This past Christmas I spent pretty much the entire morning trying to fix the girlfriend’s OnePlus 5. Its native version of Android, OxygenOS, had just gotten a big upgrade to Oreo, and as we were shortly going on holiday I thought it prudent to get her phone up to date before we left.
The upgrade itself wasn’t the problem; what stymied me for several hours was applying root and getting a custom recovery to stick. I still couldn’t tell you what the technical issue was, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion that it’s the result of Google’s increasing hostility towards Android modders.
I knew that the only real solution would be a regression to Android Nougat, but then my better half would have to deal with the constant nagging notification for an update that would once again break superuser access to her phone.
And here’s where FreedomOS comes in. It’s a custom ROM built on the Nougat version of Oxygen, but with a modified kernel and additional options. Chief among them is the Aroma installer; it gives you the choice of flashing Magisk or SuperSU for root, and also allows you to debloat your device by skipping over any Google or OnePlus apps you don’t want. It’s definitely not for noobs, though, as its possible flash a broken system image onto your phone if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing.
The lead developer recently returned from a holiday break, so an Oreo version of FOS—for the OnePlus 5, at least—could be on the way. In the meantime, I’ve been impressed enough with the Nougat version that I flashed the 5T version onto my own phone. You can check out the ROM for yourself at the XDA links immediately below.