Your OnePlus phone may soon lock most Google Camera magic

Despite many missteps, OnePlus has enjoyed a strong following of fans that believe in the upstart's vision for smartphones. In the past months, however, it may have been increasingly obvious that the company is heading in a totally different direction. Part of that is probably being blamed on OnePlus' "merger" with cousin OPPO, and the effects of this change are now being felt in a very negative way. In addition to being terribly buggy, OxygenOS 12 might also be bringing in too much of OPPO's ColorOS, including the way it closes the doors on some features that OnePlus users have been enjoying for quite a while now.

Google Camera Magic

Google has had its own proprietary Android camera app since 2014, but it didn't really become popular until it landed in the first Pixel phone in 2016. It was, to some extent, responsible for the success of Google's phones in the photography department, utilizing software to compensate for the relatively middling 12MP cameras that Pixel phones would use for years. The app is officially exclusive to Pixel phones, but, Android being Android, there are ways to install it on other phones. Unofficially, of course.

In fact, there might be too many modified Google Camera apps floating around, and getting the right one for your phone can be an adventure itself. If you do hit the jackpot, though, you'll be able to enjoy some of the camera magic that the app has to offer on Pixel phones, if you can also stomach some bugs and missing features that come with it. It's not a perfect experience, but it might still be better than the stock camera apps that your phone's manufacturer provides.

That magical experience might be over for OnePlus owners who have been enjoying these unofficial Google Camera versions for years. Android Police reports that many developers are confirming that Google Camera mods are only able to use the phone's primary camera sensor and nothing else, which may be the telephoto and ultra-wide cameras. Even worse, this means that any other app that uses Google Camera, which may have been set as the default camera app, won't be able to access those other sensors either.

OPPO Takeover

This change happened only after the upgrade from Android 11 to Android 12 via OxygenOS 12. That upgrade has already been pulled out because of the numerous bugs that plagued OnePlus 9 owners. This revelation doesn't do it any favor, and unofficial GCam developers are advising users to stay away from OxygenOS 12 or from OnePlus completely.

The latter might sound extreme, but that might be the exact sentiments of some OnePlus fans. At the heart of the OxygenOS 12 update is the switch to OPPO's ColorOS as the base. Coincidentally, the report notes that ColorOS also blocks GCam mods this way, so it is something that OxygenOS is just inheriting.

If that's the case, then OxygenOS won't be a simple skin on top of ColorOS. OnePlus more or less promised that its merged software with OPPO won't significantly impact the user experience, at least in terms of favorite features. Granted, the ability to use a modded Google app without issue isn't exactly an officially advertised feature, but recent events also cast some doubt on OnePlus' ability to keep its end of the bargain.