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3 Welcome Features In Ubuntu Phone OTA-9

BQ Aquaris E4.4 Ubuntu

A new over-the-air update to Ubuntu Phone begins to roll to handsets from today. 

Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 is available to all supported devices that run the stable channel image. This includes the Meizu MX4, Nexus 4 and Bq Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition (among others).

‘Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 is available to all supported devices’

Announcing the launch of the update on the Ubuntu Phone Dev mailing list, Canonical’s Łukasz Zemcza says: ”We have […] started the phased upgrade procedure! This means that in less than 24 hours all users should receive update notifications for this release,”

OTA-9.5, the next update due, is currently targeting a mid February rollout. A feature-packed OTA-10 release is due to follow it just a few weeks later.

Before you swipe away to go pound your system update button why not skim on down for our pick of the top 3 changes in Ubuntu Phone OTA-9.

1. Custom Ringtone Support

Custom Ringtones in Ubuntu Phone OTA-9

Custom ringtone support is new in Ubuntu Phone OTA-9

Yup, it’s something Ubuntu Phone users have been clamouring for and OTA-9 delvers it: you can finally set a custom ringtone on Ubuntu Phone.

Whether you want the Doctor Who theme, the music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Chemical Plant Zone, Act 1, or Kylie Minogue’s latest overalls pop hit single: if the audio file is on your phone you can set it as your ringtone.

To set a custom ringtone on Ubuntu Phone:

  1. Head to System Settings > Sound > Ringtones
  2. Tap ‘Custom Ringtone
  3. Select an audio file from file picker

Whilst we’re on the subject of sounds, don’t be concerned if you hear the following riff trilling  out of your phone’s speakers.

This sound is the new audio alert to warn you that the phone battery is running low.

2. Inline Scope Audio Cards

Scopes are the key defining differentiator of the Ubuntu Phone. Information and media content is surfaced right at your finger tips.

Ubuntu Phone OTA-9 introduces a new audio card, one that offers inline music playback directly from the Scope itself.

Few Scopes make use of the new audio card at present. But, in arriving, it’s primed ready for developers to use and should allow audio content previewed in a Scope to keep playing when swiping away from the Scope to a different part of the UI/app.

3. In-Browser File Downloads

‘The Ubuntu web browser can now download any file type.’

The Ubuntu Browser app continues its charge towards feature maturity by adding in-browser support for arbitrary file downloads.

Whether you want to save a nyan cat .midi, download an .avi slideshow compiled from my Instagram selfies,  or a run the risk from a a random, the Ubuntu Phone web browser finally lets you download any file.

No more content-hub/file-picker confusion, no more ‘unsupported file type’ shenanigans.

Bug Fixes in Ubuntu Phone OTA-9

MX4 Owners Couldn't Take Full-Res Photos

MX4 Owners Couldn’t Take Full-Res Photos

OTA-9 doesn’t just offer some handy new features; this update also fixes some long standing bugs.

The most notable of finally allows owners of the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition take full-resolution photos using the rear camera.

“What?!”, I hear you pout. “Couldn’t they do this already?”

Bizarrely, for some, no, they couldn’t.

A bug affecting the MX4 caused photos taken with the back 20MP snapper to get downscaled to as low as 1440×2560 (3MP). Conversely, photos taken with the front-facing 2MP camera were upscaled to 3120×4160 (12MP). Be sure to select the appropriate resolution before taking your shot.

Today’s update should fix the issue for good.


  • Location service improvements
  • Scopes refresh action now smoother/no longer empties card content
  • Better handling of re-authorise error with camera
  • Interface transition and animation improvements
  • Fix for battery drain bug when music paused in background
  • Fixes to allow cameras access in the web browser
  • Appearance tweaks:
    • Removal of orange separator on top bar
    • Top bar now coloured grey
    • Drop shadows on app icons (no longer recessed)

Noticed any other changes, tweaks or new features? Tell us about them in the comments below.

¹Or any other song/audio clip. 
Scopes image credit: @mhall19