Oneplus support--mysterious "parameters"

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Aug 31, 2017
Bit of a long story, I'll try to make it quick.

A few months ago, I carelessly overwrote my boot partition with twrp.img and completely screwed up my op7p. All I had left was fastboot, so I had to manually flash each partition using .img files extracted from an OTA update zip. I eventually got back up and running by flashing LineageOS with this method—the same ROM I was running before the incident. The weird part is that, before trying Lineage, I tried using plain old OOS and it didn't work.

After flashing OOS to every writeable partition from fastboot and rebooting to system, I could get through the setup flow no problem. But a few seconds after the launcher appears, the screen would go totally black. Holding the power button would cause a brief vibration, like normal when the power-off menu shows up, but I had to use a button combo to actually reboot.

This exact situation is mentioned on OnePlus' support site: (Scenario 1). They suggest to "apply for the after-sales services" in this case, so I sent them an email about it, before I eventually got Lineage working again.

They finally got back to me the other day with some interesting info:

Regarding your issue, we are glad to explain it to you in this case. Since you have installed a custom OS previously, the device might modify the parameters to fit the system and logic requirements, and we believe it should be the point of the root of the cause. Oxygen OS may request different parameter settings which leads to a mismatch. In this case, the conflict between system and device parameter may cause this issue.

Whatever these "parameters" are, they must not be stored in any of the partitions which are writeable from fastboot. (I guess there is the possibility that they really are in a writeable partition and the OTAs just skip it for some reason, but that seems like quite an oversight.) But when I asked for more info about them:

We understand your concerns and feeling however unfortunately that we cannot share such information with our customers officially. I could personally recommend you please process the research yourself however as a OnePlus customer support agent, it is prohibited to share that information with our customers.

Apparently the details are top-secret!

I'm happy to run Lineage until I get a new phone, so if I can never run OOS again, then whatever. But I'm dying to know what the story is with these parameters. Does anyone know?