OnePlus will give users the option to opt out of data collection when setting up an OxygenOS phone for the first time by the end of October.
As it has a tendency to do every now and then, OnePlus found itself in hot water earlier this week when users were reminded as to just how much personal data OnePlus smartphones were collecting and sending back to the company. Essentially, the operating system on OnePlus devices (OxygenOS) has a “user experience program” that users are automatically entered into.
The goal of the program is to collect data from phones so that OnePlus can then analyze it and then provide better customer service as a result, and while there was your typical stuff such as which apps were being installed on phones, how they’re being used, etc., OnePlus was also collecting IMEI numbers, Wi-Fi network information, MAC addresses, and telephone numbers.
OnePlus responded to us shortly after people started raising a fuss, and while this helped to clear some things up, the company co-founder, Carl Pei, has since issued a more formal response in the form of a blog post on OnePlus’s forums.
By the end of the month, customers will be able to opt out of data collection from day one.
Pei starts out by reiterating a number of times just how much OnePlus values its customers’ personal information, and he reminds everyone that you can choose to opt out of the company’s data collection practices by going to Settings -> Advanced -> Join user experience program. This reminder is nice, but it’s not readily apparent that you can do this without a proper explanation first.
Thankfully, by the end of October, OnePlus will be adding a new prompt when setting up an OxygenOS device for the first time that will give customers the option of opting in or out of the program right out of the box.
Although this is something that should have been made available in the first place, it is a step in the right direction. Pei doesn’t outline why OnePlus was collecting MAC addresses, Wi-Fi networks, and other info to begin with, but I wouldn’t hold your breath for a proper explanation on that anytime soon.