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Hands-on: Android 9 Pie arrives on OnePlus 6, here’s what’s new and how to install [Video]

OnePlus 6 users can now get a piece of Android Pie thanks to the first open beta — which is available to all users simply by downloading the beta installation files. But first, let’s take a look at the host of new features, tweaks and updates this beta brings to users of the “flagship killer” phone…

What’s new in the Android Pie beta?

Expect an experience that almost mimics that found in the official Pie release on Pixel devices, but with the standard array of Oxygen OS tweaks. That means the new gesture navigation method can be enabled or the standard omnipresent navigation buttons can be left intact if you prefer those. It takes a little bit of time to get used to this new method, but once you get the hang of swipes and drags, it feels pretty natural. All these navigation actions feel nice, fast and fluid too — which is a massive bonus.

Menus have been tweaked to fit into the new rounded design language which forms the basis for Android Pie. The notification shade has had an overhaul, it’s now a series of round icons that change color when specific toggles are activated.

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The multitasking menu has been updated to the full-card style — rather than the older stacked card format — so you can swipe left or right to move between currently running applications or drag along the home button pill to switch between these. Swapping between apps is much faster than it was on Oreo but on the odd occasion I would get apps hanging when I switched between them.

If you’re a fan of the shelf, it still replaces the Google Feed found on Pixel devices but now has a lick of paint. It’s updated to an all-white color with no new tricks to speak of, although it now feels much more streamlined as a result.

The Gaming Mode includes more controls to allow 3rd party calls, notifications and text messages. This further level of control also extends to the Do Not Disturb mode, which also allows for more customization akin to the Gaming Mode.

Overall OnePlus has skirted a fine line between the benefits of pure stock, whilst retaining that trademark Oxygen OS feel. We don’t have an ETA as yet for the full release of Android Pie on OnePlus devices, but this is a fine introduction if you want to give this beta software a test drive.

How to install OnePlus 6 Android Pie beta 1

Keep in mind before you dive into this that upgrading does mean that you won’t be able to downgrade without a full system wipe — so make sure you backup before diving in.

With that out of the way, let’s go through the quick steps of how to install the Android Pie beta on your OnePlus 6 device.

  1. You’ll need the beta zip file from this link downloaded to your local storage.
  2. Move that file from your downloads folder to the root directory
  3. Head to the System Update section of your Settings menu and apply the local update.
  4. The wait for it to install. Your device will restart during this procedure.

How to install the Android 9 Pie open beta on your OnePlus 6

The entire process should take no longer than 20 minutes — but that is dependent on your actual internet connection speed. The Pie beta file measures in at 1.5GB, which will take some time on a slow connection.

Either way it’s a completely painless process that gives you the speed improvements and tweaks over the Oreo build of Oxygen OS.

Found something that we’ve missed in this quick rundown of the Android Pie beta for OnePlus 6? Dip into the comments below and let us know your favorite new features!

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Avatar for Damien Wilde Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter @iamdamienwilde. Email

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