Samsung has made record time in releasing Android 12 this year, getting all of its supported flagships into a beta program quicker than ever before and releasing a stable update for the S21 series within weeks of Pixel phones. Now that One UI 4 is reaching more devices, let's look at the top 5 features you should be using.
One UI 4 isn't as packed with new features as previous releases, but Samsung's changes, both user-facing and under the hood, are still significant.
Material You is the most noticeable change, creating a color palette from your wallpaper and using it to theme your system UI and compatible apps. Although Google hasn't made its Monet API available to other OEMs yet, Samsung has managed to implement its own that is fully compatible with Google's apps.
I prefer Samsung's implementation here, as it generates a wider variety of more vibrant colors than the muted pastels you'll find on a Pixel. Setting this up is as easy as setting a new wallpaper. Once you've done that, the phone will ask you to choose between four generated color palettes.
One UI has always been one of the most customizable Android skins, so it's surprising to me that it took Samsung this long to finally add icon pack support. Technically it was available in One UI 3.1.1, but that version was only available on foldables, so I'll count this as the proper release.
Once you've downloaded your chosen icon pack, open Good Lock and navigate to the Theme Park module. Tap on the icon tab, and create a new theme. At the top of the screen, you have the option to apply an icon pack that's been downloaded from either the Galaxy Store or the Play Store.ANDROIDPOLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY
In previous versions of One UI, you could have the always-on display show for just a few seconds when tapped or on all the time, as the name suggests. Now in One UI 4, there's a "show for new notifications" option. With this enabled, the always-on display will disable itself until you get a new message, which will switch it back on. It will remain on until you've checked those notifications.
I know what you're thinking — widgets have been a part of Android for years now and aren't new. While that's the case, widgets have gotten a lot of care and attention in Android 12 to make them more useful and consistent.
As well as having access to all of Google's new widgets, One UI 4 has tweaked all of Samsung's widgets to match Android 12's aesthetic, as well as rounding off the corners of third-party ones. The redesigned weather widget is my favorite and looks far better than it did before.
Samsung's apps have gotten a bad rap over the years, but One UI 4 has made a lot of improvement in addition to adding Material You. The camera app has had some tweaks that, while minor, make it easier to use. The zoom buttons, for example, now indicate what zoom level you're going to be switching to instead of showing some obscure tree icons like before.
The Weather app is my favorite redesign, with new animations for different weather conditions that are incredibly slick. You'll also notice the complete lack of ads, which have been entirely removed system-wide. Before now, I'd try and find alternatives to stock Samsung apps so I wouldn't have to see them, but now that the ads are gone, I no longer need to do so.
Overall, this has been a stellar update from Samsung, combining the best of Android 12 with its design language and feature set and delivering everything in a timely manner. I'm impressed with that Samsung has done here, and I can't wait to see what the company has in store for the future.Android 13 DP1 hints at a new 'hub mode' meant for shared devices
Access apps and more between profiles on trusted networksRead NextShareTweetEmailRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorZachary Kew-Denniss(248 Articles Published)
UK-based Android aficionado specializing in everything Samsung and Android. There's a 90% chance my articles will contain Spongebob or Transformers references.Current devices:Galaxy S21 UltraGalaxy Watch4Galaxy Buds/Buds+/Buds ProPixelbookiPad Pro 2020MoreFrom Zachary Kew-Denniss