After an extended beta phase, Android 13 or One UI 5.0 for Samsung Galaxy phones is now rolling out to eligible devices. Here are all the key features you need to know.
Samsung’s Android 13 release is completely different from Google’s vision. The design that comes with Galaxy phones and tablets includes a lot of changes that have become synonymous with the vision of the Korean manufacturer of Google’s mobile operating system.
Video – Key Features of One UI 5.0 for Samsung phones
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Home screen changes
One UI 5.0 contains a large number of internal changes to help improve the experience when using the default system launcher. These range from simple modifications to tools to complete repairs.
Design and colors
The color palette feature now also includes more swatches of tonal changes for you to choose. Twelve wallpaper-based colors are immediately available with 12 “basic” color choices that include four two-tone options that can be applied to your device.
During the One UI beta, Google icons with monotonous themes were steadily added to Samsung’s repertoire. With the full version of Android 13 for Samsung phones, more icons can be customized as part of the broader Dynamic Color settings that were previously adopted in One UI.
All of the default Samsung apps are themed, as many of Google’s first-party apps also adhere to the Color Palette settings on your device. Unfortunately, not many third-party apps come with support for a monochrome home screen icon, which makes this a frustrating option—at least for the time being.
Notification panel adjustments
There are some layout changes in the notification shade with more spacing between incoming notifications and larger app icons. When you press and hold on any notification, the panel has been modified to give more option to go into settings for each app. It appears that the “delivery quietly” option has been removed. One cosmetic change here is the use of the circular M3 buttons used to highlight the Notification Settings and Scan functions.
In One UI 5.0, you can quickly enter split-screen multitasking or put apps in a floating window by long-pressing and dragging an app icon from the Recents list. Swiping up or down allows you to open apps installed at the top or bottom of the screen in a super fast way.
The sticking point for One UI (and Android in general) over the past few years has been the quality and consistency of the animations. Samsung is often cited as one of the worst offenders regarding incomplete apps and UI animations. Android 13 provided the opportunity for Samsung to clean up the movements.
There are still some frame skips here and there, but things are greatly improved here in One UI 5.0. Scrolling isn’t always as smooth as it should be on 120Hz screens. When switching apps, returning to the home screen, or accessing floating or drop-down UI sections, there is an undoubted improvement.
New widget options
Widgets aren’t often focused on when operating system updates arrive. However, One UI 5.0 now has some notable options. First, a new Smart Suggestions widget can be placed on your home screen. This provides a variety of applications and functions that will change according to the context of the device or the use of your device.
You can also create a smart stack with more apps on the device that support home screen widgets. The process has also changed. Instead of creating a Smart Widget, you can just long press on any widget and add to it using the Edit Stack function.
revamped background page
When you change the wallpaper in One UI 5.0, you will be greeted with an improved or revamped wallpaper selection screen. It’s easy to navigate with clear sections for each type of wallpaper and a scrollable “Gallery” section that hosts all downloaded or user-generated content.
There are new sections for simple colors, graphic styles, and dynamic lock screen settings from within this updated area as well. After choosing the perfect wallpaper for your device theme, just like on iOS, you’ll see a mini preview of it on the site with the option to set it only on the home screen, lock screen, or both at once.
Although similar functionality has been around as part of the Good Lock add-on for Samsung phones for quite some time, One UI 5.0 integrates this into the Android platform on Galaxy devices. There are certainly more than a few similarities to how you customize iPhone lock screens in iOS 16.
It works the same way it does on iOS, with a long press on the controls to unlock a locked device to change the lock screen clock font, wallpaper, and notification widgets style. The lower left and right app shortcuts can also be changed to any apps installed on your device as well as change the contact information or device lock screen signature.
This is familiar in the sense that you can customize it like iOS 16. However, you cannot save certain profiles. Instead, you will need to change the lock screen each time.
Camera modes are now much easier to use with some quick information tabs for professional photo and video modes. A small “i” icon with a floating pane gives a brief overview of what each switch and setting within the “Pro” video and photo modes controls or changes when set.
Watermarks can be added or enabled for all photos taken with the Galaxy Camera thanks to a new toggle in the Settings menu. This includes the ability to add a time and date watermark, device model number or a fully customized text watermark to suit your style with a limited number of fonts and alignment options available.
Samsung has also improved zoom acceleration when using the digital camera’s scroll wheel. When you zoom in or out on the viewfinder, you’ll reach 100x or 0.5x zoom levels more easily. This is great if you want to zoom in or out quickly and take a quick photo on the go.
Gallery and Edit App
If you use Portrait Blur for photos, Samsung now lets you adjust the blur effect after taking a photo from within the Stock Gallery app. Another neat feature added in One UI 5.0 is the ability to select, copy and share text from photos and videos within the Gallery app. If there is text in an image, just long press, and your Galaxy device will analyze and select any text that you can copy.
The new custom sticker option allows you to select any part of the image and convert it to a PNG file, which can be used as a sticker thanks to the transparent nature of PNG images. Edge detection is acceptable for basic edits but not very accurate.
The encoder has been significantly upgraded in One UI 5.0 as well. It now includes a number of improved tools such as the ability to create subtle shapes when highlighting image sections. This is simple, you draw a shape, then hold it in place and the shape will be outlined and turned into an exact shape.
Samsung has also increased the default selection of stickers that can be applied to photos, adding block shapes, speech bubbles, and symbols to add to your photos. When adding text, a new slider within the app gives you full control over the exact font size.
Language controls for each app
As in Android 13 on Pixel phones, One UI 5.0 has integrated language controls for each app for Galaxy devices. If you are multilingual, you can set any app on your phone to a different language if the app supports it. This does not affect the system language settings, only the applications you have changed.
The Settings section contains a number of tweaks to help improve the accessibility and usability of the main device and Account Control Center. Many of the changes are minor or make the options more visible and easier to find.
Samsung has made some changes to the settings pages with new sections including the “Connected devices” section of Google. This is home to options like S Pen, DeX, Link to Windows, Android Auto, wearables, and more. Many of the “Advanced Features” section have been removed and can now be found here.
About device icon
When you view the About Device screen, you’ll get a thumbnail PNG preview of your device, which even shows the correct color for playback.
There is a new “Smart Wi-Fi” expanded option in One UI 5.0 that hides the Wi-Fi developer menu. Clicking on the Smart Wi-Fi menu section several times adds the Wi-Fi Developer Options menu that provides in-depth connection information such as range information, Wi-Fi interference, and more.
Customize app notification
Each installed app can have fully customized notifications including full notification type control. You can change how notifications appear on your device on an app-by-app basis, including blocking them from appearing on the lock screen and disabling badges and even popups. This stacks with the current ability to completely silence incoming notifications.
Modes can be activated or customized according to context. This is simply an automation option that improves on the functionality of previous Bixby Routines used in previous One UI designs. You can create contextual or time-sensitive automated processes for common phone functions.
Optional RAM Plus
The RAM Plus function allows you to allocate up to 8GB of storage space on the device to serve as virtual memory, and hopefully improve performance by allowing more devices to stay open in the background. This is pre-enabled by default in One UI 4.0 and 4.1. In One UI 5.0, you can disable this directly if you prefer not to lose up to 8GB of onboard storage.
When will my Galaxy phone get the One UI 5.0 update?
Samsung has already started pushing the latest update to a number of smartphones including the Galaxy S22 series. Although the company’s release date has not been shared, the latest release for older phones including the Z Fold and S21 series as well as many others are also slated to come over the coming months.
What is your favorite new feature in One UI 5.0?
Do you have an added feature in One UI 5.0 that you love and can’t live without? Tell us what you think is the best new addition in the comments below.
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