Earlier this year, I felt I needed to upgrade my phone (OnePlus 6) mainly due to its degraded battery and the performance hit that caused. I bought it in 2018 and it had served me well in all those years.
I started looking for options. My main requirement was clean software experience. That eliminated a lot of choices in the Android world and iOS was my last option. But I almost pulled the trigger on an iPhone 13 before I realized my current phone was still fast enough to do almost everything I need it for, which are:
- Web browsing
- Texting/calling a limited number of people
- Checking email and calendar
- Tracking my expenses
- Listening to music on Spotify
I do not need the latest and greatest hardware with an ultra fast processor and shiny new high refresh rate display for my use cases.
I wanted to keep using the same phone. So, I got its battery replaced at an authorized service centre. It costed me INR 1600 ($20) and greatly improved its battery life. I also decided to install a custom ROM for leaner Android experience because OxygenOS is not the same anymore since OxygenOS 11 and OnePlus had already ended software support for OnePlus 6 which means it would no longer receive security updates.
LineageOS was my obvious choice because I was a CyanogenMod user back in the day and it's usually the most stable of all the after market Android ROMs.
The installation process wasn't as simple as I thought it would be. But it was not hard either. I had to unlock the bootloader, install a custom recovery (I went with TWRP), install the latest LineageOS 19 build, a bare minimum Gapps package for Android 12L, and finally Magisk to pass SafetyNet test and to make my banking apps work by hiding root access.
That's it. My phone feels and functions as fast as the day I bought it and I do not have to think about buying a new phone anytime soon.