First released in Beta back in September 2021, One UI 4 is now widely available on compatible Samsung devices and is the default operating system for the latest flagship range – the S22 series. Based on Android 12, One UI 4 builds on this operating system, overlaying it with a unique branded ‘skin’ and incorporating several additional features for Samsung users exclusively to enjoy. We assess the benefits of One UI 4 in greater detail below.
1. Design updates
One UI 4 offers a subtle design upgrade and is seamlessly integrated with Android 12’s Material You update. That means you can control the colour palette of the background, as well as enjoy the Colour Extraction feature. This pulls tones from your chosen wallpaper and applies them to the general theme, so you see these colours mirrored in your quick panel, and elsewhere.
Widgets on your home screen now provide more information at a glance too – there’s even a voice recorder widget for the lock screen, allowing you to record a voice note without unlocking your device. As well as this, the Always-On display can be set to come on whenever you get a notification, and there are new animated stickers to enjoy for information like the weather.
2. Privacy controls
Privacy is another area of focus for the One UI 4 update, with greater emphasis placed on permissions. Thanks to this latest iteration of the OS, users have more autonomy over which applications are accessing sensitive services like location, microphone, or camera, and can manually disable these permissions in Settings. Every time an app is using these features, a small green dot will appear in the top-right corner of the display, alerting you to the fact.
3. Camera settings
This upgrade also brings with it a more user-friendly camera system, with an improved interface that is designed to be simpler to navigate. For instance, the scene optimiser icon will only be visible when you’re shooting in low light or using your camera to scan a document. And in Pro Mode, you’ll find that controls have been reorganised for a less busy appearance. Another especially convenient addition is the ability to revert edited photos to their original versions at any point – even once you’ve saved your edits.
Meanwhile, video recording now starts immediately after you tap the record button, rather than waiting for you to release as it did previously – or in photo mode, you can just long-press the shutter button to begin filming. As well as this, the selection menu in Single Take mode has been tweaked; once you’ve captured your image, you can enjoy better visibility of the different shots available in the line-up.
4. Improved accessibility
There have been several improvements made to the accessibility of this OS too, and users will have more control over certain display factors than before. For example, you can alter factors like transparency, blur, or contrast to help increase legibility and comfort for those with visual impairments. Similarly, you can set the push notifications for each app to appear in a different colour, so it’s easier to recognise where they’re coming from at a glance.
Not to mention, all these accessibility features can be easily reached in one swift action with the new floating button, which – once activated – will conveniently appear as a shortcut on your home screen.
5. More ways to share
Samsung has always invested in innovative means of sharing documents across multiple devices, and One UI 4 develops this further. When you go to share a file a panel of possible options appears – usually including email, WhatsApp, and other similar apps – but this panel can now be customised, so you can remove those methods which go unused.
At the point of sharing a photo or video with your contacts, Samsung will now offer helpful tips for how the content can be improved before you send it. Your camera app might prompt you to tilt the image, blur the background, or dial-up sharpness, so the images you share are picture-perfect, every time.