Update, September 8, 2020 (4:00 PM ET): Today, Google launched the stable version of Android 11. At the same time, OnePlus pushed out the first open beta for Oxygen OS 11. Read on to find out how you can give it a try!
Original article, August 20, 2020 (5:00 AM ET): For months, OnePlus has been teasing Oxygen OS 11, the next version of its Android skin. Compared to some of the company’s past software releases, Oxygen OS 11 is a significant update.
We don’t yet know when the stable version of Oxygen OS 11 will make its way to OnePlus phones. However, we do have a good idea of what we can expect, including a UI overhaul and some long-awaited features.
See also: The best OnePlus phones
Below we break down all the new Oxygen OS 11 features and details you need to know ahead of the rollout.
Oxygen OS 11 features
For better or worse, Oxygen OS 11 marks a significant departure from the company’s past design ethos. The new software has more in common with Samsung’s One UI than stock Android. Throughout the operating system, there are more design flourishes than in past years. A significant component of the updated interface is the new OnePlus Sans font, which the company says increases readability.
The good news is that OnePlus has also redesigned the interface to make it easier to use with one hand. These new designs run throughout the entire operating system, but it’s most apparent in Settings. There you’ll find more space between each menu item. In a recent blog post detailing the changes, OnePlus says it employed user test data like a heat map to formulate the ideal size for text elements across Oxygen OS 11.
Elsewhere, you’ll notice that the company’s design team has tweaked the location of some navigation buttons and other interface elements.
OnePlus is finally adding an always-on display feature to its phones. The headline Oxygen OS 11 feature for many, this is something the company’s fans have been wanting for a while. Now that it’s almost here, what’s most interesting to us is how OnePlus has managed to do something a bit different with the feature.
Opinion: Give me a great software skin over stock Android any day
By now, most people have a good idea of how always-on displays work. They allow you to check things like the time and if you have any notifications without fully waking your phone’s screen. Time — one of 11 always-on display designs you can choose between in Oxygen OS 11 — goes a step further and allows you to check how many times you’ve unlocked your device throughout the day. The phone plots each unlock on a timeline that cuts down through the middle of the display.
If you don’t want your phone to remind you how much you use it each time you pick it up, you can instead choose between multiple digital and analog clock designs. If none of those appeal to you — or you want to push out extra battery life from your phone — you can continue using OnePlus’ existing Ambient Display functionality.
Improved dark mode
Oxygen OS 11 will introduce several tweaks to OnePlus’ existing Dark Mode. To make different interface elements more legible and easier to differentiate when Dark Mode is active, OnePlus has tweaked the feature to make use of more dark gray hues.
The update will also support Dark Mode scheduling. This will allow you to configure the feature to turn on and off automatically, depending on the time of day. You’ll also have the option to quickly toggle Dark Mode from the Quick Settings menu, which you can access by pulling down the notification shade.
A new interface wouldn’t be complete without matching redesigned apps, and OnePlus has also updated most of its first-party software with new features. For instance, the built-in Gallery app includes functionality that will automatically create weekly stories using photos and videos you shot over the past seven days. Meanwhile, Zen Mode features three new themes and a new group feature.
The Weather app has gotten some attention as well. Its new interface puts a greater emphasis on the current day, with important information front-and-center, such as precipitation predictions.
Oxygen OS 11 builds on the features of Android 11. This means many of the same enhancements launched with the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system will also make their way over to Oxygen OS. There are quite a few tweaks, so check out our breakdown of the best Android 11 features to get a better sense of what’s on the way.
Oxygen OS 11 release date and availability
Oxygen OS 11 is now in the open beta stage. That means anyone with a OnePlus 8 or OnePlus 8 Pro can give it a shot. You can find the official changelog as well as installation instructions over at OnePlus’ official forums.
OnePlus hasn’t officially commented on when it plans to release a stable version of Oxygen OS 11 to its full portfolio. However, based on its usual software upgrade timeline, Oxygen OS 11 should be on most of its recent devices before the end of 2020. The update will almost certainly hit OnePlus’ core markets such as the US, India, the UK, and selected regions of Europe.
Read more: OnePlus phones: A history of the company’s entire lineup so far
It’s very likely the final Oxygen OS 11 stable build will first roll out to current flagships before becoming available on older devices. That means we can expect the company to update the OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 8 first. The new budget phone, the OnePlus Nord, and older devices like the OnePlus 7 Pro should follow shortly thereafter.
There’s also a strong possibility that the OnePlus 8T could launch with Oxygen OS 11 out-of-the-box.
Eligible Oxygen OS 11 update phones
OnePlus hasn’t announced which devices it plans to update with the stable launch of Oxygen OS 11, but its update policy offers useful guidance. In 2018, OnePlus committed to providing its phones with 24 months of platform updates. Per that policy, OnePlus will likely update the following devices to Oxygen OS 11:
- 2020 — OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro
- 2020 — OnePlus Nord
- 2019 — OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro
- 2019 — OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro
- 2018 — OnePlus 6 and 6T
Although it’s not out-of-the-question until OnePlus confirms it, it is almost certain that the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T won’t see Oxygen OS 11.
We’ll update this article as more details about Oxygen OS 11 come out. In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you like the way the latest Oxygen OS upgrade is shaping up.