Samsung opened the Android 12-based One UI 4.0 beta program the Galaxy S21 series earlier this week. The update is already showing up in several markets. We now have the full changelog for One UI 4.0 and there’s plenty to look forward to. The Korean company says One UI 4 is “all about you,” with a lot of focus on privacy while maintaining, or even improving the seamless experience.
Taking a cue from Apple, Samsung will now notify you whenever an app is using the camera or microphone. A green dot will appear in the upper right corner of the screen. You can see all the apps that have access to the camera, microphone, or location in Settings and block access for individual apps. You can also temporarily block all apps from accessing the camera and microphone from the quick panel.
Likewise, for apps that don’t require your exact location to provide service, such as weather, you can set them to only have access to your approximate location.
Another notable privacy feature coming to Samsung smartphones with One UI 4.0 is related to the clipboard. If you have copied any sensitive information such as credit card number or password, your device will notify you when some other app gains access to the clipboard. This is an optional feature.
Samsung now lets you manage your emergency contacts and safety information all in one place. The company has also improved accessibility with several new features. There’s now an always-available floating button for quick access to accessibility features. You also get new gestures and accessibility settings.
Samsung Internet can now open in your last used browsing mode. Meaning if you were using the browser in secret mode during your last browsing session, it will open in secret mode the next time you launch the app.
Redesigned widgets, improved Samsung Keyboard, and more
Samsung says it has redesigned the homescreen widgets on One UI 4.0 so you can see more at a glance. Your device will now automatically suggest widgets that may be useful to you. Google has also given some attention to widgets on Android 12, so that’s not very surprising.
Switching the audio output device, such as headphones or a speaker, no longer needs you to unlock your phone. You can also record voice memos or see your calendar events right from the lockscreen. These features are available as optional lockscreen widgets. Always on display (AOD) gets new animated stickers and can now be set to turn on whenever you receive a notification.
Samsung has made the brightness bar in the quick settings panel larger for easier access and control. Managing notification in the quick panel is now more comfortable thanks to an enhanced layout. Your wallpaper, icons, and illustrations can also adapt to Dark mode for a more consistent look.
Samsung Keyboard is integrating the popular cloud-based writing assistant platform Grammarly for checking the spelling and grammar of your writings. This is a handy feature to have built-in on your keyboard. It works only with the English language though. Samsung Keyboard also gets new animated stickers and a button to quickly access emojis and GIFs.
The Messages app can now show photos, videos, URLs, and other content in search results. My Files also gets improvements in search functionality. Samsung Health gets a new tabbed layout. The popular health tracker application also adds more snacks options and several other minor features.
Bixby Routines can now initiate routines when you receive a certain notification or an incoming call. It lets you add custom icons for your routines using images from the gallery or camera. Samsung says it has removed certain restrictions and added more new options so you can do more with Bixby Routines.
The camera layout sees a drastic change
Samsung has made several changes to the camera layout to make it simpler and clearer. Certain features, such as Scene Optimizer, only appear when you are likely to need them, like capturing a photo in low light or scanning a document.
Galaxy smartphones running One UI 4.0 will now start recording videos immediately after you tap the record button. Earlier, recording started only after you have released your finger from the button. Pro mode settings have also been organized, while you can now add extra time when recording in Single Take. There are several more minor changes within the Camera app.
In Gallery, you now have more options for sorting big albums. If you’re sharing a picture that is blurry or needs some color fixing, your device will suggest editing it. Remastered pictures can be reverted to the original version at any time, while you can also now edit the time, date, and location of pictures and videos.
Talking about editing, you can now mix images and videos from the Gallery to create video collages. There are also new stickers, emojis, and editor presets to quickly change the tone of your photo. Like pictures, you can revert edited videos to the original versions as well.
AR Emoji also sees the addition of new stickers, templates, and more for added fun. You can now use an AR Emoji as your avatar in your Samsung Account and contacts.
Other notable changes mentioned in the official One UI 4.0 changelog include new visual effects for charging, an emoji phone status indicator in Device Care, day/night background colors for the dual clock widget, driving monitor feature in Digital Wellbeing settings, easy resizing of picture-in-picture (PiP) windows, a homescreen widget for Calendar, and more.
Check out the gallery below for the full One UI 4.0 changelog. Meanwhile, if you’re using a Samsung Galaxy S21 model, here’s how you can join the beta program. Note that One UI 4.0 beta is only available to users in these seven countries.