Root OnePlus 8T using Magisk (Without TWRP) & Install OxygenOS OTA Updates after Rooting

How to Root OnePlus 8T using Magisk and Install OxygenOS OTA Updates after Rooting

In this guide, we will show you how to root the OnePlus 8T using Magisk, without having to install TWRP recovery at all. Further, we will also show you how to install OxygenOS OTA updates on your rooted phone. These instructions will work on any OnePlus 8T running Android 11 (OxygenOS 11) software.

Rooting your phone with Magisk not only allows you to use root applications but also enables you to apply modifications to your phone’s software systemless-ly. That is without actually mounting or altering the system partition. While TWRP for the OnePlus 8T isn’t available at the moment, it should be out any day.

But if you do not plan on flashing custom ROMs and just want to root your phone, then installing TWRP isn’t even necessary. Moreover, you can always boot TWRP temporarily (using the fastboot boot command) and use it to flash custom ROMs, mods, take NANDroid backups, etc.

For those who do not know – it is possible to install Magisk and root your OnePlus 8T without installing TWRP at all. This could be done using what we call the “Magisk Patched Boot method“. This alternate method of installing Magisk and rooting involves patching the phone’s stock boot image file through Magisk Manager and then flashing the resultant patched boot image to the phone via Fastboot.

This simply makes the whole rooting process much more straightforward, less time-consuming, and also enables you to easily take OTA updates on your OnePlus 8T after rooting.

Table of Contents

Before You Begin

Let’s start with a couple of things you should do first before performing the instructions below.

1. Take a Complete Backup: Rooting your OnePlus 8T using the instructions provided here will not erase any data. However, it’s a good practice to take a complete backup of all your important data beforehand. This will create a failsafe and safeguard your data in case it’s lost due to corruption or a bad flash.

If you want, you could also take a look at our in-depth tutorial on backing up Android devices.

2. Install OnePlus USB Drivers: If you’re operating on a Windows computer, it will generally install the required USB drivers for your phone automatically. But that’s not always the case, and especially when working with ADB and Fastboot. So, it’s best that you install the latest OnePlus USB drivers on your computer.

If you’re operating on a macOS or Linux computer, you will not need any additional drivers at all.

3. Charge your Phone: Make sure that your OnePlus 8T has a sufficient battery charge so that it doesn’t turn off accidentally while performing the instructions. We suggest having at least 40% battery charge before you begin.

4. Unlock your OnePlus 8T’s Bootloader: In order to root, or flash the device partitions, you must first unlock your OnePlus 8T’s bootloader. This is extremely simple and could be done by issuing a fastboot command from your computer.

How to Root OnePlus 8T using Magisk

The steps below will take you through the process of rooting the OnePlus 8T using Magisk, without having to install or use TWRP at all. We have split the instructions into six steps so that’s it’s easier for you to understand the whole process.

Requirements:

The only things you’ll need to perform these instructions are:

  • Your OnePlus 8T with an unlocked bootloader
  • A Windows, Linux, or Mac computer
  • And, a compatible USB Type-C cable (preferably the one that came in the box)

Step 1: Install Android SDK Platform-Tools on your Computer

The rooting process involves using the fastboot tool to flash the patched boot image. So, the first step is to download the Android SDK platform-tools (which includes fastboot) and install them on your computer.

To do this, download the latest version of the tools according to your PC’s operating system:

Once the platform-tools package has been downloaded, extract its contents on your computer using the in-built archive utility or 7-Zip. The extracted ‘platform-tools’ folder should contain the ADB, Fastboot, and other tool binaries.

For easier access, we suggest that you move the ‘platform-tools’ folder to the C:\ drive on your Windows computer, or to the ‘Documents’ directory on a Linux/Mac machine.

Step 2: Launch the Command-line Inside ‘platform-tools’ Folder

With the required tools now installed, you need to launch the PowerShell/Terminal window on your PC inside the working directory (i.e. the ‘platform-tools’ folder). If you’re experienced with using the command-line, you could alternatively add the platform-tools to your computer’s PATH.

To do this:

  • On Windows: Go to C:\platform-tools. Hold the SHIFT key on the keyboard and right-click on any empty space inside the folder. Then select the ‘Open PowerShell window here’ option.
    Launch Windows PowerShell inside 'platform-tools' folder
  • On Linux/Mac: Launch the Terminal and use the cd command to change its directory to the ‘platform-tools’ folder. For example: If you moved the folder inside the ‘Documents’ directory, then the command should be:
    cd Document/platform-tools

    Launch macOS/Linux Terminal inside 'platform-tools' folder

At this point, you have everything ready and set up on your computer for carrying out the flashing later during the steps. Keep the PowerShell/Terminal window open as you’ll need it later during the instructions.

Command-line Usage: When entering the mentioned Fastboot commands, make sure to prepend them with a dot and backslash [.\] in Windows PowerShell or a dot and forward slash [./] on Mac/Linux Terminal.

Step 3: Download the Stock Boot Image

Now, you have to download the stock boot image for the OxygenOS version currently installed on your OnePlus 8T. You can download boot images for all models and OxygenOS versions from this repository.

Each boot image is packed inside a compressed ZIP package. So, make sure that you extract the ZIP to get the boot image file. Once extracted, copy the boot.img file inside the “Download” folder of your phone’s internal storage. Although you can place the file anywhere on the internal storage, we prefer the Download folder so that it’s easier to locate.

Copy boot image inside 'Download' folder on your OnePlus 8T

Important notes:

  • It is very important that you use the boot image that matches the OxygenOS version installed on your phone. Using and flashing a mismatching boot will result in a boot loop or cause errors like WiFi/mobile network not working.
  • It’s best to avoid using pre-patched boot images provided by others. When you self-patch the boot image in Magisk Manager, it takes and stores a backup of the stock boot, which is necessary for both uninstalling Magisk (unrooting), as well as for installing OTA updates after rooting. If you use a pre-patched boot, Magisk Manager won’t be able to store a backup.
  • Do not patch your OnePlus 8T’s boot image on a different device. This is because Magisk Manager defines configs based on the device it’s running on (Here’s the full explanation by John Wu).

Step 4: Patch the Stock Boot Image via Magisk Manager

With the boot image now transferred to your phone, it’s time to patch it via Magisk Manager.

So, download the APK file of the latest Magisk Manager from the official Github page. Once downloaded, install the APK on your phone (Not sure how? See: How to Install an APK file).

Next, go to the app drawer and launch the Magisk Manager application on your OnePlus 8T. Then press the settings icon (cogwheel) on the top-right of the app’s window and press the ‘Update channel‘ option. Select ‘Beta‘ from the list and go back to the app’s main screen. Not needed anymore as Magisk v21 is now available on the Stable channel as well.

 

Now press the “Install” button in Magisk Manager and select “Select and Patch a File” from the list of available installation methods. This should instantly open the file selection window for you to choose the file you want to patch with Magisk. So, navigate to the location where you transferred the boot image (‘Download’ folder) and select it.

Patch OnePlus 8T stock boot image with Magisk Manager

Once the file has been selected, press “LET’S GO!” to patch the file. Magisk Manager will download the latest version of Magisk and patch the boot image with it.

OnePlus 8T boot image successfully patched with Magisk

After the process finishes, the patched boot image (magisk_patched.img) will be stored inside the ‘Download‘ folder of your phone’s internal storage. Connect your OnePlus 8T to the computer and copy the patched boot image inside the ‘platform-tools‘ folder.

Move OnePlus 8T Patched Boot Image inside 'platform-tools' folder

Step 5: Boot your OnePlus 8T into Fastboot Mode

In order for fastboot to recognize your OnePlus 8T and flash the patched boot image, it must be booted into Fastboot Mode.

To do this, hold the Power key of your phone to bring up the Power menu and select ‘Power off’. Once the phone is completely turned off, hold the Volume Up, Volume Down, and Power keys together until you see the Fastboot screen.

See detailed instructions on how to enter Fastboot and Recovery modes on OnePlus 8T

Here’s what it will look like:

Boot your OnePlus 8T into Fastboot Mode

With your OnePlus 8T in Fastboot Mode, connect it to the computer using the USB cable.

Step 6: Flash the Patched Boot Image to root OnePlus 8T

With everything now ready, it’s time to flash the patched boot image and root your OnePlus 8T with Magisk.

First, enter the following command in the PowerShell/Terminal window to ensure that your PC can communicate with the phone over the fastboot interface.

fastboot devices

Verify fastboot connection using 'fastboot devices' command

The command should return your phone’s unique ID. In case it doesn’t, then make sure that you have the required USB drivers installed and restart your PC.

Finally, enter the following fastboot command to flash the Magisk patched boot image and root your OnePlus 8T.

fastboot flash boot magisk_patched.img

Flash the Patched Boot Image to root OnePlus 8T using Magisk

Once the file has been flashed, reboot the phone back into the system (OS) using the following command.

fastboot reboot

That’s it! Your phone is now rooted with Magisk. To verify this, simply launch the ‘Magisk Manager’ app and check the installation status. You can further check if your rooted OnePlus 8T passes SafetyNet by pressing the ‘Check SafetyNet’ button in Magisk Manager.

OnePlus 8T successfully rooted with Magisk

SafetyNet fails and shows ‘Hardware’ evalType? It means that Google’s new hardware-backed attestation is now in effect on your phone. If so, here’s how to fix SafetyNet on devices with hardware attestation.

Now go ahead and start using root applications like Titanium Backup. You could also hide root from banking and security apps that might generally not work on a rooted device. From Magisk v20.4 onwards, Magisk Hide is turned off by default on new installations. So, you will need to turn it ON manually by going to Magisk Manager settings.

You could install some famous mods like ViPER4Android, EdXposed Framework, and more. With Magisk, you also have the ability to apply modifications to the software systemless-ly using modules, like OnePlus Sans Font, FOSSAPPS, etc.

Installing OxygenOS OTA Updates on Rooted OnePlus 8T

Now that we are done with the rooting part, let’s talk about something that’s a major concern for every user after rooting their phone, i.e. OTA updates. On a traditional A-only device, installing OTA updates would require completely unrooting first.

However, with the new A/B partition system, it is possible to easily install OxygenOS OTA updates on your OnePlus 8T after rooting it, using Magisk. This also allows your phone to stay rooted even after installing the update so you wouldn’t need to go through the trouble of rooting your phone again. A more detailed explanation could be found on this page.

To install OTA updates on your rooted OnePlus 8T:

  1. First, enable the Developer Options screen on your phone.
  2. Go to “Settings” → “Developer options” and disable the “Automatic system updates” option. This will prevent your OnePlus 8T from automatically installing OTA updates in the background.
    Disable Automatic System Updates on OnePlus 8T
  3. Next, open the Magisk Manager application, select “Uninstall”, and choose the “Restore Images” option. Magisk will restore your phone’s stock boot image that was backed up during the rooting process.
    Restore stock boot image on OnePlus 8T through Magisk Manager
  4. Now go to “Settings” → “System” → “System updates” and select “Download and Install Now” to install the OxygenOS OTA update on your rooted OnePlus 8T.
    Install OxygenOS OTA update on Rooted OnePlus 8T
  5. After the update finishes, DO NOT REBOOT the phone. Since you restored the stock boot image, the root access will be lost if your reboot right now.
  6. Now open Magisk Manager, press “Install” and select “Install to Inactive Slot (After OTA)” from the list of available methods.
    Install Magisk to Inactive Slot on OnePlus 8T
  7. Finally, select “Let’s Go” to confirm and install Magisk to the inactive slot (where the OxygenOS OTA has been installed).
    Reboot OnePlus 8T after Magisk is installed to inactive slot
  8. After Magisk is installed, reboot your phone by pressing the ‘Reboot’ button.

That’s it! Your OnePlus 8T will now boot into the updated OxygenOS software with Magisk root still intact. You can repeat this same process every time a new OxygenOS OTA update is available for your phone.

Tip: In case the OTA installation fails at step #4 above and shows an error, you could alternatively download the latest OxyenOS full ROM from here and install it using Local Upgrade. Once done, follow step #5 and onwards.

So by now, you have learned how to root the OnePlus 8T using Magisk (without TWRP), and also how to install OTA updates after rooting. You can always unroot and restore the stock OxygenOS software on your 8T by following the instructions here. On the other hand, if your phone ever gets bricked (or shows the Qualcomm Crashdump mode screen), then you can easily unbrick the OnePlus 8T using MSMDownload tool.

If you have any questions or feel stuck while performing the instructions, let us know. Please make sure that you mention your device name, model number, and the installed OxygenOS version.