easwee.net // tiny digital playground

oneplus one OS upgrade

It’s been past 5 years since OnePlus released their first model One and this is still my main phone today. You may question why, but in reality except boosting specs and increasing camera picture quality, nothing impressive really happened in the phone tech, that would make me want to buy a new cutting edge phone (if I want quality pictures I use my DSLR, but also as a software developer I already have access to all the latest phones at work, so I really have no incentive of buying a new personal phone, not even just for fun).

But as time passes, I’ve also got a challenge idea – how long can I keep using this phone without having to give up any new app features, deal with slowdowns or let’s hope not breaking it (although I could replace the screen just for the sake of seeing how far I can go) .

In the last year I’ve noticed slowdowns in certain apps. The phone was running on Cyanogen 12.1 which is built on top of Android 5.1 and this was the last update I did (Cyanogen development has stopped 2 years ago – it’s a discontinued project).

As time goes by, we now have Android 10 out and major app developers started dropping support for Android 5. While I try to not be an app power user, there are a few apps I use daily and one of them is Revolut, that is my main way of payment for online shopping and also lunch bill splitting with work colleagues. Recently (Nov 13th, 2019) they also dropped support for Android 5 and there is really nothing to do but upgrade your phone OS (I obviously support this – we all hate those IE users, that still haven’t upgraded – and I’m a similar case, just in Android world). Considering I kinda want to keep using this handy app and still don’t want to buy a new phone, I started searching for alternatives to do a ROM upgrade for my OnePlus One.

Most reviews praised LineageOS as being a solid system that focuses on performance and simplicity, while still supporting all of the Google stuff without hassle – and must say that I’m very satisfied with it.

Install process is well documented and their website provides all of the info you need to get it running (took me about 1h to wipe and format, read through docs and install the new OS – just note I have adb and entire android development env already set up on work station – it may take a bit more for someone doing a custom ROM install for the first time).

Currently the version 16 runs on Android 9 and this brings a nice performance boost in terms of navigation and UX, also another very welcome feature is their “Extreme power saver” mode, which will extend daily duration of the now 5 years old battery that has seen better days (a full charge is needed every 1.5 days now – used to last above 3 days in beginning – all considering my personal usage, I would say some users would drain it faster). Add in nice personalization options as far as UX and theming goes and I think you have all you really need in a phone OS. Oh and enhanced privacy (Privacy Guard feature let’s you control what your apps do in background with a wider set of options)!

So if you are looking for a decent Android custom ROM, I would recommend to give LineageOS a try.