PSA: T-Mobile OnePlus 6T software is already behind unlocked variant

By | 1st November 2018

  • The T-Mobile OnePlus 6T variant ships with an already-outdated version of OxygenOS.
  • The version of OxygenOS present on the device is missing key features as compared to the unlocked variant, such as the app switching gesture.
  • Neither OnePlus nor T-Mobile have announced a date for a new software update.


For the first time ever in the United States, there is a specific carrier variant of a OnePlus device: the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T. Although the unlocked variant and the T-Mobile variant look the same on the outside, inside is a different story.

When one removes the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T from the box and turns it on, the version of OxygenOS present on the device is already outdated (version 9.0, as confirmed by T-Mobile’s site) as compared to the available update to the unlocked variant (version 9.0.4). This is not uncommon for smartphones; however, it is quite unusual in this case because version 9.0 of OxygenOS is missing some key features.

What’s worse, neither T-Mobile nor OnePlus have revealed a date when the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T will get a software update to bring it up-to-date as compared with its unlocked sibling.

What’s missing?

At least two heavily-promoted features are missing from the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T when you take it out of the box, as well as at least one minor feature.

The first feature missing is the enhanced Portrait Mode which brings in a new algorithmic lighting technique OnePlus referred to as Studio Lighting during its OnePlus 6T keynote. This feature didn’t ship with unlocked devices either, but the most recent OxygenOS update for the unlocked 6T variant (ONEPLUS A6013_41_181024) enabled the photography tool.

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The next feature missing is the gesture which allows you to easily swap back-and-forth between two apps. Without this gesture, users are still stuck opening the overview page and manually selecting the previous app.

Additionally, the redesigned About Phone screen is missing as well. This inessential (but nice) feature is available in the latest stable release for the unlocked OnePlus 6T.

Finally, new Nightscape upgrades, Screen Unlock upgrades, various bug fixes and improvements, and the latest Android security patch are also missing from the T-Mobile variant — all of which are present on the unlocked variant.

What’s more, all the features described above are available in the latest Open Beta 6 for the OnePlus 6.

Will updates always be behind?

Since the unlocked variant of the OnePlus 6T receives updates directly from OnePlus, it’s inevitable that the T-Mobile variant will get slower updates if for no other reason than the fact T-Mobile has to approve and distribute those updates. OnePlus admits as much in this official forum post here.

However, one would hope OnePlus and T-Mobile would work hard to keep the two different variants as synced as possible, and the fact that the T-Mobile variant is behind the curve right as you take it out of the box is a bad sign.

We reached out to both OnePlus and T-Mobile to find out what this current disparity in OxygenOS updates means for T-Mobile customers who buy the OnePlus 6T through their carrier. However, we did not receive responses before press time.

NEXT: OnePlus 6T pop-up shop: My time spent with OnePlus fanatics