OnePlus 5 owners can follow this guide to unbrick their device or simply return the software back to factory stock OxygenOS.
Various OEMs have different ways to flash factory stock version of Android back onto the devices they sell. For Google, this includes downloading the factory images from their website and executing a simple flash-all script from the terminal or command prompt. For Samsung, this involves finding the firmware from somewhere on the internet and then using a piece of software called Odin.
For the OnePlus 5 though, this includes downloading a specific recovery tool for your device and using a piece of software called MSM Download Tool.
There have been ways to unbrick the OnePlus 5 for a couple of months now, but those actually installed the Chinese version of OnePlus’ software (called HydrogenOS). This isn’t what I wanted and adding in additional steps to transition back over to OxygenOS seemed unnecessary. So today I am able to lay out the complete process for how to unbrick the OnePlus 5 and soon to be OnePlus 5T while also installing the factory stock version of OxygenOS onto it.
This will help you to accept OTA updates, reset the device before selling it, and more.
Unbrick the OnePlus 5
- Disable Driver Signature Enforcement in Windows (Method 2)
- Download and Extract the Drivers (OnePlus 5)
- Download and Extract the Recovery Tool (OnePlus 5)
- Shut down the OnePlus 5
- Open up Device Manager from within Windows
- Press and hold the Volume Up button for about 10 seconds
- While holding the Volume Up button, connect the OnePlus 5 to the PC with a USB cable
- Continue holding the Volume Up button for a few more seconds until a new device shows up in Device Manager
- Skip to Step 17 if the OnePlus 5 shows up as Qualcomm 9008
- This could be Unknown Device, QHUSB_BULK (under Unknown Devices) or Qualcomm HS USB (under COMs and Ports)
- Install the OnePlus 5 USB driver from Step 2
- When the OnePlus 5 shows up as a Qualcomm 9008 device, you can proceed to Step 17
- Go into the extracted Recovery Tool folder
- Right click the MsmDownloadTool file
- Click on the Run As Administrator option
- Grant Administrator access so it can be opened
- Then click the Start button in the top left corner to begin the process
- Wait until the process completes (you should see green text)
- Unplug the OnePlus 5 from the PC after the phone reboots by itself
- Wait for the OnePlus 5 to boot back into OxygenOS
For those who are familiar with the unbrick process for OnePlus devices, this will feel right at home as it is essentially the same as the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. The most difficult part will likely involve getting Windows to disable Driver Signature Enforcement and/or getting the OnePlus 5 to show up properly in the Device Manager. This simply involves having USB drivers from OnePlus installed so even that shouldn’t be very difficult.
Once you’re in the special Windows mode as detailed in Step 1, you can go ahead and download the drivers (just in case) and the recovery tool. From here, go ahead and power down the OnePlus 5 so that we can boot it up into a special mode. This involves holding down the Volume Up button for about 10 seconds, and while still holding that button down you want to plug in a USB cable that is already connected to the PC.
Some recommend using the stock USB cable but it worked just fine on my Anker cable. Just know that the cable could be the cause if you’re running into some sort of trouble. Once the USB cable is plugged in, continue holding the Volume Up button for a few seconds until you see a new device added to the Windows Device Manager. If you’re having driver issues, it will be listed under Unknown Devices or something similar but if you’re good to go then you should see a device labeled Qualcomm 9008 listed under the COMs and Ports section.
Now, we can just launch the recovery tool with Administrator access granted (the MSMDownloadTool.exe file) and you should see the OnePlus 5 recognized in one of your COM ports here. The only thing left to do is to press the Start button at the top left of the recovery tool program and then wait patiently for it to complete. You can follow along with the embedded video above, but the text in your COM port section of the recovery tool will turn green when it has completed successfully.
You’ll also notice that the OnePlus 5 has automatically rebooted and it will reconfigure itself before taking you to the OxygenOS activation screen. With the OnePlus 3/3T, I ran into an issue with this recovery tool one time (out of many) that caused the process to stop half way through. If this happens to you, simply close it out and launch it as an Administrator again. Whatever the cause is, I had to restart the process at least a dozen times before the unbrick process completed.