One UI 4.0 is finally available on the Galaxy S21 series through Samsung’s One UI beta program. I know some of you doubted that it would even arrive this month but it did and you can still get this update by jumping into the members app and looking for a banner that says One UI beta program. It’s only for a limited time so make sure to act fast.
Now I don’t want to bring your hopes down but this first update of One UI 4 is not as exciting as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a decently sized update but there’s no material you theming going on, dynamic themed apps or any mind-blowing features like most of us expected. Still this could change in the coming weeks when they update the software.
Starting with the Home Screen, there aren’t that many new features but the changes that have occurred are major ones, for example the widget panels now follow Android 12’s redesign of having everything be collapsed for quicker navigation. There are also widget suggestions at the top and you can still search for widgets to find them faster.
Also when you search for an app within the app drawer and long press it you finally get more options than just having it locate the app or bringing up the app info page. You can add it to the home screen now or even uninstall it. For those who know the pain it’s a huge lifesaver from having to do that extra step of locating the app first.
For the lock screen whenever you play music you’re now able to change the audio output to different devices such as your headphones or a speaker plus you get extra music controls options depending on what music app you’re using.
Always On Display
The Always on Display now has an extra option that lets you turn it on when you receive a notification plus there are new sticker sets that you can use including AR emoji and Hit MiMi, no longer are you limited to just a few animated gifs.
The notifications are now a tiny bit more condensed letting you see more notifications at once plus the quick settings panel has a new looking brightness slider which you can now have it show up right away when you slide down the notification bar.
Whenever you enable dark mode the interface automatically darkens your wallpaper icons and illustrations honestly the dim isn’t that drastic so I’m not entirely annoyed.
Whenever you charge the phone you get a sweet new visual effect that I think looks really nice.
Whenever you have a video set to picture in picture mode you can resize it by pinching in or out much easier than needing to drag the sides.
Redesigned Sharing Menu
The Sharing Menu got a huge redesign and it’s a lot smaller now it’s similar to the chrome sharing hub where you can now swipe horizontally instead of vertically to reach specific apps or contacts.
It’s honestly a lot cleaner and easier to work with plus you can customize the list of apps that appear on the share panel to reduce clutter. Letting you choose your favorite apps to come first. Overall a job well done with the new sharing menu.
When using Edge Panels your current app doesn’t get blurred out or hidden it stays in the view which is great if you’re watching a video.
The settings surprisingly got a good amount of changes as well. A new menu called safety and emergency lets you manage your emergency contacts and safety features.
Device Care Section
The Device Care section has gotten a complete redesign which looks a lot better in my opinion. Your device’s status is shown with an emoji and the main page now lets you know right away if you have any battery or security issues.
Within the same menu you can also jump straight into Samsung members diagnostics to test out different types of hardware on your phone in case you think there is something wrong with it. It’ll let you know if your phone has a damaged part.
Digital Well-Being Menu
Within the Digital well-being menu a new option called driving monitor now keeps track of how long you drive on a daily or weekly basis and what apps you use the most while you’re on the road. It only gets triggered whenever you’re in a moving vehicle and if you’re driving it helps you keep your eyes on the road.
The Privacy Menu now lets you see a history of what apps have access specific permissions and at what time, this includes the microphone, camera, location and more. If you’re not comfortable with an app accessing these permissions you can also easily revoke it from them within this menu.
The Accessibility Section now lets you have a floating toolbar within its advanced settings under the accessibility button to let you access certain features a lot faster.
So for example I can quickly enable magnification to zoom into a picture, view all sounds quickly, enable high contrast fonts and more. Plus the accessibility section has more visibility options, magnification options and more. Finally the search functionality for the system settings has been slightly improved.
Set AR Emoji as Profile Picture
For those who care you can now use an AR emoji as your profile picture within your Samsung and Contacts account plus you can choose from 10 different poses or just make your own facial expression.
Microphone and Camera indicator
Whenever an app is accessing your microphone or camera whether it’s in the foreground or background a green dot will appear in the top right corner of the screen to let you know.
Plus you can instantly block all apps from using the camera or microphone with two new quick setting tiles.
When an app requests access to your location you can now let them have an approximate location or a more precise one.
Next we’re going to go over every significant change found within most Samsung Apps.
Starting with the clock app, the dual clock widget that lets you keep track of the time for two cities, now shows different background colors for each city depending on whether it’s day or night there.
The Samsung calendar has a new widget that lets you see the monthly calendar along with today’s events. Probably the most helpful calendar widget that I’ve seen yet to be honest.
You can also create a calendar event even faster within the app by typing the event’s name in the text field next to the plus icon.
Samsung internet now gives you search suggestions when you type anything within the address bar and when you enter secret mode the next time you open the browser again even if you close the app you’ll still automatically enter secret mode for security purposes.
For Samsung messages the search functionality is a lot more useful now letting you bring up pictures videos web links and other content within the search results instead of just messages.
The My Files App has also improved its search functionality by letting you find files even when you have a typo in your search. Plus the recent files area is a bit bigger now and lets you scroll through more recently used files when you’re on the main page.
Bixby routines has received more conditions including being able to start a routine while you’re on a call or when a specific notification arrives. Certain restrictions for some combinations have also been removed so you can do a lot more and you can also reorder actions by touching and dragging them within the edit page. Finally you can create custom icons for your routines using the camera or gallery pictures.
The Camera App has also gone in a slightly redesigned interface with some new features. Whenever the viewfinder detects that there is low light or that you’re scanning a document within photo mode the scene optimizer button will appear. Plus after you scan a document you can finally zoom into the edges for fine tune adjustments.
When you scan a QR code you can choose from different options depending on the type of QR code and within the viewfinder you can now see the exact zoom level on the lens icons even within modes that only support one lens. Comes in handy when you’re not sure how close or far away your camera is.
When you long press and hold the shutter button with photo mode the camera will begin to record a video. Dragging your finger to the lock icon will let you continue recording without needing to hold the button anymore.
When you’re in video mode the recording starts immediately after you tap the record button instead of when you release it.
Within single take mode you can now add extra time while you’re capturing to get extra moments and unique shots.
For Pro Mode you can now get a level indicator when you enable the grid lines to help you make your shots straighter and centered.
The Gallery App has also gotten a few changes but they aren’t that exciting.
You can now have the gallery app remaster a photo to make it look better plus you can edit the time, date and location of a photo or video I thought that was pretty cool. When you search for any pictures or videos the suggestions have greatly improved and any recent searches are also suggested.
Regarding the Photo Editor Samsung now lets you add emojis to your photos and videos. There’s also a new light balance option when tapping on the sun icon to change the tone of a picture more easily and probably the coolest new feature within the photo editor is that you can now remove objects, people or anything else that you don’t want in your photo when using the object eraser tool.
You just need to tap on the three dot button select labs enable object eraser go back and select object eraser. From there circle the item that you like to remove and hit erase. It’s a hit or miss situation but it makes the picture look cleaner when it does work.
You can now also create video collages that are perfect for Instagram stories or posts. You just select up to six images or videos tap on more then create and finally collage. From there you can select different types of collages, select the ratio, the color of the frame, choose which video should play sound and save or share the collage.
The Samsung keyboard has obtained a simpler top toolbar by combining the sticker GIF and Emoji buttons.
The emoji section has a new feature that allows you to create your own emoji stickers when you’re within certain apps. Basically letting you combine two emojis to create a random GIF.
Finally Samsung has teamed up with Grammarly a well-respected grammar fixing tool to improve your grammar and spelling and it works really well too.
The Samsung Health app has added an extra tab called my page that shows you your profile, weekly summary, personal bests, badges and more basically removing the side panel.
You can now create dance videos within the AR Zone app with your AR emoji and even set them as your lock screen wallpaper or as your call background. There are over 10 different templates to choose from.
Whenever you open the Tips App you now get videos on the main page to help you learn more quickly about your samsung phone.
And finally Samsung Dex has obtained better app compatibility making a lot more apps resizable.
Anyways that’s practically every huge change found within Samsung’s big One UI 4.0 update. If you want to check that your Samsung Device is eligible or not for Samsung One UI 4.0 Update, you may check the list of Samsung One UI 4.0 eligible devices list.