– Nov. 1st 2022 9:00 am PT
After an extended beta phase, Android 13 or One UI 5.0 for Samsung Galaxy phones is now rolling out for eligible devices. Here’s every key feature that you need to know about.
Samsung’s version of Android 13 is quite different to Google’s vision. The build that ships with Galaxy phones and tablets includes a lot of changes that have become synonymous with the Korean manufacturer’s vision for Google’s own mobile OS.
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One UI 5.0 has a ton of front-of-house changes to help improve the experience when using the default system launcher. These range from simple tweaks to widgets to complete overhauls.
The Color palette feature also now includes more swatches of tonal changes for you to select. Twelve wallpaper-based color swatches are available right away with a further 12 “basic” color selections that include four dual-tone options that can be applied to your device.
Throughout the One UI beta, Google’s monotone-themed icons have steadily been added to Samsung’s repertoire. With the full release of Android 13 for Samsung phones, more icons can be themed as part of the wider Dynamic Color settings previously adopted in One UI.
Samsung’s default applications are all themed, with many of Google’s first-party applications also adhering to the Color Palette settings on your device. Sadly, not many third-party apps come with monochrome home screen icon support, which makes this a frustrating theming option — at least for now.
Some layout changes are present in the Notification shade with wider spacing between incoming notifications and larger app icons. When pressing and holding any notification, the panel has adjusted to give a larger option to enter per-app Settings. The “Deliver quietly” option appears to have been removed. One cosmetic change here is the usage of rounded M3 buttons being used to highlight the docked “Notification settings” and “Clear” functions.
In One UI 5.0 you can quickly enter split-screen multitasking or put apps into a floating window by long-pressing and dragging the app icon from the Recents menu. Dragging up or down allows you to open apps pinned to the top or bottom of your screen in super quick fashion.
A point of contention for One UI (and Android in general) over the past few years has been the quality and consistency of animations. Samsung was often cited as one of the worst offenders regarding unfinished app and UI animations. Android 13 has provided the opportunity for Samsung to clean up the motions.
There are still some frame skips here and there, but things have improved substantially here in One UI 5.0. Scrolling isn’t always as slick as it should be on 120Hz screens. When switching applications, returning to the home screen, or accessing various floating or pulldown UI sections, there is an undoubted improvement.
Widgets are not often a focus when OS updates arrive. That said, in One UI 5.0 a few notable options are now available. Firstly, a new “Smart suggestions” widget can be placed on your home screen. This offers a variety of apps and functions that will change depending on device context or your device usage.
You can also create a smart stack with more on-device apps that support home screen widgets. The process has changed too. Instead of creating a “Smart Widget,” you can just long-press on any widget and add to it with the “Edit stack” function.
When changing the wallpaper in One UI 5.0, you’ll be greeted with an improved or revamped Wallpaper selection screen. It’s easier to navigate with clear sections for each wallpaper type and a scrollable “Gallery” section that hosts all of your downloaded or user-generated content.
There are new sections for simple colors, graphical styles, and a Dynamic Lock screen settings from within this updated area, too. After choosing the perfect wallpaper for your device theme, just like on iOS you’ll see a mini preview of this in situ with the option to just set it on the Home screen, Lock screen, or both simultaneously.
Although similar functionality has existed as part of the Good Lock add-on for Samsung phones for some time, One UI 5.0 melds this into the core Android build on Galaxy devices. There are certainly more than a few similarities to how you can customize iPhone lockscreens in iOS 16.
It works in the same way as it does on iOS, with a long-press from a locked device opening controls to change the font of the lock screen clock, wallpaper, and the style of notification widgets. The bottom left and right app shortcuts can also be changed to any installed applications 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 like iOS 16. However, you can’t save specific profiles. Instead, you’ll need to change up the lock screen each time.
Camera modes are now more user-friendly with some quick information tabs for the Pro photo and video modes. A small “i” icon can be tapped with a floating pane giving a brief overview of just what each toggle and setting within the video and photo “Pro” modes control or alter when adjusted.
Watermarks can be added or enabled for all images taken with your Galaxy camera thanks to a new toggle in the Settings menu. This includes the ability to add a time and date watermark, the device model number or a completely custom text watermark to suit your style with a limited number of fonts and alignment options available.
Samsung has also improved the zoom acceleration when using the digital camera scroll wheel. When zooming in or out within the viewfinder, you’ll reach the 100x point or 0.5x zoom levels more easily. This is great if you want to quickly zoom in or out and grab a snap on the go.
If you use Portrait Blur for images, Samsung is now letting you adjust the blur effect after an image is taken from within the stock Gallery application. Another neat function added in One UI 5.0 is the ability to select, copy, and share text from images and videos within the Gallery app. If there is text in an image, just a long-press, and your Galaxy device will analyze and identify any text that you can copy.
A new custom sticker option lets you select any part of an image and turn it into a PNG, which can used as a sticker thanks to the transparent nature of PNG images. The edge detection is acceptable for basic edits but not very precise.
The markup tool has leveled up significantly in One UI 5.0 too. Now it includes a number of enhanced tools like the ability to create precise shapes when highlighting image sections. This is simple, as you can draw a shape, then hold it in place and the shape will be identified and turned into an accurate shape.
Samsung has also increased the default selection of stickers that can be applied to images, with added block shapes, speech bubbles, and glyphs to add to your images. When adding text, a new in-app slider lets you fully control font size with precision.
Like in Android 13 on Pixel phones, One UI 5.0 has integrated the per-app language controls for Galaxy devices. If you are multilingual, you can set any app on your phone to a different language if the application supports this. This doesn’t affect the system language settings, just the apps you have altered.
The Settings section has a number of alterations to help improve the accessibility and usability of the main device and account control center. Many of the changes are minor or simply make options more prominent and easier to find.
Samsung has made some changes to the Settings pages with new sections including Google’s “Connected devices” section. This is home to options such as the S Pen, DeX, Link to Windows, Android Autio, wearables, and more. Many have been removed from the “Advanced features” section and now can be found here.
When viewing the “About device” screen, you’ll get a mini PNG preview of your device, which even shows the correct color to boot.
A new expanded overflow “Intelligent Wi-Fi” option is present in One UI 5.0 that hides a Wi-Fi Developer menu. Tapping the “Intelligent Wi-Fi” menu section multiple times adds a “Wi-Fi developer options” menu that provides in-depth connectivity information like band information and Wi-Fi overlap plus much more.
Each installed app can have fully customized notifications including control over the full notification type. You’re able to change just how notifications appear on your device on an app-by-app basis including blocking showing on the lock screen, disabling badges, and even pop-ups. This stacks with the existing ability to silence incoming notifications completely.
Modes can be activated or customized depending on context. This is simply an automation option that improves upon the previous Bixby Routines function used in previous One UI builds. You can create contextual or time-sensitive automations for common phone functions.
The RAM Plus function lets you set aside up to 8GB of onboard device storage to act as virtual memory and, hopefully, improve performance by allowing more devices to stay open in the background. This was previously enabled by default in One UI 4.0 and 4.1. In One UI 5.0, you can disable this outright if you prefer not to lose up to 8GB of onboard storage.
Samsung has already started to push the latest update to a number of smartphones including the Galaxy S22 series. Although no firm release date has been shared, the latest build is also set to come to older handsets including the Z Fold series, S21 lineup, plus many more over the coming months.
Do you have a feature added in One UI 5.0 that you love and cannot live without? Let us know what you think is the best new addition in the comments below.
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Samsung is a technology conglomerate based out of South Korea that makes some of the world's most popular smartphones.
Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: email@example.com
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