With over 500 million global active users, ColorOS is one of the most widely-used Android interfaces. While initial versions of the UI were garish and lacked cohesion, OPPO cleaned up its act in 2019 with ColorOS 7, and subsequent launches have fielded a modern interface with plenty of customizability.
ColorOS 11 introduced a customizable dark mode, new battery saving modes, much more customization options, and floating windows. Last year's ColorOS 12 built on that with a visual refresh, a Multi Connect feature that lets you connect your phone with your Windows machine and access incoming notifications, and a new Quantum Animation Engine with smoother animations throughout the UI.
As for ColorOS 13, OPPO is kicking things off with a new Aquamorphic Design language that's vibrant and fluid. There are major tweaks to the notification pane, widgets, and changes to Multi Connect and Privacy Safe, ability to create large folders, and new privacy-focused features.
But the biggest change is the integration of OxygenOS features into ColorOS. You'll find the Shelf here, and all the AOD styles that have been a mainstay on OnePlus devices for the last two years, including Bitmoji, Insight, and Canvas. Also new is Spotify integration that lets you control music playback directly from the lock screen, and Zomato/Swiggy integration for users in India.
All told, OPPO added a lot of features to ColorOS 13, and with the first beta now going out to the Find X5 Pro, here's a detailed look at all the new additions, and when your phone will pick up the Android 13-based update.
ColorOS 13: Beta is now live
OPPO officially introduced the global version of ColorOS 13 on August 18. Although it is technically a beta, ColorOS 13 uses the stable Android 13 build as the beta, and in the two weeks I used the build on my Find X5 Pro, I didn't see any issues.
The ColorOS 13 beta is limited to the Find X5 and Find X5 Pro for now, but it will become available for the Find X3 Pro and the Reno 8 Pro 5G sometime next month. I've detailed the full list of phones slated to receive the Android 13-based ColorOS 13 update and an official timeline further below, so if you're looking for that information, just head to that section.
ColorOS 13: New features
ColorOS 13 gets a new design language that makes it look a little more modern, and what's notable this time is the inclusion of features that were previously limited to OxygenOS. For now, that includes the Shelf and AOD styles, but Gary Chen, who oversees OPPO's software efforts, has confirmed in a briefing that Work-Life Balance will make its way to ColorOS in a forthcoming ColorOS 13.1 release.
We're also getting changes to the notification pane to turn it into an iOS-style split Control Center with the notifications accessible via the left and the toggles on the right, but that's not coming until a later date. And because ColorOS 13 is the foundation for OxygenOS 13 and Realme UI, this feature will carry over to those interfaces as well.
The most visible change in ColorOS 13 is the new Aquamorphic Design aesthetic. This is an evolution of the Infinite Design visual language that OPPO introduced back in 2019 with ColorOS 7, and brings with it a more modern design that's looks great on devices with QHD+ screens like the Find X5 Pro.
There's a new system font with a wider font face that makes it a little easier to read, icons with better contrast, and a cohesive card-style layout throughout the interface that looks clean and uncluttered.
OPPO is also introducing adaptive layouts that's aimed at foldables; the UI will scale dynamically if you're using the Find N foldable, and with OnePlus also set to roll out a foldable shortly, ColorOS 13 is designed to accommodate evolving screen sizes and form factors.
OPPO's Director of Software Design Xi Zeng says that the "water-inspired elements" are designed to "bring some more vitality into everyday life," and the new color palettes and cleaner layout does make ColorOS 13 look that much more vibrant when seen against previous versions.
OnePlus users know a thing or two about interesting AOD styles, and OPPO is carrying the lot over to ColorOS now. Bitmoji, Insight, and Canvas styles are included by default in ColorOS 13, and there's a new Spotify integration that lets you control music without ever leaving the lock screen. When you select an AOD style, you see a Spotify widget on the lock screen, and you can see what song is playing and control music playback directly from the widget.
The best part about the integration is that it works with all AOD styles. You'll just have to double tap on the Spotify widget to access playback controls, and this is one of my favorite additions in ColorOS 13. In a similar vein, OPPO is also integrating widgets for food delivery services in India — Zomato and Swiggy — but that particular feature isn't live just yet.
In addition, you'll find a new Home style that aims to call attention to climate change. The feature includes animated animals, and uses weather information to show how small changes can affect an animal's habitat. "The Always-On Display animations reveal the changes in the homes where animals live, based on daily temperature changes. Users can have an insight into the big world of the earth from the small screen of the mobile phone, calling on attention to climate change and the earth we live on together."
The big change coming to the home screen is the ability to increase the folder size from the standard 1x1 to 2x2. Doing so lets you open an app within a folder without having to open the folder itself, and it makes a huge difference if you use folders to organize your home screen.
The long-standing OxygenOS feature Shelf has been integrated into ColorOS, and it is just as useless here. It is basically an extension of your home screen, and you can add widgets to customize the information you get, but I don't see much utility to it, and I'd rather use the pull-down gesture for the notification pane.
The notification pane has been overhauled in ColorOS 13; a first pull-down gesture reveals two large tiles on the left and a music player tile on the right, followed by a row of five toggles underneath and the brightness slider. I like this change as it gives me a decent selection of tiles, ability to adjust the brightness, and control music playback all in one go. A second pull-down gesture surfaces the rest of the tiles — there's room for 12 on each page.
The wider rectangular tiles can be switched out, but the media player tile is unchangeable. If this layout feels familiar, it is because OxygenOS 13 uses the exact same design — in fact, there's nothing in OxygenOS 13 that you won't find here.
The Blossom Wallpaper is a pretty cool addition, and one that's just as significant as the Insight AOD style when it first debuted in OxygenOS two years ago. It's a visual representation of how much you use your phone over the course of a day; you set a usage goal, and the plant starts off as a bud in the morning and blossoms into a shoot once you hit your usage limit.
If you extend beyond that limit, the plant turns metallic — this is a fantastic way of using digital wellbeing to visualize your screen-on time, and one that's definitely useful.
Another nifty feature here is that the color of the plant will change to reflect the app that was most used within the last hour; so if you've used scrolled through Twitter, the plant will turn blue.
Multi Connect is a useful feature that lets you connect your phone with a Windows PC. With ColorOS 13, the OPPO Pad Air gets the ability to use the feature. Once connected to a Windows machine, you can move files back and forth, mirror your screen, and view incoming notifications. The feature is still limited to Windows and isn't available on macOS, and that is unlikely to change soon.
Because ColorOS 13 is built on Android 13, Multi Connect is picking up the App Streaming feature that lets you cast messages to your Chrome OS device. The changes Google introduced to Fast Pair and Nearby Share have been integrated into Multi Connect as well.
ColorOS 13 gets all the standard features Google introduced with Android 13, including auto-deletion of clipboard history, a Nearby Wi-Fi feature that ensures an app doesn't get your location information through your Wi-Fi network, and built-in safeguards against malware.
The Privacy Dashboard is still intact, and ColorOS comes with a few extras in this area: Private Safe is a great way to secure sensitive documents and photos behind biometric authentication, and you get a System Cloner feature that creates a second instance of the OS with data that's fully sandboxed from the first one.
A new feature that's debuting with ColorOS 13 is Auto Pixelate; the feature uses on-device AI to blur out user profile photos and nicknames within a screenshot. The feature works within WhatsApp as well, making it extremely straightforward to scrub sensitive details before sharing screenshots.
Meeting Assistant isn't live just yet, but the feature is designed to cut down on distractions when you're in a meeting; think of it as a gaming mode, but for work meetings instead. The feature prioritizes data of clients like Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams so you don't run into any bottlenecks during a meeting, and delivers simplified notifications to reduce distractions.
Kid Space has a suite of built-in tools to ensure children use phones safely. The eye comfort mode within ColorOS is automatically engaged when the feature is enabled, and the system uses data from the ambient light sensor to remind kids to use the device in a bright environment. It will also surface reminders when children are slouching in front of the screen, or if they're using the phone from too close a distance.
ColorOS 13: Eligible devices
In total, OPPO will deliver the Android 13-based ColorOS 13 stable build to 60 devices in its portfolio, with most phones launched in the last two years eligible for the update. The best Android phones get three guaranteed platform updates, and the mid-range Reno and high-end Find series are on the list of devices to get their third update.
Here's the official list of phones that will get the ColorOS 13 update:
- Find X5 Pro
- Find X5
- Find X3 Pro
- Find X5 Lite 5G
- Find X3 Neo 5G
- Find X3 Lite 5G
- Find X2 Pro
- Find X2 Pro Automobili Lamborghini Edition
- Find X2
- Pad Air
- Reno 8 Pro 5G
- Reno 8 5G
- Reno 8
- Reno 8 Z 5G
- Reno 8 Lite 5G
- Reno 7 Pro 5G
- Reno 7 5G
- Reno 7
- Reno7 Z 5G
- Reno 7 Lite 5G
- Reno 7 A
- Reno 6 Pro 5G
- Reno 6 Pro 5G Diwali Edition
- Reno 6 5G
- Reno 6 Z 5G
- Reno 6
- Reno 6 Lite
- Reno 5 Pro 5G
- Reno 5 Pro
- Reno 5 5G
- Reno 5 Z 5G
- Reno 5
- Reno 5 Marvel Edition
- Reno 5 F
- Reno 5 Lite
- Reno 5 A
- F21 Pro 5G
- F21 Pro
- F19 Pro+
- F19 Pro
- K10 5G
- A77 5G
- A94 5G
- A74 5G
- A54 5G
- A53s 5G
When will my phone get ColorOS 13?
OPPO has shared the official timeline for when its devices will get the ColorOS 13 update. Note that this timeline is for the beta versions, and if history is any indication, the stable Android 13-based ColorOS 13 builds should roll out within two months of the beta first becoming available.
The first round is now live and runs through October, covering most mid-range and high-end phones launched in the last 18 months. The second round runs through November and December, and includes the budget F and A series devices along with a few Reno models. Finally, the third round of updates is scheduled for the first half of 2023, covering the Pad Air and older phones.
Here's the official schedule:
- August: Find X5 Pro, Find X5
- September: Find X3 Pro, Reno 8 Pro 5G
- October: Reno 8 5G, Reno 7 Pro 5G, Reno 7 5G, Reno 7, Reno 6 5G, F21 Pro, K10 5G, A77 5G, A76
- November: Reno7 Z 5G, Reno 6 Pro 5G, Reno 6 Pro 5G Diwali Edition, Reno 6 Z 5G, Reno 5 Pro 5G, Reno 5 Pro, F21 Pro 5G, F19 Pro+, K10, A96,
- December: Find X5 Lite 5G, Find X3 Neo 5G, Find X3 Lite 5G, Find X2 Pro, Find X2 Pro Automobili Lamborghini Edition, Find X2, Reno 8, Reno 8 Z 5G, Reno 5 5G, Reno 5 Z 5G, A94 5G, A74 5G
- 2023 H1: Pad Air, Reno 8 Lite 5G, Reno 7 Lite 5G, Reno 7 A, Reno 6, Reno 6 Lite, Reno 5, Reno 5 Marvel Edition, Reno 5 F, Reno 5 Lite, Reno 5 A, F19 Pro, F19, F19s, A95, A94, A77, A74, A57, A57s, A55, A54 5G, A54s, A53s 5G, A16s
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
Get the best of Android Central in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to Android Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.