Samsung stated in July 2021 that the Galaxy S21 series will receive the Android 12-based One UI 4 Beta software upgrade before the stable version was released. The company released the One UI 4 Beta update on September 14, 2021, in select countries like Germany, South Korea, and the United States. Samsung has added its own set of software enhancements to One UI 4.0, in addition to all of the improvements Google provided with Android 12.
Updated privacy and security features, design UI updates, improved stock applications, additional lock screen widgets, a new charging animation, AR Emoji enhancements, and more are all included in the latest version of One UI.
Galaxy S21 owners can sign up for the beta program using the Samsung Members app. An OTA software update prompt will appear once you’ve enrolled, and the large upgrade (build version ZUJ1) will begin. The update changelog mentions a 2.3GB download size, as well as the October security patch.
The finest features of One UI 4.0 are listed below:
1) New animation while charging
When you place your Galaxy smartphone on a wireless charging pad or connect it in through USB-C, Samsung has introduced a new charge animation, similar to that of the Pixel. The animation displays briefly on the screen as a circular pop-up with a spinning circular progress bar to signal that a charge is being received. It lasts around 1-2 seconds and serves as a pleasant visual cue that your device is getting power.
2) Indicators for camera and microphone access
When running applications that access your on-device cameras or microphone, you’ll see a status bar indication to let you know that the hardware has been used as part of the broader privacy restrictions introduced in Android 12.
Tapping expands to reveal which program has done so, which is a handy method to quickly see whether applications are accessing hardware you don’t want them to. As part of this, there are new toggles in the Quick Toggles panel to deactivate or prevent camera and microphone access to all applications, exactly like on Pixel devices.
3) Object eraser in the Gallery app
A new editing tool in the Labs area allows you to pick any in-image objects and apply a similar effect to Photoshop’s context-aware removal tool. The “object eraser” feature allows you to delete specific sections or items from an image, with the software attempting to modify and replace the thing you’ve chosen.
The image is rapidly examined before you acquire the ability to draw around any topic you want to eliminate from an image before you can use the tool. The final outcome will vary from shot to shot and will be strongly influenced by the subject matter, framing, and image quality. It does allow for fast adjustments and modifications without the need to export to Photoshop on a desktop PC or laptop, and the result is excellent.
4) Camera UI enhancements
In One UI 4.0, instead of the abstract tree symbols, the app now simply informs you what zoom level the camera is set at. This is much easier to understand and eliminates confusion when you wish to swap lenses, crop in, or zoom in and are unsure what each option truly translates to.
When in the default photo mode, tapping and holding the shutter button enables fast video recording as per your normal settings, but you can now swipe up to lock video recording in place. This may be really useful if you need to shoot video fast and on the move. The Pro video mode has also been improved, with more succinct modifications and more visible text.
5) Picture-in-picture video with rounded edges
The harsh window edges have been softened for a rounded and consistent appearance while viewing films in picture-in-picture mode. It’s a tiny adjustment, but it’s similar to the modification made on Pixel smartphones with the Android 12 Developer Preview and Beta releases.
When you wish to focus on another app or UI part, you can also save playing content for fast retrieval. Although it may be anecdotal, it appears like the corner expansion has been adjusted and is more precise when increasing the size of the mini-player window.
6) Activation of the always-on display when a notice is received
The inability to modify the Always-on display activation after getting a notice has previously been a source of irritation with One UI. Fortunately, One UI 4.0 and Android 12 have the ability to have the Always-on display turn on when you get a notification.
This just wakes up the screen when a notification ping arrives and only shows the Always-on display while a notice is waiting. When you dismiss a notice, the function is deactivated until you receive another ping. This is a clever new option for reminding you to pick up your phone, and it may have some extra battery longevity advantages.
7) Extra Dim toggle and improved brightness slider
When fully extending out the notification shade, the brightness slider has been relocated for better one-handed access. The slider has also grown in size and resembles the unified volume control sliders that have been included in One UI 4.0 for some time.
The Extra Dim option, which allows for rapid display lowering by touching a notification shade toggle, isn’t the only update to screen brightness management. This option can be tweaked to your liking and is a fantastic accessibility feature, but it might also come in handy when checking your smartphone in low-light situations.
8) Flash alerts for each app
Although it’s officially an accessibility feature, with the first Samsung One UI 4.0 Beta, you can now personalize Flash alerts by utilizing either the camera flash or a screen flash. You may create a full-screen color flash when you get a notice from an app from here, which may assist you to figure out which app provided the message quickly. It’s important to note that this only works when your phone is unlocked and in conjunction with the Edge Lighting function if it’s turned on.
9) New menu for media output
With One UI 4.0, Samsung has redesigned the media menu output options to allow you to easily connect or modify where any music or movie audio is playing. The accompanying volume settings now seem more manageable while having no effect on how the music notification shade music player functions.
10) Dashboard for privacy
Samsung has added their own take on things with Samsung One UI 4.0, which isn’t quite the same as the “Privacy Dashboard” available on Android 12 for Pixel devices. It’s not exactly like Google’s, but it accomplishes the similar purpose of displaying which applications are utilizing certain device permissions. Another thing to note is that when you start an app, Samsung has included a pop-up that allows you to accept alerts, something we don’t see on Pixels running Android 12.