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OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro get first beta of Android 12

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A combined Oxygen and Color OS is here

The OnePlus 9 has a slightly smaller screen Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

Now that OnePlus is a sub-brand of the Oppo family, the two companies not only merged their R&D departments in early 2021, but they are also consolidating code for their two Android-based operating systems. While OxygenOS 12 will be used on global OnePlus phones, ColorOS 12 will only be on China-only Oppo and OnePlus phones.

Alongside the release of Android 12 to AOSP today, OnePlus is releasing the first open beta of OxygenOS 12 to the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro now, while those with older models will have to wait for a later update. Once this version is deemed stable, it is likely a full version will be released within a month, according to XDA Developers.

New Look

The new and improved OxygenOS 12 is colorful and minimalist like “James Turrell’s Light and Space artwork,” as explained in its forum post announcing this release. OxygenOS 12 shares some of the same design languages as ColorOS 12 and Android 12 by extension. All three OSes make liberal use of white space, as well as large sans-serif typography to “enhance readability and ease of use.”

OxygenOS 12 also follows the Material You aesthetic, where the new icons use simple lines, and new widgets use shapes to make information and actions more clear and accessible to a diverse group of users. Just like ColorOS 12, the OnePlus software is enhanced with more shadows and subtle gradients to give OxygenOS 12 a more premium look.

OxygenOS 12 offers three levels of Dark Mode to give you more control over your phone’s UI.
OnePlus

New Features

In addition to its new look, OxgyenOS 12 also learned some new tricks to improve your experience with OnePlus phones. If you’ve been playing with the developer preview of Android 12 on the OnePlus 9 series, you’ll be happy to know these features have made it into the open beta of OxygenOS 12:

  • Private Safe: This feature isolates sensitive files to a secured part of your phone, where you can safely store and protect specific photos, videos, audios, and documents.
  • Updated OnePlus Shelf & OnePlus Scout: The handy Shelf has been enhanced with even more widgets: from notes, step counting, weather, to the calculator, according to XDA Developers. You can even search for anything on your phone using OnePlus Scout, which is now part of the Shelf.
  • Zen Mode & World Life Balance 2.0: First popularized by OnePlus’ Indian users, both modes help you manage work-life balance by separating your personal and work accounts. You can set up different profiles with different Wi-Fi networks, with different app notifications and messages depending on the time of day.
  • Dark Mode: This lets you choose between three levels of dark mode.
  • Note app: This updated app now lets you doodle as well as type out your thoughts.
  • Canvas AOD 2.0: The app lets that you create a wireframe image on your lockscreen, based on your wallpaper, is back with more functionality. It now includes more brushes and lines for you to use, as well as more photos and effects available to support your artistic vision.

It’s possible that this is the end of the road for OxygenOS, as the two companies could more fully integrate their software into one, rather than maintain two OSes. If that’s the case, OnePlus will hopefully be able to bring some of its most popular features like the Canvas AOD 2.0 and Work Life Balance 2.0 mode to future ColorOS updates.

If you have a OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro and want to try out this open beta of OxygenOS 12, then head to OnePlus’ community forum page to download it onto your computer, and follow the instructions to install the software onto your OnePlus phone.

Update, 7:30AM, October 5th, 2021: Updated download link to new location for the update.