What Is OxygenOS and How Is It Different From Stock Android?

Learn about the custom skin for OnePlus Android phones

OnePlus 5

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OnePlus smartphones run OxygenOS, which evenly lines up with the current Android 9.0. It's designed to be clean, simple, and to work with natural gestures, the way users want to control their smartphones. But there's much more to Oxygen OS than that. Here are some highlights about OxygenOS and how it differs from stock Android.

OnePlus devices are expected to update to Android 10 once it's available, as OnePlus is a Google beta and early release partner.

OxygenOS Maintains Lock Screen Shortcuts

The OxygenOS and pure Android lock screens may seem very similar at first glance, but taking a closer look, you'll realize there are several differences.

OxygenOS maintains the lock screen shortcuts on the bottom left and right corners of the display, while newer versions of stock Android don't have these options. Additionally, in OxygenOS, users can swipe up from the bottom left corner to manually bring up Google Assistant, while stock Android users must log in to their handset, then long-press the navigation pill icon to manually activate Google assistant; the lock screen shortcut on the right side brings up the camera.

OxygenOS Has Superior Gestures

OnePlus has been hailed for its easy to execute gestures feature, which serves as an alternative to having navigation keys on the home screen. In fact, manufacturers including OnePlus have used gesture features before Google implemented its own gestures into stock Android.

The gestures on OxygenOS include swiping up from the bottom center of the screen to return to the home screen, swiping up from the bottom right to go back to a previous page, and a long swipe up from the bottom center to bring up recent apps.

Gesture navigation on stock Android is centered around the pill-shaped icon at the bottom of the screen. Users can swipe right on the pill to quickly sift between recent apps, while a short swipe up reveals all of the recent apps, which users can swipe through with their fingers, or swipe right again to get to their desired app. A long swipe up pulls up the app drawer.

OxygenOS Shelf vs. Google Feed

Most Android smartphones have a function that brings up a special area when users swipe on the home screen. In OxygenOS, this area is called Shelf. It's an interesting shortcuts area that allows users to see things like their recent apps and contacts, and also grants easy access to a memo widget. If users need to jot down a note, they can simply tap Write Memo in Shelf and begin drafting their thoughts or to-do lists.

Additionally, users can view vital device information from Shelf, including remaining data, available storage, and battery percentage. Users can also load details for membership cards for virtual access and use the Parking Location feature to keep track of their vehicles. This function allows users to tag the geo-location of their car or take a picture of the vehicle so they can easily find it later. Manufacturers like Samsung have recently adopted similar parking features.

On stock Android, swiping right on the home screen brings up Google Feed, which is essentially a newsfeed showing reports according to your top interests, frequented websites, and YouTube channels.

Google Feed also shows the current temperature, and may also show the scores to recent sports games. Users can tap Updates for more functions, including Calendar events, and due dates for bills. Updates also include shortcuts to functions like games, finding a restaurant, playing music, and finding recipes. Users can also set up other Google Assistant features here.