Hotdogg Wars - Attack of the Support Drones

Further developments on this front. As you may have seen, the previous blog post has been picked up by the AndroidPolice1, so hopefully some form of fix will be forthcoming.

A friend of mine, who was in the same situation, managed to secure a replacement device from T-Mobile. At my instruction, he used the built-in OnePlusLogKit app to capture the OTA update url for the phone. Strangely enough, the update given to him was a direct update from 10.0.13HD61CB to 10.0.19HD61CB, and this is very big news for all of us.

Once again, it was a delta update, which means it cannot save those of us stuck in update limbo, but it proves that someone, somewhere has full roms of each of these versions. OTA updates are produced by a tool, ota_from_target_files2, which can produce both delta and full updates. You would first produce say, the first version (lets call it version 1) and then after you have enough fixes and updates to warrant pushing a new update to your users, you produce the other version, lets call it version 2. Now you could push the full update to users and just call it done, but as the name implies, a full update is just that, full. It contains all the files and partitions, even if most of them are the exact same as the previous versions. To save on bandwidth and storage space, you can use both full OTAs to create a delta OTA. The process is documented here3.

Again, this means someone (T-Mobile, OnePlus, some third party) has the full OTA packages, and one of the parties in question is refusing to release them. OnePlus is pointing the finger at T-Mobile4, and T-Mobile is pointing the finger at OnePlus5. One of them is lying to their customers, who paid $900 for what is otherwise a great phone. Further, I can quote6 one of the @TMobileHelp drones as saying “However, once the bootloader is unlocked, even if the phone isn’t rooted, the device will then stop receiving the updates”. I don’t need to tell you how bullshit that is, I think. There is literally no reason to do so, as non-carrier OnePlus devices do not have this issue, switching to full OTAs after their update app detects you have unlocked the bootloader (how they do that I’m unsure. Perhaps there is some api it queries, or perhaps its as simple as it notices the crucial file reserve.img is missing).

Written on January 20, 2020