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What is ColorOS – Oppo ColorOS All You Should Know About It

What is ColorOS – ColorOS is a customized version of Android, developed by the Chinese smartphone company Oppo for their wide range of smartphones. With roots dating back to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in 2012, ColorOS has come a long way with many significant updates over the years. It aims to deliver an enhanced and optimized software experience targeted at Asian markets.

In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at what ColorOS is, its various features, evolution, customizations, and how it compares to stock Android as well as other popular Android skins.

What is ColorOS? / Oppo ColorOS

ColorOS is Oppo’s customized user interface that runs on top of Android on Oppo smartphones and devices. It features a major visual overhaul of stock Android with custom icons, themes, animations, and design elements. The core objective is to differentiate Oppo devices from other Android phones through unique software capabilities, experiences, and interfaces.

Oppo ColorOS Key Specs

Some of the key attributes and philosophy behind ColorOS include:

Oppo ColorOS Key SpecsWhat is ColorOS
  • Unified experience across Oppo devices
  • Focus on design aesthetics with beautiful wallpapers and icons
  • Crafted animations to deliver a smooth and enjoyable user experience
  • Visual customizations like themes and AOD (always-on display)
  • Optimized performance especially for gaming and multi-media
  • Addition of value-added features over stock Android
  • Regular updates to continuously evolve the software

As of 2022, ColorOS is based on Android 12 and comes integrated with Oppo smartphones out-of-the-box.

Evolution of ColorOS

The journey of ColorOS started in April 2012 when the first version based on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was launched. With a focus on the Chinese market initially, it featured major visual enhancements along with useful additions like motion gestures, floating windows, and security enhancements.

Subsequent versions kept pace with new Android releases while continuously adding more custom features and design refreshes. Some of the major updates include:

2012/2013 – ColorOS 1.0

ColorOS 1.0 was released on September 23, 2013. It features;

  • The first version of ColorOS based on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Focused on the Chinese market
  • Added custom icons, themes, animations
  • Introduced motion and air gestures

2014 – ColorOS 2.0

ColorOS 2.0 was released in July 2014 based on Android KitKat, it features;

  • Updated to Android KitKat
  • Refined icons, animations, and visual design
  • Added security tools and performance improvements

2017 – ColorOS 3.0

ColorOS 3.0 was released in March 2017 with a major UI overhaul. It features

  • Major UI revamp with new iconography and visual style
  • Improved one-handed usage and one-finger navigation
  • Added app cloning, 3D facial recognition

2018 – ColorOS 5.0

ColorOS 5.0 was released in Apr 2018 based on Android Oreo. It features;

  • Updated to Android Oreo foundation
  • Faster face unlock, gaming mode, riding mode introduced
  • Lighter and faster performance

2019 – ColorOS 6.0

ColorOS 6.0 was released in June 2019 with system-wide dark mode. It features;

  • Brand new UI design with system-wide dark mode
  • Digital well-being features added
  • Smooth visual animations and transitions

2019 – ColorOS 7.0

ColorOS 7.0 was released in Nov 2019 and redesigned with a borderless aesthetic. It features;

  • Design made more minimalist and refined
  • New borderless aesthetic with vivid wallpapers
  • Improved privacy tools and file management

2020 – ColorOS 11

ColorOS 11 was released in 2020, and updated to Android 11 with a productivity focus. It features;

  • Major update based on Android 11
  • Productivity-focused features like FlexDrop, and Focus Mode added
  • Smoother 90Hz/120Hz display compatibility

2021 – ColorOS 12

ColorOS 12 was released in Sep 2021 and redesigned again based on Android 12. It features;

  • Complete redesign inspired by Android 12
  • Material You dynamic theming support added
  • Optimization for one-hand usage and visually impaired

2022 – ColorOS 13

ColorOS 13 was released on August 10, 2022. It features

  • Released in mid-2022 based on Android 13
  • More fluid interface, improved privacy and security

2023 – ColorOS 14

ColorOS 14 was released on November 16, 2023. It features;

  • Released in 2023 with Android 14 base
  • Possible advancement in AI features and smart connectivity

With each update, Oppo has focused on smoothening out rough edges, enhancing customization options, reducing bloatware, and improving performance and security. This has significantly improved the ColorOS software over the years.

Oppo ColorOS Features and Customizations

Compared to stock Android, ColorOS packs in a ton of additional features and customization options, which makes it possible to create a differentiated experience. Here are some of the most notable ones:

ColorOS Features and Customizations
  • Redesigned icons, themes, wallpapers, and AOD displays
  • Optimized gaming mode with Foresight feature to manage resources
  • App Cloner to run dualize the same app
  • FlexDrop for floating window multitasking
  • Three-finger screenshot for full scrolling capture
  • Kids Space with parental controls and eye protection
  • Focus Mode to avoid distractions by blocking apps
  • Private Safe, for securing photos, videos, and files
  • Convenience features like a smart sidebar, lock screen passwords, and more

On the downside, ColorOS is still criticized for excessive bloatware on some models with lots of pre-installed apps. There are also limited options for more advanced customization like icon packs.

How Does ColorOS Compare to Stock Android and Other Skins?

Compared to the clean stock Android experience on Pixel devices, for example, ColorOS takes a different approach with an extensive visual makeover and the addition of many value-added features. This expanded functionality and customization comes at the cost of diverging from Google’s vision for Android.

Among other third-party Android skins, ColorOS is most comparable to Xiaomi’s MIUI interface targeted at the Chinese audience. Both skins add a host of custom features and redesign elements on top of Android. ColorOS appears to be better optimized than MIUI with smoother performance and less bloatware.

OneUI by Samsung offers a more refined interface than ColorOS with a focus on one-handed ergonomics. OxygenOS by OnePlus still manages to keep the stock Android feel while adding customizations. Overall, ColorOS strikes a good balance by retaining the core Android experience while significantly enhancing it.


ColorOS delivers a heavily customized Android experience with aesthetic redesign and useful add-on features. It has significantly improved over the years with smoother performance and visual overhaul. For Oppo device owners, it provides a distinct and enriched user experience compared to stock Android. With continuous evolution planned for future releases, ColorOS can be said to become an even more personalized and optimized software experience tailored for Oppo’s global user base.

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