New features for your Samsung Galaxy phone

With Android 13 approaching, Samsung fans have been waiting patiently for the next version of One UI: One UI 5.0. Samsung has now started the One UI 5.0 public beta programstarting from Galaxy S22And the Galaxy S22 Plusand the Galaxy S22 Ultra. We’ve offloaded the open beta on the Galaxy S22 Ultra and these are some of the first things we noticed. One UI 5 is the name of Samsung’s upcoming flagship Android-based software, and it will be based on the Android 13 release from Google. The current open beta is available for download in Germany and South Korea at the moment, but it will also be available in the US at a later time.

If you have an eligible device and would like to give an open beta of One UI 5.0, you should be able to enroll in the beta program by going to the Samsung Members app and clicking on the One UI beta logo. On the next screen, click on the record button and wait a few minutes for the app to process your registration. Next, head over to the Software Update section of your device’s settings and tap Check for updates to download the open beta. It may not necessarily be available in your area yet. Read on to see some of the latest features in One UI 5 that we’ve been able to discover!

One UI 5.0 New Features and Redesign

Stackable Widgets

First of all, Samsung has added the ability to stack widgets on your home screen in the default launcher. To do this, you need to hold down on the widget and click on “Add widget”, after which you can choose from any normal widgets on your phone to add to it. You can then swipe between them, and your phone will intelligently try to decide which one to show you at any time to provide relevant information. If you prefer to remain stationary, you can disable this auto-rotate.

New materials in your colors

There are now tons more material you Colors to choose from created by your wallpaper. All of these can be applied and they will change the theme of your system based on what you select. Apps that also support textures, will change their colors to the theme of your choice, creating a sense of consistency across your phone.

Privacy Center

The Security and Privacy section of One UI 5 has been completely revamped. It’s now a convenient privacy center, just like what you’ll find on Google Pixel phones. You can access anything security related from a single screen, rather than having to wade through your settings trying to find exactly what you need. It looks a lot nicer and it’s easy to understand your phone’s security status as well.

Permission request dialog

One UI 5 redesigns the permission request dialog that will pop up in most apps. It’s in line with the rest of Android 13’s design now, with a colored square for the “allow” and “disallow” buttons, rather than letting them float in the box without any obvious barrier between two different options. This makes it even easier as there is now a contrast between both buttons.

Modified notifications

Notifications have been slightly modified in One UI 5. The icon on the left is now larger, and the Notification Settings and Clear buttons have been made clearer so that their boundaries that can accept taps are clearer.

Recognize text anywhere with optical character recognition (OCR)

This is one of my favorite features I’ve found so far, and it’s really simple too. You can press and hold on any text entry box and click on Extract Text. You will then turn on the camera, and you can use your phone to read text from the real world and instantly copy it to your phone. You can use it for Google searches, to send information to friends, or even to take notes from a book or brochure and save them to your phone.

Recognize text in pictures

OCR extends to photos already stored on your phone, too. If you go to your gallery on your phone, and if the text in an image is selected, you can tap the “T” on the bottom right to highlight that text. You can then copy or share this text directly from your phone gallery.

Multitasking Gestures

Samsung has added two separate features to help you multitask. The first is a swipe from the top corner to open the current app in a popup view, and the second is a two-finger swipe from the bottom to open a split screen view. This should make it faster and easier to multitask between your apps when you need to, and you can choose between the two depending on what makes the most sense at any given time.

Professional mode camera assistants

A graph has been added to the camera’s professional mode, along with assistants explaining what each lens does. This can help you understand when is the best time to use each of the different lenses on your phone while shooting.

Magnify your surroundings with accessibility options

One UI 5 makes some accessibility changes, but the most notable is the introduction of a magnifier shortcut that can be accessed from anywhere on your phone. The camera will immediately turn on in a zoomed state so that you can use it to see distant objects. It is great for people who may have poor eyesight or nearsightedness. You can also flip the colors and turn on the flashlight once you turn on the camera, and there is the possibility to take a picture so that you can look at whatever you want to see in the frozen state.

Take notes during calls

Take notes during calls on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

It is very likely that this is a feature limited by S Pen devices like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but a new option has been added during phone calls to allow you to take notes during a call. It works with the S Pen and appears as an overlay, which saves the note as “Call with x”, where x is the contact’s name or phone number.

OneUI 5.0 brings some great improvements so far

Beta software warning on Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra running One UI 5.0

One UI 5.0 has some really nice improvements to the user experience, although it’s clearly just the first open beta so far. Obviously there will be bugs, but I haven’t identified any problems on my unit that I haven’t had before. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a huge update, but new features like OCR are a lot to be had, as they make it easy to scan text from the world around you and place it on your smartphone.

If you want to try the trial version, you can register through the Samsung Members app. As usual, when it comes to trial versions, it goes without saying that you should be careful about your data and make sure it’s backed up beforehand. There is no telling what bugs may be lurking in this build, and sometimes, bugs can be disastrous. We do not recommend using it as a daily driver, although you can take the risk and do so if you wish.

For now, One UI 5.0 is shaping up to be a great update that users can expect to see on their devices in the coming months. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for new updates, and we’ll be sure to come back for more coverage of One UI 5.0 as we discover new features and other changes in the future!