Highlights

  • One UI 4 brings some new visual tweaks
  • Google's colour picker makes its way to One UI 4
  • Stronger focus on privacy with One UI 4

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One UI 4: best new features!

Samsung’s flavour of Android 12, called One UI 4, is now available as an update for the Galaxy S21 series in India. Here’s an overview of all the best new features you can expect from One UI 4.

Samsung has garnered quite the reputation for being very fast with Android updates, and for good reason. Their flavour of Android 12, called One UI 4, is now available as an update for the Galaxy S21 series in India, and other devices should also be getting it soon. Before you hit that update button, here’s an overview of all the best new features you can expect from One UI 4.

One UI 4: Material You

Although Google has completely overhauled Android’s look and feel with Android 12, with the OS being extremely visually different from Android 11, Samsung has not gone that far. One UI 4 gets some new tweaks, but overall the look is quite similar to One UI 3. Which, by the way, I’m pretty glad about, because I’m not a huge fan of the new Android 12 look.

You get aspects of Google’s new design language, called Material You. One of the main features present is the colour palette, which can automatically pick out device theme colours based on your wallpaper. These colours apply in the device UI, but also apps that have been updated to support Material You, and icons on the home screen if you so choose. For me, this is one of the best features of One UI 4.

Also Read: Samsung announces One UI 4 update roadmap for India: check when your phone will get the update

One UI 4: Privacy

A big focus for Android 12 is privacy, and One UI 4 is no different. Quite notably, you’ll now get green notification dots on the top right whenever your camera or microphone is accessed, making sure no app can use these without you knowing.

You also get the Privacy Dashboard, which is a new one-stop shop which can be accessed through the new ‘Privacy’ entry in the settings menu. The Dashboard lets you switch Camera and Microphone access on or off completely, and get detailed analysis about which permissions have been used over time, and which apps asked for them, with specific time stamps. Also new in Android 12 is the option to give a precise or approximate location, when an app asks for it.

Samsung also gives you the option to get an alert if an app accesses text, images, or any other content from the clipboard, that you’ve copied.

One UI 4: Camera and Gallery

One major change is the UI for the camera app. Notably, the buttons to change camera lenses now show you what zoom level you’re using in numbers, rather than the trees used in One UI 3. This makes it much more clear. The scene optimiser or document scanner icons will now only show up if those features are activated, and there are some changes to the Pro mode layout as well.

Samsung has changed the shutter button delay for videos, where it used to start recording when you released the button, but now records right from when you press the button instead.

The Gallery app has received some changes. Quite notably there’s now an object eraser tool, which can erase objects from photos much like the Pixel 6’s Magic Eraser feature. This was available experimentally on some devices with One UI 3, but is now a standard feature with One UI 4.

Also Watch: Mobile phone radiation: is it killing you?

One UI 4: Accessibility

There are a few new accessibility feature in One UI 4, like the Flash Notifications setting. This gives you the option to flash the display, the flashlight, or both, when you receive notifications. You can choose to do so for all notifications, or ones from specific apps.

There’s a new ‘Extra Dim’ option for the display, which lets you bring down brightness even more than the previous lowest setting, which could be useful in pitch-black situations. You can also choose to reduce transparency and blur effects on system dialogues and menus to make them easier to see.

One UI 4: RAM Plus

In One UI 4, Samsung has added their own virtual RAM expansion feature, which has gotten quite popular these days. They call this RAM Plus, and it can use the internal storage as extra RAM, similar to a page file on a desktop OS.

On this Galaxy S21+ unit, which has 8GB of RAM, you get 4GB of RAM Plus by default. There’s no way to change this allocation or turn it off.

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One UI 4: Look and Feel

There have been numerous other small changes to the UI.

The quick settings or notifications panel has got some minor tweaks. The brightness slider is now bigger, and you can choose to have it present on the notifications screen itself. The Device Control and Media Output buttons are renamed and slightly bigger. The Media Output button, which lets you decide if you want playback from a specific device, is now accessible from the lock screen itself.

Widgets get a new look with rounded corners, and there’s a new widget picker for the default One UI Home launcher, which looks a lot like the new default Android 12 implementation.

The size of the picture-in-picture floating video player can now be changed by pinching in or out, which is a great quality of life feature.

The share menu has received an overhaul, where you can now finally choose a list of favourite apps, which you frequently share content to. All your other apps are also available through a simple tap.

The device care menu has been redesigned with a new look, where an emoji now tells you how well you’re taking care of your device.

There’s a new charging animation with One UI 4, which is more colourful than the previous iteration.

One UI 4: Verdict

Samsung has delivered a very mature update with One UI 4, which integrates some of the best new features of Android 12 like the privacy enhancements and colour picker, but keeps Samsung’s very distinct identity and look. There are lots of new little changes and tweaks to discover with the new update.

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