Soon after Google officially unveiled Android 12 yesterday at the I/O 2021 event, it was announced that phones from a number of brands would be eligible for the first public beta of the new operating system. For OnePlus, the update was coming to the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro.
However, if you have a OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro, installing the new Android 12 beta isn’t a good idea right now. Soon after users downloaded the firmware on their phones, it was discovered that the build was causing phones to bootloop (load up the operating system endlessly without ever getting to the lockscreen), essentially soft-bricking them.
OnePlus has pulled back the firmware
Before more devices could be damaged, OnePlus pulled back the Android 12 public beta for the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, which now cannot be downloaded from the official links.
What exactly caused the issue?
Installing any operating system on any phone that doesn’t come as an official update to the currently installed system requires a safety procedure to be unchecked first. This is called unlocking the bootloader of a device. The bootloader acts like the BIOS settings of a phone and protects it from being overwritten by any unauthorised software.
Coming back to the OnePlus 9 series phones, the new update reportedly had no workaround for getting through the bootloader unlock bit. Users would need a workaround as the Android 12 beta is not a direct update to the phone’s native OxygenOS 11, but more like a fresh third-party install coming straight from Google.
Since there was no workaround for this step, the phones could not detect any official OxygenOS software after installing the Android 12 beta update and hence, went into an infinite bootloop.
Can you undo the issue?
Fortunately, yes. Users who have bricked their devices trying to install the Android 12 beta on their Oneplus 9 or 9 Pro smartphones can use a Qualcomm tool to put the device in EDL (Emergency Download Mode) and sideload official OxygenOS 11 software on it once again using a computer.
OnePlus has also shared a guide to rolling back to stable OxygenOS 11 on its forums with links to the required downloads for your device.
OnePlus 9 and 9 pro users will soon likely get a new build that will allow them to try the Android 12 beta without any issues. However, the incident is a reminder that beta software is not always 100 per cent stable and can lead to anything from minor usage bugs to a complete bootloop.