The OnePlus Open is a stellar Android foldable, with OxygenOS really being its only sticking point with random bugs and quirks that really just drag the experience down. And, as if to pile on, it’s now been revealed that the OnePlus Open revives the Facebook/Meta bloatware that we thought the brand’s phones were rid of.
Back in 2020, OnePlus was under fire for its choice to start pre-installing select Facebook apps on the OnePlus 8 series. The apps couldn’t be removed and had the ability to force updates for Facebook (now Meta) apps such as Instagram. The supposed benefit of apps, including “Facebook Services” was that the apps would eat up less battery life.
Unsurprisingly, customers were furious, and OnePlus backtracked the choice later that same year on the OnePlus 8T and promised it wouldn’t happen on future devices “for the foreseeable future.”
Well, here we are on a future device, and it’s happening again.
The OnePlus Open, the brand’s first foldable and most expensive release ever at $1,699, ships with pre-installed bloatware from Meta. There are three apps installed as system apps on the device, including “Facebook-installer” and “Facebook-services,” which appear as “Meta App Installer” and “Meta Services” in OxygenOS. The third app is “Meta App Manager,” which is still installed as a system app but doesn’t appear in the same “bigball” location as the other two apps.
The apps were highlighted by @1NormalUsername on Twitter/X, and 9to5Google has confirmed that they are installed on our own OnePlus Open review unit.
These are the same three apps that OnePlus installed on devices back in 2020, just now branded as “Meta” apps instead of “Facebook.”
The apps aren’t bloatware in the traditional sense, where they are apps you can see in the app drawer, but rather, they serve the purpose of letting Facebook/Meta get around the Play Store for specific tasks. The installer app, for instance, can force updates on Meta apps, even if you initially downloaded them from the Play Store. Just like in 2020, too, these apps have system privileges that include installing apps and app updates and seeing information on the device. The installer app also explicitly has permission to “download without notification.”
Facebook, Instagram, and other Meta apps are not pre-installed on the Open, though, and none of this appears on the OnePlus 11 either.
OnePlus actually previously confirmed that it would be doing this to Gadgets360 in a statement that went under the radar back in October, just prior to the Open’s public launch. There, OnePlus said to the outlet that it “worked closely with a variety of mainstream app developers to ensure their apps are compatible with” the phone’s “new foldable design, enhancing the user experience.” OnePlus never specifically commented on why Facebook apps are pre-installed or why it backtracked on its previous commitment to avoid doing literally exactly this.
We reached out for further comment, but OnePlus still wouldn’t comment on why it backtracked the 2020 decision to stop installing these apps. OnePlus’ statement positions the inclusion of these apps as relating to optimization for the foldable nature of the Open but doesn’t mention any of the “extremely meaningful” results of said optimization.
OnePlus prioritizes delivering a swift, smooth, and untroubled customer experience above all else. For the introduction of OnePlus Open, we’ve worked closely with a variety of mainstream app developers to ensure their apps are compatible with our new foldable design, enhancing the user experience. This includes Facebook, a widely used mobile app, in our targeted markets. The work required substantial effort from both parties, and we believe the results are not only significant but also extremely meaningful for our foldable device users.
To provide the best user experience, a small number of the applications mentioned will come pre-installed on the OnePlus Open. We believe this approach strikes the right balance between delivering a novel and seamless user experience while preserving the stability and security of our products.
Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.
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