safes and apps

Oxygen OS 12 Beta Private Safe

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Private Safe is a new feature in OnePlus phones, but the company has been removing it from Color OS slap by slice. Basically, Private Safe offers you a place where you can safely store pictures, videos, documents and other data. You have to go through a number of setup steps before you can use it, but once you do it’s easy to keep things safe from prying eyes.

The new data protection suite also offers the option of hiding applications so that it replaces OnePlus’ own hidden space function. The new Hide Apps system works just like Hidden Space. First, choose which apps you want to hide. Then when you want to access those apps, just swipe left while in the app drawer. There you will see your hidden apps collected.

‘Inventive’ wallpapers

Oxygen OS 12 Beta Inventive wallpapers

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Oxygen OS 12 doesn’t include Material You’s automatic adjustment features that Google developed for Android 12 (at least not yet). However, OnePlus gives you the option to create unique wallpapers based on images you find online or take with you.

Related: Standard wallpapers from 90+ Android devices

To get started, just click the inventive wallpaper icon in the usual wallpaper settings. There you can take or upload a photo. The software analyzes this photo and turns it into a unique abstract design. Once you’ve customized it to your liking, you can set it as your wallpaper.

Again, this feature is taken directly by Color OS, although it has been repainted to differentiate it a little from what Oppo has to offer.

Oxygen OS 12 manager for the final tasks

Oxygen OS 12 beta current task manager

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

You have been able to “lock” apps within Oxygen OS for years. This will prevent the apps from completely closing the storage even if you delete all the apps at once. The idea is that locking apps that you use all the time will help them start up faster as they will never actually close.

Fortunately, this feature survives in Oxygen OS 12. In fact, a new section on Current To Do Manager has been added to it, which gives you an up-to-date list of all blocked and unblocked apps. This is a welcome change as it eliminates the need to use the apps switcher to lock / unlock apps as needed.

Of course, locking too many apps in memory can cause problems. So try to curb your ambitions to suit your phone’s capabilities.


Oxygen OS 12 Beta Scout Search

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Scout isn’t actually a new feature as OnePlus phones in India have had it for a while. However, the universal search engine feature is now included in the actual Oxygen OS 12, so it should (in theory) come on all OnePlus phones, not just those in India.

See also: All the major new features of Android 12

Interestingly, Scout is similar to the search function on the device, which is now built into Android 12 itself. It gives you the ability to search for apps, documents, pictures, etc. all over your device. On OnePlus phones, Scout lives in Shelf, the company’s aggregator for various smartphone functions. Confusingly, Android 12 has this feature in the app drawer, but in the first beta of Oxygen OS 12, the search section of the app drawer only searches apps and nothing else.

It is possible for OnePlus to move Scout to the app drawer, but we doubt it would. It’s more likely that it’s just using the built-in feature that Google has in Android 12 for the app drawer search bar, and then its own proprietary system in Shelf.

New canvas AOD optimizations

Oxygen OS 12 Beta Canvas AOD Customization Personalization

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Since OnePlus didn’t offer an always-on display (AOD) at all until the OnePlus 8 series, it still refines the experience. With Oxygen OS 11, the company introduced Canvas AOD, which creates a wire “drawing” of a photo that you can then use as the background for your AOD.

Canvas AOD 2.0 gives you more control over how your wireframe looks.

In Oxygen OS 12, this system receives a number of new optimizations. You can change the color and style of the wire lines, and those lines will be more accurate and detailed than before. Interestingly, the super cool make-your-own AOD tool offered on Color OS 11 hasn’t been ported to Oxygen OS 12. However, judging by the rest of the features here, it is only a matter of time.

Oxygen OS 12 Beta: Release Date, Eligibility, and First Impressions

Oxygen OS 12 Beta Never Settle Widget

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Anyone who worried that the OnePlus / Oppo integration would lead to the death of Oxygen OS can now blurt out a smug “I told you”. While this first beta of Oxygen OS 12 is rough and undoubtedly misses a lot of the features OnePlus fans have come to expect, at its core it’s clearly not Oxygen OS. Instead, it’s Color OS and OnePlus isn’t even making a big try to fix it, so it doesn’t seem like it is.

Some people get along with it, of course. Some may even appreciate the “new” look. OnePlus fans in the US, in particular, might like this as they haven’t really had the option to use Color OS before. It’ll feel fresh to them.

Continued comment: OnePlus’ oppo-ification has been completed

Oxygen OS purists won’t like Oxygen OS 12, however. Unless OnePlus makes drastic changes here, it looks like the original feel of Oxygen OS that already percolated into Oxygen OS 11 has almost completely disappeared in this new version. This forces fans either not to upgrade to Android 12 or to use custom ROMs or other tricks to replicate the system they have become accustomed to.

When OnePlus announced “OnePlus 2.0,” we knew things were going to change. Well, there is no question where this shift is going.

Those who would like to download the Oxygen OS 12 beta to try it out for themselves can do so starting today – read our article here for more information. Currently, 13 devices are eligible for the Open Beta of Oxygen OS 12. There’s no word on an official stable release date for Oxygen OS 12, but considering that Oxygen OS 11 hit the market a month after its first beta, it’s fair to expect it to at least get the OnePlus in the next month or so 9 series will achieve.

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