One UI 5.0 Open Beta Hands On: New features for your Samsung Galaxy phone

One UI 5.0 Open Beta Hands On: New features for your Samsung Galaxy phone

With Android 13 just around the corner, Samsung fans have been patiently waiting to get their hands on the next version of One UI: One UI 5.0. Samsung has now started the One UI 5.0 public beta program, starting with the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra. We’ve downloaded the open beta on 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 it will be based on Google’s Android 13 release. The current open beta is available for download in Germany and South Korea right now, 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 enrollment button and wait a few minutes for the app to process your enrollment. After that, head over to the software update section in your device settings and tap check for updates to download the open beta. It may not necessarily be available in your region yet. Read on to see some of the newest features in One UI 5 that we’ve been able to spot!

Android 13 on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

One UI 5.0 also has new emoji!

One UI 5.0 New Features and Redesigns

Stackable widgets

First of all, Samsung has added the ability to stack widgets on your home screen in the default launcher. To do so, you need to long press the widget and tap “Add Widget”, and then you can select any normal 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 given time to give you relevant information. If you prefer them to remain static, you can disable that automatic rotation.

New Material Your colors

There are now a ton more Material You colors to choose from that are generated by your wallpaper. All of these can be applied and will change your system theme based on what you select. Apps that also support Material will change their colors to the theme of your choice, creating a cohesive feel across your phone.

privacy center

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

Permission request dialog

One UI 5 redesigns the permission request dialog that will appear in most apps. It’s more in line with the rest of Android 13’s design now, with a colored box for the “Allow” and “Don’t Allow” buttons, instead of letting them float in the box with no discernible barrier between two different options. This makes it more accessible 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 further differentiated so that their limits that can accept a touch are clearer.

Recognize text anywhere with optical character recognition (OCR)

This is one of my favorite features I’ve come across so far, and it’s also very simple. You can long press any text input box and tap “Extract Text”. It will then launch the camera and you can use your phone to read real-world text and instantly transcribe it on 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 on your phone.

Recognize text in images.

That optical character recognition also extends to photos that are already stored on your phone. If you check your gallery on your phone and if text is identified in an image, you can tap the “T” in the bottom right to highlight that text. Then you can copy or share that text directly from your phone 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 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 based on what makes the most sense at any given time.

Camera assistants in professional mode

A histogram has been added to the camera’s pro mode, along with helpers that explain what each lens does. This can help you understand when it’s best to use each of the different lenses on your phone when you’re shooting.

Magnify your environment with accessibility options

One UI 5 makes a few accessibility changes, but the most notable is the introduction of a magnifying glass shortcut that can be accessed from anywhere on your phone. It will instantly launch the camera into a zoom state so you can use it to see things that are far away. It is excellent for people who may have vision problems or be nearsighted. You can also invert colors and turn on the flashlight once the camera starts, and there’s the ability to take a photo so you can see whatever it is 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 restricted to S Pen devices like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, but a new option has been added during phone calls so you can take notes during 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 big improvements so far

The beta software warning on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with One UI 5.0

One UI 5.0 has some really cool improvements to the user experience, though it’s obviously only the first open beta so far. Obviously there will be errors, but I haven’t identified any problems on my drive that I didn’t have before. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a huge upgrade, but the new features like optical character recognition are pretty significant, making it super 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. However, as usual when it comes to beta releases, it goes without saying that you should be careful with your data and make sure to back it up beforehand. There is no telling what bugs may be lurking in this build, and sometimes bugs can be catastrophic. We don’t recommend using it as your 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 big 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 One UI 5.0 coverage as we discover new features and other changes in the future!

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