While OnePlus has strayed away from the clean user interface it was once praised for with its OxygenOS skin, this is not the case with its growing set of features. It remains one of the most powerful and feature-rich skins, and the version based on Android 12—OxygenOS 12—has introduced even more things for you to test out.
Here are some of the best OxygenOS 12 features that every OnePlus user needs to try.
1. Dark Mode Customization
If there’s one trend that has caught on in the smartphone industry for good, it’s a universal dark mode feature. Apart from the obvious power-saving benefits on AMOLED panels, a dark mode generally just looks more pleasant. Most popular apps with a dark mode simply look appealing.
Different brands tackle the dark mode setting differently. A few Android skins go for a dark gray appearance while others use pitch-black backgrounds. OxygenOS 12 one-ups other skins by allowing you to choose between three shades of black.
The Enhanced option brings a pitch-black dark mode which is what most OnePlus users are familiar with. The Medium and Gentle dark modes use progressively lighter shades of gray. We found this option quite useful for improving visibility under direct sunlight while using the dark mode.
2. Private Safe
Although previous iterations of OxygenOS have had a lockbox feature of some sort, the Private Safe found in OxygenOS 12 feels a lot more unified and secure.
You can store photos, videos, documents, audio, and pretty much any other type of file within the Private Safe. The items you add here will not be visible anywhere else on your phone.
You can set up the Private Safe feature by navigating to Settings > Privacy > Private Safe. Here, you will be prompted to set a 6-digit pin which, alongside a fingerprint scan, is the only way to open it. Alternatively, you can add a shortcut to your home screen that will let you access your hidden files.
3. Advanced Battery Options
With every OnePlus phone since 2016 supporting some form of fast charging technology, a lot of emphasis has been given to battery optimization within OxygenOS.
For starters, OxygenOS 12 prompts you with a number of things that will help save battery such as disabling GPS, force closing power-draining apps, and dropping the screen’s refresh rate.
Under Advanced settings, you can now turn on a high-performance mode that speeds your phone up a bit at the expense of extra power consumption. On the other end of the spectrum, the sleep standby optimization conserves battery while you’re asleep.
Leaving your phone to charge throughout the night might seem unnecessary to you as a OnePlus user thanks to fast charging. Although charging your phone overnight is bad, some might prefer it this way. The Optimized night charging option intelligently stops charging your phone at around 80% and continues the rest of the charging right before you wake up, leading to better battery health.
4. Redesigned OnePlus Shelf
OxygenOS 12 brings massive improvements to the customizable OnePlus Shelf, a feature that had been widely put aside by many users in the past. Instead of replacing the Google feed to the left of your home screen, the OnePlus Shelf now requires a swipe from the top-right corner of your screen, mimicking how Control Center works in iOS.
Updated first-party widgets can be found within the OnePlus Shelf, along with the ability to add any traditional third-party widgets. Data cards such as weather, storage, mobile data, and the step counter display useful information that’s just a glance away.
5. Theme Store
The introduction of a theme store surely turned a lot of heads since it’s a first in OxygenOS’ history. The theme store is a fun way to quickly stir things up.
Applying a theme will affect elements such as the icon pack, wallpapers, accent color, fonts, and unlock styles. A few themes also come with live wallpapers that change automatically every few hours or depending on the time of the day.
Although it’s a nice feature to have, we’ll be quite honest, the theme store found in OxygenOS 12 leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the themes are sub-par and cost a few cents. Still, we’re excited to see what the future for a theme engine holds in OxygenOS.
6. New Game Mode Features
A plethora of new Game Mode features has been added in OxygenOS 12. However, unlike previous versions of the skin, there’s no specific menu in the settings app where you can configure all the options.
To access Game Mode features, swipe in from the top left or right-hand corner of your display while in a game. This will bring up a menu where you can interact with the various options. This menu displays the time, your phone’s battery percentage, and its temperature.
You can choose between three different performance modes that help you either conserve battery for long gaming sessions or push your phone to its limits to really boost the gaming performance. The game focus mode blocks any incoming notifications or calls and prevents you from accidentally using navigation gestures.
Other useful features include a screen recorder, voice modulator, an orientation lock, and a way to pin system stats such as CPU and GPU usage to your screen. You can also open apps like Discord and WhatsApp as floating screens to quickly reply to messages.
7. Updated Zen Mode
Zen Mode was first introduced in 2019 and aimed at reducing screen time for those who find it difficult to put their phones down once in a while. Although not much has been changed or added in terms of features since, the updated Zen Mode in OxygenOS 12 comes with a revamped UI and easier controls.
Once you pick a timer and start Zen Mode, there’s no going back. You will be locked out of your phone except for receiving phone calls and perhaps being subjected to peaceful music which you can control using the Zen Mode app. You can either use Zen Mode for yourself or invite friends to partake in a distraction-free session with you.
Make the Most Out of OxygenOS 12
What started off as a mission to provide a nearly stock Android experience has turned into one of the most feature-heavy skins around. The few features we’ve mentioned ought to significantly improve the way you use your OnePlus phone.
Although we’re seeing traces of ColorOS in the latest iterations of OxygenOS, OnePlus has decided to stick with a formula that has worked better for them.