just a few days before Samsung unpacked On August 10, the tech giant released an open beta for One UI 5, which could give Galaxy S22 owners a nice software update.
One UI is Samsung’s own personalization software suite for its Galaxy smartphones. Its aim is ideally to enhance the user experience on Android phones by making the user interface more attractive and adding features that make the device easier to use. Think of it as a premium version of the Android OS. One UI 5 is essentially the fifth iteration of the software package.
While there aren’t any major changes or a killer feature in the One UI 5 beta, the new customization options (opens in new tab) give S22 owners a glimpse of what Google’s upcoming Android 13 might look like on their Galaxy devices.
The beta is only available to users in the US, Germany and South Korea who own a Galaxy S22 series device (which includes the base Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra). Samsung says there are plans to expand the beta to other regions and add new features through the program, but didn’t offer further details.
cleaning up the clutter
At first glance, it looks like the One UI 5 beta has several goals in mind.
One of them is personalization, as seen with the 16 new color themes based on the phone wallpaper “for a more personalized look”. There are also 12 additional color options that affect your phone’s home screen, app icons and quick panels. You can also stack widgets of the same size on top of each other, which Samsung claims creates a neater look. O stacking feature cuts widgets (opens in new tab) in the middle, preventing you from seeing the full menu, but it looks like you can scroll between them for the full view.
Ease of access is another driving factor behind the beta, as several menus have been reorganized. S22 owners will find it easier, according to Samsung, to adjust ringer volume and vibration levels in Settings. A revamped security dashboard lets you know your phone’s status, complete with a security status check button. If there are any security issues, One UI 5 will tell you how to fix it.
The other changes revolve around improving the user’s quality of life.
First, there’s a new Magnifier feature that can magnify the fine print in menus. A voice assistant is available to read audio descriptions found in online videos and what you type on the keyboard. Additionally, new controls let you decide which apps can send notifications and which can’t, to avoid confusion.
And the last known change is a new icon that appears in Pro and Pro Video mode in the Camera app. Tapping here opens a series of tips and tricks that teach people how to use specific lenses and features.
If you are interested in downloading the beta version, (opens in new tab) you will have to download the Samsung Members App from Google Play Store (opens in new tab)and swipe the top banner until you find one related to One UI 5. You will also have to register for the program, agree to the Terms of Service and download the beta version.
Samsung has other features in the works, at least according to some eager users who managed to find out about Samsung’s plans.
9 to 5 Google (opens in new tab) has a list of some of these changes and it seems that not all of them work at the moment. One such non-functional tool is two new multitasking hand gestures. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen with two fingers opens a split-screen view. Swiping from the top right corner to the middle creates a pop-up window.
A potentially functional feature is Optical Character Recognition (OCR). It’s essentially the Samsung version of Apple live text. There will be a yellow button in the Gallery app that extracts text from an image so you can paste it elsewhere. OCR still has an interface similar to Live Text, according to Google’s 9 to 5.
Other minor changes include the ability to collaborate with 100 different people in the Samsung Notes app and a settings toggle for ultra wide band. It’s unclear if this is all that’s coming to One UI 5 or just the tip of the iceberg. I think we’ll have to wait until Samsung releases everything.
In the meantime, we look forward to Samsung Unpacked 2022. Be sure to check out our story on how the The Galaxy S23 might be the most powerful phone on the market.