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Unless OnePlus steps in, Oxygen OS 12 won't support GCam mods, other camera apps

Unless you're fine with only using one of your phone camera's many sensors, that is.

Published onDecember 13, 2021

OnePlus 9 Pro vs OnePlus 9 cameras
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • OnePlus GCam mods and other third-party camera apps don’t work correctly with Oxygen OS 12.
  • The phone software limits all third-party camera apps to only using the primary sensor.
  • Color OS 12, which Oxygen OS 12 is based on, also has this limitation. OnePlus will need to change things to fix it.

In years past, OnePlus phones had camera systems that just weren’t as good as top competitors. To rectify this, technologically adept fans would swap out the native OnePlus camera app with a Google Camera (GCam) port. This allowed them to get camera features and computational photography smarts of a Google Pixel phone but on a OnePlus phone.

See also: The best camera phones you can get

With the launch of the OnePlus 9 Pro’s stellar camera hardware and software, this might not be necessary for some. However, many OnePlus GCam mods are still out there and quite popular. Unfortunately, it looks like Oxygen OS 12 could end this option and force users to stick with the phone’s native camera app.

As per Android Police, the Android 12-based Oxygen OS 12 limits access to the full suite of camera hardware. This means any third-party camera app — whether a GCam mod or an app from the Google Play Store — can only access the primary camera sensor. In the case of the OnePlus 9 Pro, that would mean the ultra-wide, telephoto, and monochrome sensors would be off-limits.

While this would still allow a OnePlus GCam mod to work, it wouldn’t work as effectively. As such, the GCam modding community is advising users not to upgrade to Oxygen OS 12.

No OnePlus GCam support: Don’t upgrade to Android 12

Of course, OnePlus has already pulled its official upgrade to Oxygen OS 12, which originally launched for the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro last week. That release was filled with bugs and received incredibly negative backlash from users. As of today, unless you go seeking it out, you won’t see Android 12 on your OnePlus phone any time soon.

Theoretically, OnePlus GCam mod support could return with the next try at launching Oxygen OS 12. OnePlus, after all, hasn’t historically had a problem with third-party camera apps accessing the full suite of lenses. But, since Oxygen OS 12 is based on OPPO’s Color OS 12, this might not happen.

In contrast to OnePlus, OPPO hasn’t been very friendly towards third-party camera apps. It’s very possible that, due to the basic code of Oxygen OS 12, OnePlus won’t do the work to allow full access to third-party apps.

In other words, if you value OnePlus GCam mods, you should stay away from Oxygen OS 12. You can either stay on Oxygen OS 11 or root/unlock your phone and install a custom ROM.

It’s possible OnePlus will change its tune here and bring back GCam support for Oxygen OS 12, whenever it returns. We’ll need to wait and see what happens. For now, though, GCam users should avoid updates.

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