New features for your Samsung Galaxy phone

With Android 13 around the corner, Samsung fans have been waiting patiently to get their hands on the next iteration of One UI: One UI 5.0. Samsung has now launched the One UI 5.0 public beta program, starting with the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, and Galaxy S22 Ultra. We have ported the Open Beta to our Galaxy S22 Ultra and these are some of the first things we noticed. One UI 5 is the name of Samsung’s next major Android-based software and will be based on Google’s Android 13 version. The current open beta is available for download in Germany and South Korea at the moment, but will also be available in the US at a later date.

In case you have an eligible device and want to try the One UI 5.0 open beta, you should be able to sign up for the beta program by going to the Samsung Members app and tapping on the One UI beta banner. On the next screen, tap the register button and wait a few minutes for the app to process your registration. Next, go to the software update section in your device settings and tap Check for updates to download the open beta. It may not yet be available in your region. Read on to see some of the latest One UI 5 features we’ve been able to spot!

Android 13 on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

A 5.0 UI also has new emojis!

One UI 5.0 New features and redesigns

Stackable Widgets

First, Samsung has added the ability to stack widgets on the home screen in the default launcher. To do this, you need to hold the widget and tap “Add Widget”, then you can select from any regular widget on your phone to add it. You can then swipe between them and your phone will try to intelligently decide which one to show you at any time to provide relevant information. If you prefer them to remain static, you can disable that automatic rotation.

New material The colors

There are now a lot more Material You colors to choose from that are generated from your background. These can all be applied and will change your system theme depending on what you select. Apps That Also Support Material You’ll change their colors based on the theme you choose, creating a consistent feel on your phone.

Privacy Center

The security and privacy section has been completely revamped in One UI 5. It is now a real privacy hub, just like what you’ll find on Google Pixel phones. You can access anything related to security from one screen, instead of having to delve into your settings trying to find exactly what you need. It looks much nicer and also makes it easier to understand your phone’s security status.

Authorization request dialog box

One UI 5 redesigns the permission request dialog that will appear in most apps. It’s more in line with the rest of the Android 13 design now, with a colored box for the “Allow” and “Don’t Allow” buttons, rather than letting them float in the box with no discernible barrier between two distinct options. This makes it more accessible as there is now a contrast between both buttons.

Optimized notifications

Notifications have been slightly tweaked in One UI 5. The icon on the left is now larger and the “Notification Settings” and “Cancel” buttons have been made more distinct so that their limits that can accept a tap are more distinct .

Recognize text anywhere with optical character recognition (OCR)

This is one of my favorite features that I have found so far and it is also very simple. You can hold down on any text entry box and tap “Extract Text”. The camera will then launch and you can use your phone to read text from the real world and instantly transcribe 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 pamphlet and save them on your phone.

Recognize text in images

Optical character recognition also extends to photos already stored on your phone. If you browse your gallery on your phone and if the text is identified in an image, you can tap the “T” in the lower right to highlight that text. You can then copy or share that text directly from your phone’s gallery.

Multitasking gestures

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

Camera aides in Pro mode

A histogram has been added to the camera’s pro mode, along with helpers explaining what each lens does. This can help you figure out when it’s best to use each of the phone’s different lenses when shooting.

Enlarge your surroundings with accessibility options

One UI 5 makes some accessibility changes, but the most notable is the introduction of a magnifying glass shortcut that can be accessed from anywhere on the phone. It will immediately launch the camera in a magnified state so you can use it to see faraway things. It is great for people who may have poor eyesight or nearsightedness. You can also invert the colors and turn on the flashlight once the camera is launched, and there’s the option to take a photo so you can look at everything you needed to see in a frozen state.

Take notes during calls

Take notes during calls on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
This is most likely a feature limited to 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 while on a call. It works with the S Pen and appears as an overlay, saving 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

The beta software notice on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with One UI 5.0
A UI 5.0 has some really noticeable improvements to the user experience, even if of course it’s only the first open beta so far. Obviously there will be bugs, but I haven’t identified any problems on my drive that I haven’t had before. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a big upgrade, but new features like optical character recognition are pretty great, as they make it so easy to scan text from the world around you and have it on your smartphone.

If you want to try the beta version, you can sign up through the Samsung Members app. As is customary when it comes to betas, it goes without saying that you should be careful with your data and make sure you back it up beforehand. There is no telling what bugs may be lurking in this build, and at times, the bugs can be catastrophic. We don’t 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 come back for more coverage of One UI 5.0 as we discover new features and more changes in the future!

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