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Here's how to update OnePlus software as quickly as possible

Tired of waiting days or even weeks to get that OnePlus update notification? Here's how to update OnePlus phones ASAP!

Published onJuly 19, 2019

If you own a OnePlus phone such as the OnePlus 7 Pro, you may already know OnePlus has a strong software update team — OnePlus’ latest devices usually receive the latest features and security patches within a few weeks of them rolling out to Google Pixel phones. However, in some cases, those updates can still take a while to get to you, so you might be wondering how to update OnePlus software as soon as it lands.

Usually, OnePlus posts an official announcement of a new update to Oxygen OS — its proprietary Android skin that appears on all its phones — and then incrementally rolls out that update. Because of this system, you might receive an update notification on your phone days or even weeks after the software actually launches.

Luckily, it’s easy to update OnePlus smartphones with the latest version of Oxygen OS without needing to wait for the company to push the notification to you. It takes a little extra effort on your part, but if you’re the type of person who wants the latest updates immediately, you should know how to do it.

How to update OnePlus software: The basics

OnePlus 7 display

Before we get into the steps, we need to get some essential info out of the way as it pertains to OnePlus updates.

First off, this guide on how to update OnePlus software is focused on non-carrier versions of OnePlus smartphones. In other words, if you bought your OnePlus device from T-Mobile or another carrier instead of from OnePlus directly or another standard retailer, this guide won’t work for you. The updates for carrier-branded smartphones come from the carrier instead of the OEM, so you need to wait for the carrier to push the update. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this (unless you flash over your device, which you can do with certain phones).

How to install OxygenOS beta on your OnePlus device

Secondly, this guide assumes you have a completely unmodified version of an unlocked OnePlus smartphone. That means you are not rooted, you didn’t unlock your bootloader, you’re not running custom recovery software such as TWRP, and you’re not using a custom ROM (even if it’s based on Oxygen OS). If you’ve made any of these types of modifications, this guide may not work for you.

Finally, as with anything you do as far as tinkering with your device goes, Android Authority can make no guarantees this guide will work for you. Chances are very, very good that everything will go as expected if you follow the instructions below to the letter, but there’s always the chance that something could go wrong. Stay safe and always backup your files!

Now, let’s get into how to update OnePlus software.

The hard way

OnePlus 7

The basic steps to manually update OnePlus smartphones are pretty straightforward:

  • Download the software manually
  • Perform a local upgrade via system settings
  • Reboot
OxygenOS: 6 features you need to know about
OnePlus 7 Pro screen in front of fire

The first step is the most difficult. How do you find the software? OnePlus does not post incremental updates to its support forums or its website. It will eventually publish the latest version of Oxygen OS to its update hub, but that will be a full download, i.e. a 1GB+ file rather than the much smaller OTA update. You’ll also need to wait for days or weeks before the company gets around to posting it, which is what you’re trying to avoid.

Even if you do end up finding an OTA download, how do you know the download is the right one for your phone? How do you know that software hasn’t been corrupted in some way? It’s a tricky proposition.

If you can find a download you feel confident about, follow the steps below:

  • Save the ZIP package to the root of your OnePlus smartphone’s storage (i.e., not in a folder such as Downloads, for example).
  • Open Settings and head to System > System updates.
  • Tap the gear icon in the upper right corner.
  • Tap on Local upgrade.
  • You should see the ZIP file you downloaded. If you don’t, you need to move it to the root directory. Do so and repeat these steps if that’s the case.
  • Tap the ZIP file and allow Oxygen OS to install it.
  • You’ll get a notification that you need to reboot once it’s done installing, which you should do by hitting the button.
  • Your phone will reboot. Once it’s done, you’ll be on the latest version of Oxygen OS.
  • To check your current version, head to Settings > About phone and check your build number.

If you can’t find the latest update package or feel too nervous about downloading strange software from a source that isn’t OnePlus, don’t worry: there’s an easy, safe way to do this.

The easy way

OnePlus 7 Pro vs OnePlus 6T upright on table (2)

Luckily, there’s a simple way to update OnePlus phones with the latest Oxygen OS software without needing to search online for a ZIP package: the app Oxygen Updater. This third-party (read: not officially sanctioned by OnePlus) application downloads the latest Oxygen OS updates for you and gives you explicit instructions on how to install them on your device.

Oxygen Updater is free and ad-supported, although you can spend a tiny bit of cash to remove the ads if you wish.

OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro finally get stable Android 12 with Oxygen OS 12
OnePlus 7 Pro cameras with logo

Best of all, Oxygen Updater downloads fully-signed update packages directly from OnePlus. There’s almost no chance that the software packages will be corrupted, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the right software for your specific device.

To get started with Oxygen Updater, download it onto your OnePlus phone by visiting its listing on the Google Play Store.

Once you’ve installed the app, open it and follow the instructions below:

  • You’ll be presented with a welcome page when you first open the app. Read each page and swipe to the left until you get to the “Choose your device” page.
  • On the “Choose your device” page, select your phone from the drop-down list. The correct phone will likely already be selected. Swipe left.
  • You’ll see a warning about root access. This will not matter if you are not rooted, so hit the close button.
  • On the “Choose your update method” page, select the “Incremental update” choice. Swipe left.
  • You should see a big red checkmark. You can select to assist the devs by tapping the checkbox at the bottom of the page, which automatically uploads file names. Or, you can skip this if you don’t feel comfortable with it. Either way, tap “Start app” when you are ready.

With Oxygen Updater all set up, you will now receive push notifications when new updates are available. These updates should come only hours after they officially launch, giving you first access.

If you open up Oxygen Updater and it says an update is available, follow the instructions it gives you to download the update. The app will give you explicit directions on how to perform the update, but we’ll list them out here for you just in case:

  • Tell Oxygen Updater to download the latest OnePlus update file.
  • Once it’s done, open Android Settings and head to System > System updates.
  • Tap the gear icon in the upper right corner.
  • Tap on Local upgrade.
  • You should see a ZIP file with the word “OxygenOS” in it. Tap it and give permission for the install.
  • You’ll get a notification that you need to reboot once it’s done installing, which you should do by hitting the button.
  • Your phone will reboot, and you should be on the latest version of Oxygen OS. The file Oxygen Updater downloaded will auto-delete.
  • To check your current version, head to Settings > About phone and check your build number. Or, just open Oxygen Updater which will tell you if you’re on the latest version or not.

Oxygen Updater is an amazingly helpful app. However, it’s run by just one developer and it’s a lot of work to maintain. We highly encourage you to buy the ad-free version of the app and/or consider donating to the dev to keep the app up and running. Donation instructions, as well as a link to buy the ad-free version, are available in the app’s settings.

Click the button below to download Oxygen Updater!

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