In this post, I’ll try to track my long story with the OnePlus OTA (Over-The-Air) software update problems.
I kept a long history of issues and workarounds since I bought this phone (5T), but I’m starting over with what I’m doing from today.
The post is a draft not well organized, I’ll create chapters when I’m 100% sure about what I’m talking about.
If you are facing similar issues feel free to leave a comment or ask your questions.
Do the below steps at your own risk.
27.04.2019 – Try to install OTA 9.0.4 by OTA and by ADB
Months ago, I received the 9.0.4 update by OTA, but I couldn’t install it, each time I tried my phone was broken and I had to flash it using unbrick tools and incremental updates till 9.0.3.
That said, OTA menu kept asking me to install the 9.0.4, so today I decided to give it a try.
Method 1: Using Android update menu (Result: KO)
Go to the Options / System / System updates, then download the update and push the button to install it.
This failed, but fortunately the phone was able to reboot and not stay frozen like my previous experiences.
What’s funny here, is that the phone showed the fail result, and asked to re-download the same update again.
After downloading it, it showed me an error while verifying the signature, how is this possible with an official OTA?
After trying many time, the signature was verified, but the installation failed as before, OTA 9.0.3 isn’t working for me.
Method 2: Using ADB sideload and OTA .zip (Result: KO)
Go to the Options / System / Developer options, and enable USB debugging.
You need to download ADB tool, for example here: https://www.xda-developers.com/install-adb-windows-macos-linux/
Information: When your phone download an OTA update, it stores its .zip in a hidden folder in the root called .Ota, I copied the file from my phone to my PC in the ADB folder.
Connect your phone, then open a command line.
Go to the path of ADB, for example:
Check that your phone is detected
You should see a line with numbers like this:
List of devices attached
Then reboot it in recovery mode:
adb reboot recovery
When the phone restarts, select: English, Wipe data and cache, Wipe cache, Yes, done.
This is a step recommended and I personally find that it avoids some installation errors.
Then, select: Install from ADB, Ok.
On the command line, push the zip file in sideload mode:
adb sideload OnePlus5TOxygen_43_OTA_047_all_.......zip
After some time, the installation fails and the phone reboots, this time Andoid doesn’t mention any notification about the installation.
Method 2: Using ADB sideload and OTA .zip (Result: OK)
OnePlus provides the latest update to be downloaded here: https://www.oneplus.com/support/softwareupgrade
Copy it to the root of the phone, then install it using recovery mode.
This methods works, so I’m suspecting that the .zip file pushed by OTA was corrucpted or its signature can’t be verified.
The name of the .zip from OnePlus website is : OnePlus5TOxygen_43_OTA_047_all_1902221932_2b3d5a2593e048fe.zip
The name of thz .zip from OTA server is : OnePlus5TOxygen_43_OTA_047_all_1902221932_d08e3bef8111.zip
Th ID at the end of the names is different, does it mean the OTA files are dedicated to specific phones ?
27.04.2019 – Try to install OTA 9.0.5 by Oxygen Updated App (Result: KO)
Coincidence, today OnePlus is pushing the 9.0.5.
One workaround to get it before the OTA notification, is to use an unofficial app : Oxygen Updater.
Since I’m updating from 9.0.4 to 9.0.5, the app suggests an incremental update, you can see it with the word “patch” in the name of the file that will be downloaded. An incremental zip is smaller than the full one, for 9.0.5 it was ~200Mb.
After downloading the update, the app suggests to install it using the “Local Update” option.
Options / System / System updates / Press the menu on the top right, then select Local Update, then select the zip file.
The phone reboots and starts the installation, this time it fails, and the phone is broken (can do nothing, no recovery, no reset, no boot…)
Here the only way possible is to use unbrick tool to flash it from the last official recovery…
28.04.2019 – Try to unbrick the OnePluse 5T using Unbrick tool
The phone shows nothing, except the blue DEL light. If you connect it to your PC, it will be detected as “QHUSB_BULK” then “Qualcomm-HS USB Diagnostics 900E” if Windows finds the driver automatically, sometimes you will have to install the driver yourself.
OEM has their own tools to flash their chips, for OnePlus it is called MSM Donwload Tool, and it will copy the images (system, recovery,…) from your PC to the phone.
Download the tool, for example here: https://forum.xda-developers.com/oneplus-5t/how-to/oneplus-5t-unbricking-tool-confirmation-t3733012
I recommend to find a tool with recent OxygenOS image, like the 5.1.7, otherwise you will have to update from 5.1.x to 5.1.(x+1) untill you reach the 5.1.7 that is recommended before upgrading to a 9.x.x with Android 9.
After installing it, unzip, and start MsmDownloadTool V4.0.exe as administrator.
Press “Start” button.
Back to the phone, press ON/OFF button & volume + for at least 10s.
The DEL light will turn green, and then MSM will start flahing the phone.
At the end of this process the phone reboots correctly with 5.1.7 version.
Set up the phone, then OTA will push the same update as before : 9.0.4.
The OTA update also didn’t work. The worst is that it broke the phone.
How is this possible that an official update using the official procedure fail likes that and makes the phone unusable ?!
So back to Unbrick tool again…
This time I’ll try to install 9.0.0 before going to 9.0.4 (using ADB sideload and a zip file of 9.0.0 in the PC)
The zip file name is OnePlus5TOxygen_43_OTA_042_all_…zip
Wipe cache then adb sideload Ota….zip
I confirm that going from 5.1.7 to 9.0.x more than 9.0.0 never worked for me in the past.
The upgrade from 5.1.7 to 9.0.0 works correclty.
Sum up of the experience:
- Phone broken while trying to increment from 9.0.4 to 9.0.5 using unofficial app Oxygen Updater
- Unbrick using MSM Download Tool to 5.1.7
- Update from 5.1.7 to 9.0.4 never worked using any method (OTA, sideload, Local upgrade)
- Update from 5.1.7 to 9.0.0 using sideload works correctly from the first try.
Now instead of downloading again 1Gb I’ll just copy the zip file of 9.0.4 in the .Ota folder, and let Android checks its integrity.
The update menu validated the file, the phone rebooted and the installation failed later.
I’ll copy the zip I got from OnePlus website to do the same try.
This time the update menu ignores it and asks to download the update.
I’ll try now to copy zip files in root and install them with the recovery menu.
Nothing worked with this too.
New idea: Install something else then the 9.0.4 that is suggested.
The zip for 9.0.3 OnePlus5TOxygen_43_OTA_046_all_1901182151_e67b153d1f3d4d91. zip was installed correctly.
Is this a mandatory step to update to 9.0.3 before updating to 9.0.4? Then why OnePlus is pushing 9.0.4 by OTA?!
9.0.3 installed, I know download and install the OTA official with the update menu.
The phone is broken again, how is this possible?
- Unbrick the phone to 5.1.7
- Update manually to 9.0.3
- Hope that updating to 9.0.4 will not break the phone like before.
New idea: Try to install 5.1.7 then install increment 9.0.0 9.0.1 9.0.2 9.0.3 9.0.4 in case there is something that is not accepted by full update.
To sum up:
- Unbrick the phone to 5.1.7
- Update gradually from 9.0.0 to 9.0.4
If the phone needs to go trough every version, why OnePlus propose to jump to the latest version with OTA?
How a user without above knowledge can repair his phone, after following incorrect OnePlus instructions?
Is the solution is to not use OTA update menu anymore, and use only downloadable zip files and sideload mode?
Is having a PIN code blocks the updates?
Is wiping cache that is recommended in forums is something that may contribute to update failures?
Last try for today, install the 9.0.5 patch: OnePlus5TOxygen_43_OTA_047-048_patch_1904191530_e75889ee94bc4.zip
PHONE BROKEN AGAIN
So I’ll do the same steps again to be in 9.0.4 and never ever try to use the patch 9.0.5, I’ll wait for full update to do it.
Remark: After using the Unbrick tool, let the phone boot at least until the welcome screen of Android, otherwise the next installation will not work, I guess because the system needs to boot correctly and completely to let a new installation be possible. After you can update the 9.0.x without rebooting the phone, stay in recovery mode and after every installation select Install from ADB and push the next zip file.
End of today: Phone with latest 9.0.4 update.
11.05.2019 – Try to install the 9.0.5
I received this update in the OTA update menu.
I note that the name and the size of zip file is the same as the one I got using the Oxygen Updater app.
This is an incremental update, so it comes as OnePlus…Oxygen…OTA_047-048_patch…zip
As a joe user I install the OTA zip using the OTA menu. Press “REBOOT TO UPGRADE NOW.
As usual being a joe user and do as told doesn’t work, here we go again with a broken phone.
Decision: I’ll NEVER use the OTA menu again.
Back to Unbrick tool and intermediate versions…
End of today: Phone backed up to 9.0.4 update.
My conclusions for my phone so far:
- OnePlus is not a serious company when it comes to delivering OTA updates.
- OnePlus updates meant to solve issues create new ones every time.
- Using the OTA menu to install OnePlus updates breaks the phone most of the time.
- Installing the latest version from OnePlus as soon as I receive it is a bad decision.
- A phone broken by OnePlus update has no more recovery, everything is lost.
- A phone broken by OnePlus update needs setup and knowledge to repair it.
- An update for which there is not lot of zip links to download, it is a sign that it is may be not sent widely.