Ubuntu Touch OTA-7 Release

Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Just one month after the OTA-6 release, we are now shipping Ubuntu Touch OTA-7! OTA-7 is appearing as a staged rollout for all supported Ubuntu Touch devices over the next 5 days, completing on Sunday, January 13. You can skip to How to get OTA-7 to get it now if you're impatient, or read on to learn more about this release.

What's new?

OTA-7 is the release where we take a breath and focus on getting the launch just right. We tracked it with a new tool and focused on making this a more disciplined release - only bugs which were assigned to a developer or fixed with an existing PR were added to the board.

Keyboard love

Kugi Eusebio contributed support for keyboard theming in this cycle. This improvement enables users to change the color scheme of the keyboard. Nine preset themes are included in a range of light or dark, bordered or flat.

Themes can be selected in Settings -> Language & Text -> Keyboard theme. You can take a shortcut to Language & Text by long-pressing on the "Language" button on the keyboard and then selecting Settings.

Odoo - Sample 1 for three columns


Odoo - Sample 2 for three columns


Odoo - Sample 3 for three columns

Vincas Dargis contributed a keyboard layout for Lithuanian as well. Thank you, Vincas, for your first code contribution to the Ubuntu Touch operating system!

There was also a fix for the Swiss-French keyboard layout, which previously failed to load.

Morph Browser

The Morph Browser has seen a host of improvements thanks to Chris Clime. His contributions include:

These changes make Morph a seriously useful browser for most day-to-day tasks and truly demonstrate the power of having a supportive community behind a project. With that and the right tools we have achieved all of this in just a few short months.

Updates for Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 2013 [wifi only version]

If you've previously had trouble installing Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus 7 2013, Wi-Fi only, this update overcame that issue. There was a quiet hardware revision to the Nexus 7 2013 that introduced a new memory chip. This change happened around the time that Google shipped Android 5.1 for the Nexus 7, so most devices which shipped with Android 5.1 had this revision. Ubuntu Touch was not updated to support that chip until now.

The Nexus 4 also had a fix to enable kernel modules which were not included with OTA-5 and 6. This means that more cryptographic ciphers are now available for use on the Nexus 4.

Porters rejoice!

As mentioned at the very end of the notes on the OTA-6 release, OTA-7 features a new and updated Libhybris!

Libhybris is the tool we use to "translate" between Android drivers and a GNU libc-based userspace. Put simply, it's the magic that lets us do wondrous things. This update brings us in line with the latest upstream source, allowing us to bring new stability fixes and performance improvements in quickly. We also have the new Android "N" linker, enabling Ubuntu Touch to use most drivers from Android 7.1 devices.

We've also introduced a new android-caf Mir platform. This allows Mir to use Qualcomm display drivers on Android 7.1.

Both of these changes make it much easier to port Ubuntu Touch to new devices using Halium.


A full changelog for this release follows. This does not include fixes and improvements gained from upstream Ubuntu, just the changes made by Ubuntu Touch contributors during this cycle:

Thank you

We'd like to extend our appreciation to everyone who made this release possible. To all the many authors (and thanks especially to the Libhybris upstream team!) who helped us fix the 17 closed tickets in this release.

How can I help with the creation of Ubuntu Touch?

Ubuntu Touch is a community project driven mainly by volunteers. You and all others in the community will benefit from your contribution. Everyone is able to do something to help! If you're not sure where to start, here are a few examples:


We mark issues which probably have simple fixes with a good first issue tag. We also try to add hints which will help you fix the issue. These reports are kept waiting for a contributor so newcomers have a great place to learn the ropes. You may search on GitHub for issues with this tag using this search query.

We have documentation available to aid getting started with system software development. We're also building our app development documentation.

To get help and support when getting started with Ubuntu Touch development, you can join our Matrix room #ut_bootcamp:matrix.org. Developers gather there specifically to help newcomers get started with our development workflows. It is a friendly space, with the motto "There is no such thing as a stupid question!"


Great (blush...) posts like this don't come out of nowhere. It takes many hours to write, edit and publish the excellent content our community has come to expect. The Writers' Team is responsible for this process. If you're interested in writing user tutorials, op-eds, or other long-form content, you can join us at #ubports_writers:matrix.org on Matrix.

Design and Graphics

Our designers and graphic artists are responsible for all the wonderful images in this post. Particular kudos for the banner created by Joan (AKA Cibersheep). That's not all they do, though.

Every aspect of the Ubuntu Touch user experience is evaluated and implemented by the Design and Graphics team. They primarily coordinate at @UBports_UX on Telegram.

How to get OTA-7

What you should know first

There are a few issues which we expect many users to still run into.

  • The viewfinder on the Nexus 5 freezes when taking pictures in succession. Similar issues have been reported on the Oneplus One and Nexus 4.
    • Workaround: Pictures can still be taken while the viewfinder is frozen. Switching apps and then going back to Camera restores the viewfinder.
  • On larger screens (such as the BQ M10 and Nexus 7), the browser will close after opening a selection box while in landscape mode.
    • Workaround: Either move the browser to a side stage (press with three fingers and drag to the right) or hold the device in portrait mode.
  • When switching between text boxes in the browser, the input type of the keyboard is not updated (for example, when going from a numbers-only text field to a URL field).
    • Workaround: Dismiss the keyboard before changing text fields. This can be done by swiping the keyboard downward or tapping on the page in an area that is not a text field.
  • In the browser, selection boxes open in a new window. This is expected to continue until a newer version of Mir is used (expected in OTA-8), which will allow for drawing tooltips within the surface that created them.
  • In some apps, dialog boxes will fly off the screen when the keyboard appears. A fix has been proposed but it can't be merged until tests are passing on the UITK.

Existing Ubuntu Touch users

Existing users of Ubuntu Touch in the stable channel (which is selected by default in the UBports Installer) will receive the OTA-7 upgrade through the Updates screen of System Settings. Devices will randomly receive the update starting today through January 13. This spread is to give us time to interrupt a bad update in the future (should that ever become necessary), not to accommodate any bandwidth restrictions.

If you would like to receive the update immediately, turn on ADB access and issue the following command over adb shell:

sudo system-image-cli -v -p 0 

Your device should then download the update and install it. This process may take a while, depending on your download speed.

New Ubuntu Touch users

You will find instructions for installing Ubuntu Touch on your device at devices.ubuntu-touch.io.

"I found an issue!"

Have you found a bug? We want to know!

You can follow our Bug Reporting document to learn how to present the information we'll need to confirm and fix your issue. Every bit helps. The best way to improve Ubuntu Touch is to use it and then tell us about the experience.

You should always check to see whether your bug has already been reported on ubports/ubuntu-touch on Github. Browsing open bugs is worth doing, even if you have nothing to report. This ensures that you can watch for any of the open issues and help fix them by providing more information.

What's next?

OTA-6 and 7 have represented incremental stability and performance improvements for Ubuntu Touch. We have also been able to introduce some high-impact features, such as those enjoyed by the Morph Browser and on-screen keyboard. These ensure that every release is better than the last.

We are very proud of the improvements we've been able to make to our release architecture, allowing OTA-6 to be comfortably released in six weeks and OTA-7 in four. This is a continuation of our work starting with "Gotta release fast" and a stark contrast to our earlier releases (as mentioned in the linked post). OTA-8 is looking like it may take longer than OTA-7, but we are still planning to release it within six to eight weeks. This blog is the best place to watch for the call for testing (and therefore pre-release announcement) to get the release date.

Our plan is to include Mir 1.1 and Canonical's last version of Unity8 in OTA-8. This will complete the removal of Scopes and the introduction of the App Launcher. However, if this plan won't be completed in four to six weeks of development, we will instead make OTA-8 another stability improvement release including changes contributed to the code you're using today.

As always, you can watch right here on the UBports blog for the most important information about the next releases of Ubuntu Touch. You can also find us on our forum, @ubports on Telegram, or #ubports:matrix.org on Matrix if you want to chat with us.

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