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OnePlus' upcoming Privacy Watermark feature could protect your documents from misuse (APK teardown)

The company is also working on an auto-pixelate feature that pixelates sensitive information in images.

Published onMay 22, 2024

OnePlus 12R display
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
  • Strings within the latest Android 15 Beta preview for the OnePlus 12 include a reference to a new Privacy Watermark feature. This feature could go live with Oxygen OS 15.
  • This feature claims to let you add a privacy watermark to your document images to prevent their potential misuse.
  • Separately, strings have also been spotted for an auto-pixelate feature that pixelates private information.

OnePlus is participating in the Android Partner Program, as part of which the company has released an Android 15 Beta preview build that app developers and enthusiasts can install on their OnePlus 12. While this release does not completely represent all the features that Oxygen OS 15 (based on Android 15) would be bringing to OnePlus devices, we can learn of some of the upcoming features thanks to code snippets. One such code snippet relates to Privacy Watermark, an upcoming privacy feature on OnePlus smartphones (and possibly those from OPPO and Realme too).

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

OnePlus enthusiast 1NormalUsername spotted these new strings in the Settings app, documenting an upcoming “Privacy Watermark” feature that will be available through the OnePlus Photos app:

<string name="privacy_watermark">Privacy watermarks</string>
<string name="privacy_pic_watermark_info">"Add privacy watermarks to your photos so you can share them without worrying about potential misuse. For example, with just a tap, you can add a watermark that indicates the photo is intended for real-name registration or official document application. You can also customize one.
How to add a watermark: Open the Photos app, select a photo you want to watermark, tap \"Edit\", and choose \"Watermark - privacy watermark\"."</string>

As the description states, the Privacy Watermark feature will add a watermark to your photo that indicates the photo is an official document application. The Photos app will give you the option to customize the watermark.

We aren’t entirely sure how a watermark will prevent misuse of documents, but we presume it will add some level of ownership detail to them. Speculatively speaking, the watermark could be similar to what we commonly see on phone render leaks, indicating that the document originated from a specific source.

The path mentioned in the how-to is where the current set of watermarks reside on OnePlus devices. You can add the famous Hasselblad watermark or a more generic watermark in the Photos app > Edit > Watermark.

Separately, OnePlus could also be upgrading the Pixelate feature, as can be seen from this new string:

<string name="one_click_coding_of_picture">Automatically detects and pixelates private information in images.</string>

Currently, in Oxygen OS 14, you can manually pixelate any part of an image. There is an AutoPixelate 2.0 feature that automatically pixelates screenshots when they are taken and about to be shared. This upcoming setting could seemingly simplify the process down to a click for all images, not just immediate screenshots.

Since OnePlus’ Oxygen OS shares the same codebase as Color OS, you will very likely see these same features on OPPO and Realme smartphones, too, once they upgrade to the Android 15 platform in the stable branch.

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