OxygenOS 12 (Android 12): All the New Features and Changes You Need to Know About

OxygenOS 12 beta based on Android 12 arrived for the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro earlier this week. We have already installed the OxygenOS 12 beta on our OnePlus 9, and it brings an experience that borrows a lot from ColorOS 12, as per our brief testing. While other OnePlus device owners will have to wait a while to experience the latest OxygenOS 12 skin, they surely want to know more about what’s new in this open beta build. If you are a OnePlus user who’s curious about all the new features in OxygenOS 12, you have come to the right place. We have compiled a list of the best new features in OnePlus’ Android 12-based OxygenOS skin.

OxygenOS 12: Here Are All the New Features (2021)

Depending on their significance, we have divided the new OxygenOS 12 features into major and minor categories. We have also separately discussed features in OxygenOS 12 that remind us of Oppo’s ColorOS software skin. As most of you might be aware, OnePlus is merging the OxygenOS and ColorOS codebase to develop a unified OS that will arrive next year. Until then, if there’s a particular OxygenOS 12 feature you want to know about, use the table below to read about it right away. Now without further ado, let’s begin.

Major New OxygenOS 12 Features

1. Visual Changes

OxygenOS 12 brings with it subtle design changes aimed at making the experience more intuitive for OnePlus phone owners. The new features in OxygenOS 12 include a more polished UI, along with redesigned iconography and fonts to give the skin a cleaner look. The text now also appears bolder and brighter to increase legibility.

oxygenos 12 UI changes

The icons themselves have gotten attention in the form of more textures coupled with layers and shadows. OnePlus has tried to project an effect of realism by trying to play with layers. It is a design aspect called Neumorphism that you might have heard of before with the release of macOS Big Sur last year. While appearing more textured, the icons themselves don’t project a likable effect.

While Android 12’s Material You design language hasn’t really been used here, the influence of ColorOS is easily evident in bits and pieces across the visual identity of OxygenOS 12. The design does appear simplified, which is likely OnePlus’ goal for the last build of OxygenOS. Moreover, the overall appeal is now far from what OxygenOS was once known for, and that’s been bothering manyOnePlus fans.

2. Customizable Dark Mode

A popular feature among smartphone users, the Dark Mode in OxygenOS 12 offers more customization options. This feature has directly been copy-pasted from ColorOS and enables the users to choose intensity levels for the dark mode.

So instead of having a simple on/ off switch, OnePlus users will now be able to choose from three dark mode styles – Gentle, Medium, and Enhanced. Aimed at giving users more freedom, the new Dark Mode in OxygenOS 12 has received a pleasant upgrade.

3. Redesigned OnePlus Shelf and Scout

OnePlus Shelf is now more appealing to look at and use with a redesign in OxygenOS 12. The new layout looks noticeably better than before, with cards now feeling more natural on the Shelf. Speaking of the cards, more information will now be visible on the OnePlus Shelf, including a new Health card that will display calories burned and distance covered.

If you happen to own a OnePlus Watch or TWS earbuds, you can even leverage the new Wearable cards and control more features than ever before. Long been a useful feature, the redesigned Shelf is a great addition to the OxygenOS 12 update. Also, it is worth mentioning that the OnePlus Shelf is now accessible using a swipe down from the right side of the Status bar. Yeah, you no longer have to swipe down on the home screen, as is the case in OxygenOS 11.

OnePlus’ Scout Search has joined the new Shelf and now sits right on top of it. Users can search for files, media, and information across the Internet and make simple calculations from the Scout bar itself. Definitely, these are some of the best OxygenOS 12 features that will prove to be important for OnePlus users.

4. Canvas AOD 2.0

If you are part of the OnePlus crowd who loves the Canvas always-on-display mode on their devices, then the newest update will make you even happier. OxygenOS 12 introduces Canvas AOD 2.0, offering more customization options with choices available from effects, filters, brushstrokes, color palettes, and more.

The new Canvas AOD even lets users can hand-edit pictures to remove unwanted lines and move around the outline to wherever they like on the always-on display. Canvas AOD 2.0 will be useful for users who want their closest memories to come to life every time they unlock their OnePlus phone.

5. OnePlus Notes Redesign and Doodling

Part of the OxygenOS 12 new features list is the redesigned Notes app. Encompassing a neater design for easy categorization, Notes is easier to navigate than ever before and the new features bolster it even further.

A separate To-Do section ensures that you won’t miss out on any of your important tasks. Moreover, Notes now allows doodling that users can perform while writing on a page itself. Tools currently available are a pencil with different strokes, a highlighter, a pen, and an eraser. Like customary to drawing, there are also different colors to choose from.

6. Private Safe

Another feature coming directly from ColorOS is Private Safe. This safety feature now allows OxygenOS 12 users to store their private and sensitive files like documents and media inside a secure vault on their device. You will be required to set a six-digit pin code, after which all your personal data will become protected and secured against nosy individuals. Be sure to make use of this nifty feature once the beta is available for your OnePlus device.

7. Privacy Dashboard

We are sure you are no stranger to Android 12’s Privacy Dashboard by this point. Announced earlier in 2021, the Privacy Dashboard is a new feature in Android that aims to keep track of apps that require sensitive permissions. Welcomed as a much-needed feature to compete against privacy features in iOS 15, the privacy dashboard will be loved by privacy-conscious users. OxygenOS 12 comes integrated with the Privacy Dashboard feature alongside other new privacy upgrades.

This handy dashboard gives users detailed information about what kind of apps are using what permissions, including the location, camera, and microphone. You can then investigate these intruders and deny/ grant different permissions accordingly. The Privacy Dashboard is one of the best new OxygenOS 12 (Android 12) features that privacy-conscious users will welcome with open arms.

8. Zen Mode with New Design

Amidst the integration of Oxygen OS and ColorOS, the Zen Mode is one such feature that you can still find in the new OxygenOS 12 build. Loved by OnePlus users worldwide, Zen Mode allows users to put their OnePlus device down for a certain amount of time and just enjoy life. Besides setting the duration, Zen Mode in OxygenOS 12 has different themes and music selections to choose from.

If you are the type of user wanting to try meditation and introspection, the OnePlus Zen Mode in OxygenOS 12 is a blessing in plainclothes for you. However, if you wish to try out a dedicated relaxation app on Android and iOS to get past your anxiety or relax during work-from-home hours, we have you covered.

ColorOS-Inspired Changes

Let’s not forget to address the elephant in the room here. It is no secret that the OxygenOS 12 beta has parts of the ColorOS experience included in various areas. From subtle UI changes here and there to more visible ones that fanboys will notice right away, OnePlus’ Colors (pun intended) have started to show. Here are a few ColorOS features and changes found in the new OxygenOS 12 update:

1. ColorOS Launcher

Ditching the native OxygenOS elements, OnePlus is finally using ColorOS’s launcher as its primary driver. Now, this is not something unexpected as a merger of sorts between the two Android skins was announced a while back. However, there are users out there who are clearly not happy about this change. The new launcher does away with familiar OnePlus elements and instead presents the user with new (and more) options.

The launch change is most evident on the home screen customization settings page in OxygenOS 12. The same transition effects OPPO device owners are familiar with are now available to OxygenOS 12 users. Besides that, you get ColorOS icons along with the recognizable OPPO settings icon. While touted as a new feature in OxygenOS 12, we will leave it up to you to decide whether you like it or not.

2. ColorOS Camera App

Another OxygenOS 12 feature that has been borrowed straight from the ColorOS is the new camera app. Presented in the OnePlus Nord 2 earlier this year, the camera app in OxygenOS 12 is reminiscent of the same layout as ColorOS, coupled with a similar set of features and icon designs. The new layout is another part of the change that you will see in future betas.

3. Theme Store

As promised earlier this year, OxygenOS now includes a themes store. OxygenOS 12 comes with a host of customization options, including different themes from a store, to suit a user’s mood. However, this new feature comes at a price. OnePlus has borrowed this new Theme Store directly from ColorOS.

Sporting the same overall layout and UI as ColorOS, the new Theme Store in OxygenOS 12 allows users to download and use various themes to change up the look and feel of your OnePlus phone. However, if using aspects from other operating systems isn’t your cup of tea, steer clear of it.

4. Bigger App Switcher Button

The app switcher now has bigger and bolder icons with a more prominent button to close all open apps with a single tap. Now titled ‘Close All‘, the button is wider and features grey text inside a translucent box. Being part of the ColorOS launcher, the new app switcher still looks clean and shouldn’t pose any hindrance in day-to-day use.

5. Redesigned Settings and About Phone Menu

Among the numerous UI changes in the first OxygenOS 12 beta, you will notice a massive redesign in the settings menu. The Settings menu has now been reordered and categorized. You will now find similar settings ordered near each other for easy reach. The About Phone menu has also received a UI change and now sports concise information along with storage displayed right at the top.

6. New Battery Settings Page

Using a neater design aesthetic, the new Battery menu is now more attractive and detailed than ever before. Ditching the simple number style, OxygenOs 12 now displays the remaining battery in a rounded rectangle. Other necessary information, such as detailed battery usage and advanced settings, can be found right below. It should make life easier for OnePlus users. However, once again, you can spot the ColorOS inspiration from a mile away.

You also get a bit more control over your Gallery, which has been renamed to Photos in OxygenOS 12. Using a two-finger pinch, you can now change the Photos layout easily. Depending on your preference, you can now either have it zoomed in to show more photos or out for a neater effect.

Other OxygenOS 12 Changes

Besides the new OxygenOS 12 feature we have listed above, there are some additional changes compared to the previous version that we and other OnePlus users would appreciate. These are:

1. Work and Life Mode Shortcuts

Accessing Work-Life balance is now even easier with dedicated Work and Life mode shortcuts. Placed on the quick settings panels at the top, these shortcuts can help activate your created routine with a tap. In OxygenOS 12, users can create and use different work and life mode routines based on different parameters such as Wi-Fi networks, locations, time, and more.

2. Privacy Indicators

If you have been using the Access Dots app to get an indicator every time your phone’s camera or mic is used, you can rest easy. OxygenOS 12 brings with it Android 12’s privacy indicators feature.

For those unaware, Privacy Indicators inform users every time an app uses their phone’s important sensors like the camera or microphone. They appear as small icons near the device’s top edge to signify a sensor is in use. The same Privacy Indicators will now be visible to OxygenOS 12 users as part of the new features set. Folks concerned for personal privacy will love this addition.

3. No App Throttling Option yet

If you jog your memory, you will remember that OnePlus was caught trying to intentionally throttle some apps to save battery life on its flagship OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro series a few months ago. While coming clean about it, the company mentioned the reason was to ensure a consistent performance that would give a good battery life. However, the company also confirmed to AndroidPolice that early OxygenOS 12 builds would include a feature to turn off the app throttling.

While no such feature has emerged with the first OxygenOS 12 beta for the OnePlus 9/ 9 Pro, we expect it to drop in upcoming builds.

Which OxygenOS 12 Feature Do You Like the Most?

OxygenOS 12 is turning out to be software met with praise mixed with equal amounts of criticism. While some OnePlus users will definitely love the new features, legacy OP users will not be big fans of the bewildering OxygenOS experience. This might very well might be the last version before the unified ColorOS + OxygenOS software skin release. If you are a OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro user, learn how to install Android 12-based OxygenOS 12 beta on your phone right now. What are your thoughts about the new features? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments 17
  • Sharif Ali Khan says:

    How to install Oxygen OS 12 on older OnePlus Nord Device

    • Hardik says:

      Now available as open beta

  • Nunhlu Pachuau says:

    RIP Oneplus

  • Rithwik says:

    Can we use oxygen os 11 even when 12 is out ?

  • INDU shekhar says:

    Rip OnePlus
    Ek premium brand barbad khud hi barbad hogya .

    • Ranjeet says:

      Yes bro, You are right

  • parmod singla says:

    Any solution on proximity sensor issue, during call one plus 9r god’s, mute etc..

  • Siddharth says:

    Rip OnePlus

  • Edwin Crawford says:

    Dear one plus,

    When you are bringing new features and updates kindly also get the Auto Call Recording feature without any prompts messages.it will be so beneficial.

    • Pankaj says:

      You are right, that feature is worst

  • Alibaba says:

    The circle battery indicator is GONE. Also you can no longer enable seconds on the clock at the top.

  • Anonymous says:

    The One Plus has left it’s customers in dark by giving up on the Oxygen OS, since the One Plus phone was known for its unique Oxygen OS experience (for which we was paying a handsome amount). Keeping all the performance features apart which is obviously provided by other competitors as well (in cheaper prices). OnePlus should not go for Colour OS instead revamp it’s existing Oxygen OS by maintaining its uniqueness.
    Long story short: this is my first and last OnePlus device, & now I’m not going to repeat the same mistake.
    Goodbye #Oneplus 8T……..Hate it now…….

  • Sham says:

    When will the OnePlus 8t be updated in India?

  • K P JAYATEERTH says:

    Dear Sir,
    Oneplus should maintain it’s uniqueness.
    Please modify and bring new features in Oxygen OS than merging with Color OS

  • gopukrishnan says:

    Whats the matter with you people? do whatever kind of color os crap experiment with the upcoming OnePlus models and enjoy. Leave the old models alone. Seriously, majority of us bought it because of the premium clean effects of the oxygen os

    • Evan K Langlois says:

      This isnt a vote, nor is this Oneplus customer service or feedback. Telling Oneplus your desires here is as useful as telling a stone!

      If you dont want the new features, don’t use them. And don’t start with how Oxygen OS made Oneplus great. It almost killed the company because they released the first version so bare that it was basically AOSP! We had Cyanogen back then on Oneplus phones and nobody wanted to lose all the features. You didn’t have to install the new OxygenOS if you didnt want it. Same goes with Oxygen12. If you don’t like it, don’t upgrade.

  • Abhishek sen says:

    Sir please don’t change oxygenOS . The oneplus devices has unique configuration as compared to colourOS so kindly sir please don’t change oxygenOS beacause im also oneplus user

    Sorry for mistake

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