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One UI 5 beta hands-on reveals what to expect on Galaxy phones

what you need to know

  • Samsung is preparing to release One UI 5 (in beta) in the coming weeks.
  • The Galaxy S22 series is probably the first to get it.
  • A new One UI 5 hands-on has been discovered.
  • It brings minor improvements in terms of design.

One UI 5 is the next Android-based user interface for Samsung’s Galaxy phones, and we expect the first betas for Galaxy devices to appear in a couple of weeks. Per multiple reports (opens in new tab), the upcoming software iteration is expected to be released in the third week of July. Other sources have said that the software build has already been deployed (opens in new tab) to the team internally.

Now there is a new build that the folks at 9to5Google have received. It looks to be the latest One UI 5 beta, setting the tone for what to expect from eligible Galaxy devices on the software front. The report suggests that this beta build was provided by an anonymous source, assuring it may not be the actual version consumers would receive. So take all the information with a grain of salt as some may not see the light of day.

Although there is no change log, the 9to5Google report initially includes all new features discovered with the latest beta. Along with new features, it also compares how different One UI 5 is from the previous iteration.

The notification panel gets a new design, mainly for the app icons that appear in the panel, which now look cleaner. Quick Settings also gets a neat opacity overhaul, which is quite different from the One UI 4. The next design change is to the permissions dialog, which appears to have changed its positioning from bottom to center and includes colorful buttons to click.

The other notable addition is the OCR for Samsung’s Gallery app. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a new feature that allows you to copy all the text from an image from Gallery. It recognizes all types of text in photos, similar to what we saw in Google Translate.

Users can select the selected text from the image which now has a text scan button at the bottom and copy it to the clipboard. 9to5Google mentions that this was something Bixby could do in the past. However, it is likely to be integrated into the UI of the Android 13-based beta, which is preparing to arrive on some of the best Android devices like the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Then there’s the keyboard OCR tool, which lets you select any text from your clipboard. Suppose you want to share a message from a newspaper or the web with your WhatsApp friends. Rather than physically typing or copying and pasting/sharing with the online version of the app. Users using the beta version can simply press the “scan text” icon on the keyboard, which replaces the cursor display. Normally you would hold it to paste something from the clipboard, but it now has a new option: a text scanning pop-up. Both OCR features seem to have been removed from iOS. The report points out that they work similarly on the latest One UI 5 beta.

Samsung appears to be rolling out its native privacy hub with the new beta, similar to what we’ve seen with the Android 13 betas on Pixel devices like the Pixel 6 Pro. It primarily offers access to specific security settings like lock screen, app security, and biometrics to name a few. These presets/settings are nothing new from One UI 4, but are now accessible via a native hub.

The other notable features of the One UI 5 Beta results include new multitasking gestures. They now allow you to go to a split-screen view with just a two-finger swipe from the bottom of the screen. Swipe again to switch apps. Samsung Notes also offers nifty features like collaboration with up to a hundred people who can write, edit, and share notes.

There’s a new active app view in quick settings; Likewise, users can see the model picture of the phone on the About Phone page. Finally, a new Ultra Wideband toggle will appear in the Settings app, allowing you to identify the precise location of nearby devices.