The OnePlus 6T is a great device, but like any Android powered smartphone its performance are directly linked with the regular updates and OS improvements that are being released. Without these updates certain apps won’t run properly and the Android functionality will eventually lack essential features, processes and capabilities. Thus, it is important to know how to always keep your OnePlus 6T updated to the latest Android firmware and, if official updates aren’t available, how to set up the latest custom ROMs.
And that’s why we are here with this new step by step guide. You see, by checking the guidelines from below you can easily learn how to complete different update operations that are compatible with your OnePlus 6T. And, in this way you can also learn how to keep your smartphone installed with the latest features and apps even when the official OnePlus support will be ended. And as you will observe certain update solutions can be used for resolving other associated problems which means that this tutorial can help you complete other tasks too and we will detail these aspects in a few moments.
Therefore, this step by step guide will be structured into three different sections: setting up a new OTA, manually installing the official / stock firmware package and manually flashing a custom ROM platform like Lineage OS, AOKP or Paranoid Android. During each part we will discuss about a different update method that can be applied on your OnePlus 6T. And for making things more intuitive we will also review the advantages, risks and essential pre-requisites that are related with each flashing procedure. Our recommendation is to read all the lines from this tutorial before applying something; also, you can choose to bookmark this page as you might have to use certain steps from it in the future too. Anyway, let’s see how the OnePlus 6T can be successfully updated.
How to apply a new OTA package
When a new OTA is pushed out you should receive a new notification on your OnePlus 6T. And from that point you only have to follow on-screen prompts for resuming the update process. On paper everything looks good, but in real life such updates are rolled out gradually and for limited markets only. Shortly, some users will receive the notification sooner than others. Moreover, an OTA can be received only if your smartphone is already running on stock Android OS and only if tweaks weren’t applied – for example, if a custom ROM is running or if root was enabled you won’t be able to apply an OTA package.
In those situations you need to choose to manually set up the official firmware package, an operation which will be detailed during the next section of this guide.
Now, if the OTA can be received on your phone but it’s still not embracing your OnePlus 6T you can try to force down the Android notification – we will show you how in a minute. Of course, setting up a new OTA is an official operation supported by your OEM so you have nothing to worry about: you won’t lose your phone’s warranty, you won’t lose access to built-in apps, you won’t have to use third party or risky / complex flashing apps, and you won’t lose personal data and info while the new software is being applied.
You do however have to check the power that’s left on your handset before setting up a new OTA. As a general rule, you should ensure more than 50% power on your OnePlus 6T – if the power is lower than that value you should first charge your device.
Good; so let’s see how you can force down a new OTA:
- Power on your device (you can initiate a reboot before starting to follow the next steps).
- Enable a WiFi connection on your smartphone.
- Go to Settings.
- From general settings access the Software field and find the search engine that can initiate an update scan.
- So, do scan for new system updates on your OnePlus 6T.
- If an OTA is released for your handset you will be prompted with the Android notification.
- From that point just follow on-screen prompts and resume the flashing process.
- Do note that during that operation your smartphone will automatically reboot several times; that’s a normal behavior.
If the OTA package can be downloaded from online sources than you can choose to install it manually. You can do it from stock recovery image or by executing a dedicated adb command. In both situations you will have to use a computer, where you will have to download the update package. If recovery is used, just boot your phone into recovery mode and choose to flash the OTA package from there. For executing the adb command, on your computer set up the OnePlus 6T drivers first and install Android SDK; put the OTA package inside the Android SDK folder and reboot fastboot mode on your device; finally, open a cmd window from Android SDK and execute ‘adb sideload update.zip’.
How to Manually Install the Official Update package
If the OTA cannot be received on your smartphone, or if you are just tired of waiting for the Android notification, don’t panic. If the full firmware package is available, then you can choose to manually update your OnePlus 6T.
This will also be an official update procedure. So, now, you won’t lose your phone’s warranty while following the steps from below. Moreover, you won’t have to use complex or risky flashing tools, so you have nothing to worry about.
However, a backup operation is recommended in this case. In insolate situations users reported that some of their files got corrupted while the update was performed and others mentioned that a full wipe was initiated. So, try to avoid such unpleasant situations and secure your personal data, info, accounts and files first. You can do that easily and quickly by using the OnePlus built-in cloud storage services or through other dedicated backup and restore solutions: sync files with your Google Account, use an external storage device, or go to Google Play and download already tested backup and restore tools.
By manually installing the stock / official Android firmware on your OnePlus 6T you will manage to restore your device back to its initial, factory state. Therefore, this tutorial can be used a dedicated troubleshooting solution – it can help you address the most common Android software related issues such as: boot loops, lags, hangs, screen freeze, battery drain, heating problems, signal strength issues, total blackouts and so on. Additionally, the same manual update procedure will revoke the tweaks that were previously applied on your phone; shortly, you can now unroot your OnePlus 6T, relock the bootloader, reinstall the stock recovery image and re-apply bloatware.
For being able to apply the steps from below you have to prepare a few things as explained here:
- A computer must be used as this is a manual flashing process – on this computer you will have to download the required files.
- The OnePlus 6T drivers must be installed on the computer which will be used.
- Also, Android SDK must be set up there: learn how to install Android SDK on Windows or how to set up ADB on MAC OS X / Linux.
- Your handset and its USB cable must be near you too – you will have to connect your phone with your computer at some point.
- On your 6T you must have Developer rights enabled; you can do that by tapping repeatedly on Built Number (from Settings - > About Phone) – after 7 or 10 repeated taps you will receive the ‘you are a developer’ message.
- Next, from Developer Options (you should see it displayed within general Settings) you have to check the USB Debugging option.
- Charge your smartphone before flashing the Android update if the power is low – if a sudden shut down happens different issues might cause severe malfunctions and you can end up in soft-bricking your OnePlus 6T.
Good; now, here is how you can complete the actual manual update operation on your device:
- Download the stock firmware file that’s available for your OnePlus 6T.
- Save this file on desktop and unzip it; finally, rename the resulted file into ‘update.zip’ and transfer it inside the Android SDK folder.
- Power off your phone and then access recovery mode on your device.
- From recovery select ‘install from USB’ and pick OK to confirm.
- Now, connect your handset with your computer with the help of the USB cable.
- From the Android SDK folder open a command prompt window: press and hold the Shift keyboard key and while doing that right-click on any blank space; then select ‘open command prompt window here’.
- In this cmd window type ‘adb devices’ – your OnePlus 6T should be now recognized.
- Next, return to the cmd window and execute this command: adb sideload update.zip.
- That should be all; the firmware should be now automatically installed on your smartphone.
How to install a custom ROM firmware
If you’re an advanced Android user and you like to test everything that’s new out there, you have to learn how to update your OnePlus 6T with a custom ROM firmware. And, since we’re discussing about third-party platforms, such updates will be just great especially when the official OnePlus support will be ended.
So, a custom ROM is nothing but a free aftermarket distribution of the stock Android system. In a few words, we are talking about a ported version of the official system, which is customized and optimized to work on the OnePlus 6T. A custom ROM is an unofficial update developed by third party devs and which cannot be associated with your OEM or with Google. Now, usually, these updates are bringing features that cannot be found on the stock Android UI and other capabilities that can be used in your advantages – with the right tweaks applied, a custom ROM will run better than the official firmware and you can obtain better results on a daily basis.
As you can tell, by installing a custom ROM you have to assume a few risks. And the most relevant one is related with the warranty flag – unfortunately, you are going to lose your OnePlus 6T warranty if you choose to replace the stock Android OS with a custom ROM platform such as Lineage OS, AOKP, Paranoid Android and so on. Note: the warranty can be restored though; all you need to do is to reinstall the official Android system on your smartphone.
You can set up a custom update only in certain conditions. In our case, first of all you will have to unlock the OnePlus 6T bootloader. Then, you will need to gain root access for unlocking the Android system, which will then be modified by the new ROM. And finally, you will need to install a custom recovery image as from there you will start the update operation – in that respect we recommend the latest version of TWRP recovery.
A backup isn’t optional as a hard reset will be initiated during the flashing process from below (you will also have to clear app data cache as otherwise the new Android custom ROM won’t run properly on your device). Therefore, make sure that you first secure your contacts, call logs, texts, images, videos, audio files, market apps, internet settings, calendar info, saved passwords, EFS folder, or IMEI / NVRAM data.
Additionally, you can choose to make a Nandroid backup on your OnePlus 6T. In that way you can save the current Android OS that runs on your device. So, if the new update won’t perform as you expected you can flash the Nandroid backup package for going back to stock.
As already explained during the previous section from above, a computer is needed as there you have to download the custom ROM package. In this case you don’t have to set up Android SDK as the recovery mode menu will be used instead. But, on your OnePlus 6T you have to enable the USB Debugging option first, which can be done from Developer Options. Also, a charging process must be ensured first if the power that’s left is currently lower than 50%. And, of course, your smartphone and its USB cable are both required. Finally, do follow:
- Power on your computer and then download the custom ROM that you want to flash on your OnePlus 6T – you get choose from different solutions and a reliable source in that respect is the xda-developers.com platform.
- If required, download compatible Google Apps – certain custom ROMs are coming without Google Apps pre-loaded, situation during which you have to flash the package separately.
- Save both files on desktop.
- In the meantime switch off your Android device and wait a few moments until the shut down process is completed.
- Then, reboot recovery mode on your OnePlus 6T - use one of the tutorials mentioned above.
- In recovery perform a full wipe: select ‘wipe data factory reset’ followed by ‘wipe cache partition’ and by ‘wipe dalvick cache’.
- Return to main menu of recovery and choose ‘reboot system now’.
- Next, connect your smartphone with your computer via USB cable.
- From desktop select the downloaded files and transfer them on your phone; when done, remove the USB cord and switch off your handset.
- Once more, enter recovery mode on your Android device.
- This time tap on Install (if you’re using TWRP recovery, as otherwise select ‘install zip from SD card’ followed by ‘choose zip from SD card’) and just pick up the custom ROM package. Swipe and wait while the installation process is automatically completed.
- Optional: repeat the last step and install Google Apps on your 6T.
- When done, from main menu of recovery pick ‘reboot system now’ and enjoy as that’s all.
Good job. These are the most common methods in which updates can be applied on your OnePlus 6T. Depending on what you wish to achieve or on what you have to resolve you will have to choose what type of update to apply – just bookmark this page as who knows when you will need to use the information that was explained during this dedicated step by step guide. Also, share your update experience with us and with the other users who are trying to complete the same flashing process – you can easily and quickly get in touch with us by using the comments field from below. Enjoy and stay close for further tutorials and Android related tips and tricks compatible with your OnePlus 6T.