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Everything you need to know about Oxygen OS 11
For years, Oxygen OS has been one of the most integral products in OnePlus’ catalog. Although its hardware is usually great, its software is the main reason a lot of fans refuse to switch. In 2020, we first saw Oxygen OS 11, the latest version of the Android skin. As one would surmise from the name, it’s based on Android 11.
See also: The best OnePlus phones
This is one of the largest software overhauls we’ve seen from OnePlus. As such, you might be curious to know more about what’s in store for your phone once you receive the update. Below, we break down all the new Oxygen OS 11 features and details you need to know.
Oxygen OS 11: New interface
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 years. Now that it’s here, what’s most interesting to us is how OnePlus has managed to do something a bit different with the feature.
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, 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 introduces 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 also supports Dark Mode scheduling. This allows 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. This allows you to enter Zen Mode with friends, a cool tweak to the popular app.
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 included.
Oxygen OS 11 release date and availability
Oxygen OS 11 is already available for a select few OnePlus phones. The OnePlus 8T was the first phone to ship with the operating system out-of-the-box. At around the same time as that phone’s launch, the OnePlus 8 series — which includes the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro — saw the stable update land as an OTA release. Obviously, the 2021 OnePlus 9 series all shipped with Oxygen OS 11 out-of-the-box, too.
Going further back, the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 7/7T series also have the upgrade. The OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T should also see the upgrade at some point in the future, although OnePlus would not commit to a timeline for that as of now.
Eligible Oxygen OS 11 update phones
OnePlus announced which devices it plans to update with the stable launch of Oxygen OS 11 in early January 2021. Per that announcement as well as other commitments from the brand, this is the complete list of phones OnePlus will update to Oxygen OS 11 as well as when we expect the update to land:
- Out-of-the-box — All OnePlus 9 phones
- Out-of-the-box — OnePlus 8T
- Complete — OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro
- Complete — OnePlus 7/7T and 7 Pro/7T Pro
- In beta now — OnePlus 6 and 6T
- Out-of-the-box — OnePlus Nord N200
- Out-of-the-box — OnePlus Nord CE
- Complete — OnePlus Nord
- Q3 2021 — OnePlus Nord N10/N100
Finally, keep in mind that the OnePlus Nord N10 and N100 will only receive this Oxygen OS 11 update. Although they would normally be eligible for Oxygen OS 12, the company admitted it has no plans to offer any further versions to those devices after this upgrade.
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.