Spend any amount of time using a Samsung smartphone, and you’ll instantly become familiar with its custom Android user interface, One UI. An evolution of the Korean company’s earlier TouchWiz UI, One UI is designed to take all the strengths of stock Android and integrate them with Samsung’s own improvements. It’s been warmly received by fans, with many citing how useful its features can be without sacrificing performance. Recently Samsung released the latest iteration of their Android interface, One UI 5.1. With a whole slew of new features, some new optimizations, and many extras, it’s an exciting time to be a Samsung smartphone user. If you’re a Samsung user who’s out of the loop, don’t worry. We’ve compiled all the meaningful changes below to make things easier, so let’s get right into what’s new.
Samsung One UI 5.1: New Features
Samsung One UI 5.1 brings a lot of new features to Samsung devices, many of which change things up in a fairly big way. Many of these features are additions to preexisting apps and services that allow users to approach things in new, more efficient ways. Many of them are great, while others are much smaller but still highly appreciated.
A Smarter, More Feature-rich Gallery Application
The Gallery app is an often overlooked part of any user interface, but Samsung’s been making small additions to theirs with every One UI update. It continues with One UI 5.1, which presents users with the best version of the Gallery app so far. On top of presenting users with better image metadata, there are also new editing options, such as shadow and reflection removal.
Surprisingly, Samsung also lifts a bit from Apple’s iOS here, adding object recognition and separation features to the new Gallery app. Now, long pressing on an object or person will let your phone recognize and remove them from an image. From there, the Samsung Gallery app will allow you to either share the image or save it as a copy on your phone.
Searching for images on the Samsung Gallery app is much simpler, allowing you to find images based on faces. Simply tap on the face of a person in an image, and the Gallery will present you with every available image of said person. You can then sort them into their own album, where any future images will automatically go into.
Samsung Camera App Gets Manual Controls
OneUI 5.1 introduced new camera features such as improved night mode and better autofocus, though the biggest change comes in Samsung’s Expert RAW app. This app gives users manual control over every camera setting, and it’s now accessible from the default camera app itself, provided you have installed this app from Galaxy Store. Taking RAW photos is now as simple as swiping over to the “Advanced” section of the app.
There are other, smaller changes as well. You can now alter the color tone of the camera before taking a shot, as well as choose between “Natural” or “Bright” exposure options. Overall, a fairly decent slew of updates for the Camera app.
OneUI 5.1 Upgrades The AR Experience
With OneUI 5.1, Samsung’s taken the opportunity to add more to its AR offerings. Now included in the package are AR Doodles, which give you access to a bunch of different brushes straight from Samsung’s AR launch screen. There’s also an eraser tool to get rid of any incorrect doodles, and the ability to resize doodles as you see fit.
Other than that, the AR Emoji camera also gets some fun new updates. Most of these are playful, like allowing three people in the photos to wear AR cartoon masks, though nothing really changes the user experience in a big way.
Bixby Mode and Routines Get an Overhaul
Apple shook things up with the introduction of the Focus mode on iOS 16. Samsung is now responding in kind, overhauling its older Bixby Modes and Routines features. With the latest update, Modes can now automate a greater degree of processes based on context. These include situations based on the time of day and location.
Routines meanwhile are similar but with options giving users more granular control over the user experience. It includes things like changing the touch sensitivity of your display, the size and style of your font, and even changing notifications and ringtones based on context. The possibilities with the new overhaul are endless, giving power users endless options.
Bixby Text Call Helps Log Calls
Rounding out the new features is Bixby Text Call, a feature almost lifted directly from Google’s Call Screen. What it does is use AI to screen your calls, making a text chat log out of them. From there, you can screen the logs to see if it’s a spam caller or robot call, all without ever needing to pick up the phone. For now, the feature is only available in English and Korean, but we’re happy to see it and hope more manufacturers pick up on this.
Samsung One UI 5.1: Improvements
Alongside the new features, Samsung also brought a lot of smaller tweaks and improvements to One UI in the 5.1 updates. These give your Smartphone small boosts in performance and efficiency, even if they’re not immediately obvious. Once again, we’ve compiled all the notable ones below, so read on to find out more.
Brand New Widgets Are Available
Samsung brings in a couple of new widgets with the latest One UI update. While most of the widget changes are smaller tweaks to existing stuff, there are new weather widgets, as well as 4×1 and 4×2 battery widgets. These give users more granular control of their battery health and status from their home screens. It’s similar to the one available on Pixel devices, but still good to see.
An Improved Samsung Setup Wizard
Samsung’s Setup Wizard has always been fairly basic, but with OneUI 5.1, Samsung looks to improve things. Despite this, it’s not really anything too big, it’s just a few new options. Perhaps the biggest improvement however is the ability to use Fast Pair to import your Wi-Fi network and accounts from other Samsung devices.
Better Multitasking Options
Now while multitasking, you can have two apps open side-by-side in both landscape and portrait modes. A fast corner swipe will restore fullscreen mode, and in split screen, you get offered the option to quickly launch your favorite and most used apps. It’s pretty convenient to have.
Smoother, More Refined Animations
Samsung’s made an effort to improve a lot of the animations in OneUI 5.1. While there aren’t any specifics, most users should be able to feel the marked improvements in general navigation within OneUI 5.1. Performance improvements are always welcome with software updates, and refining the animations makes those improvements even more noticeable.
Samsung One UI 5.1: Eligible Devices
Samsung OneUI 5.1 will definitely be coming to most flagship and new Samsung devices, though for older devices it’s still up in the air. We’ve made a list of confirmed devices below, encompassing smartphones from the flagship S-series all the way down to the more mid-range A-series.
- Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Note 10+, Note 10 Lite
- Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, S10 Lite
- Samsung Galaxy A52, A52 5G, A72
It’s also worth noting two more things. First, some of the older Samsung devices probably will not receive the OneUI 5.1 update. Second, older devices that receive the OneUI 5.1 update may not receive all of the new features but instead just the tweaks and performance improvements.
Overall, Samsung’s OneUI 5.1 update is pretty comprehensive, adding a fair amount for a non-generational update. Lots of the improvements don’t change things at the core level but instead, take established features and add to them in smart and fascinating ways. There’s a lot to like with this update, and it’s generally a pretty good time to be a Samsung fan.
One UI 5.1 Full Changelog:
One UI 5.1 Update One UI 5.1 takes your phone to the next level with new Gallery features as well as productivity and personalization enhancements. Camera and Gallery Quickly change the color tone for selfies It's easier to change the color tone of your selfies using the Effects button at the top of the screen. Discover Expert RAW Expert RAW lets you take high-quality shots, perfect for those who want to have full control and edit photos later. Expert RAW is now easier to access from the More menu in Camera. More powerful search You can now search your Gallery for more than one person or subject at the same time. You can even search for people without tagging their names just by tapping their faces. Enhanced image remastering Remastering does more to make your pictures look great by removing shadows and reflections. You can also remaster GIFs for better resolution and clarity. Preview has also been improved to make it easier to compare the original picture with the remaster. Create a shared family album It's easier than ever to share pictures with your family. Gallery will recommend pictures to add to your shared family album by recognizing the faces of your family members. You get 5 GB of storage for each family member (up to 6 people). Revamped info display When you swipe up while viewing a picture or video in your Gallery, you can see when and where the picture was taken, which device took the picture, where the picture is stored, and more. Now with a simpler layout. Multitasking Easily minimize or switch to full screen You can now minimize or maximize an app window without going to the options menu. Just drag one of the corners. Access your most used apps in split screen When you start a split-screen view, the apps you use most often will be shown below your recently used apps to help you find the apps you need faster. Improved multitasking in DeX In split-screen view, you can now drag the divider in the center of the screen to resize both windows. You can also snap a window to one of the corners to make it fill a quarter of the screen. Modes and Routines Change wallpapers based on your mode Set a different wallpaper based on your current activity. Choose one wallpaper for work, one for exercising, and more. More actions for routines New actions let you control Quick Share and Touch sensitivity, change your ringtone, and change your font style. Weather Quick access to useful information Check severe weather alerts, daily weather summaries, and sunrise/sunset times at the top of the Weather app. The temperature graph now uses colors to show how the temperature changes throughout the day. Hourly precipitation graph An hourly graph now shows how much precipitation has fallen at different times of the day. Summary on Weather widget A brief summary of the current weather conditions now appears on the weather widget to let you know if it's sunny, cloudy, raining, or snowing. Samsung Internet Continue browsing on another device If you're browsing the web on one Galaxy phone or tablet and later open the Internet app on another Galaxy device signed in to the same Samsung account, a button will appear that lets you open the last webpage you were viewing on the other device. Improved search Your searches now include the names of bookmark folders and tab groups. Improved search logic lets you find what you're looking for even if something isn't spelled correctly. Additional changes Check the battery level of your devices The new Battery widget lets you check the battery level of your devices, right from the Home screen. You can see how much battery is left on your phone, Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Watch, and other supported devices. Use up to 3 emojis in AR Emoji Camera Take fun pictures and videos with your friends in Mask mode. You can assign a different emoji to each person’s face. Settings suggestions While signed in to your Samsung account, suggestions will appear at the top of the Settings screen to help you share, connect, and enhance your experience across your Galaxy devices. Spotify suggestions The Smart suggestions widget now recommends Spotify tracks and playlists based on your current activity. Get the perfect tunes for driving, exercising, and more. To get suggestions, you need to sign in to a Spotify account in the latest version of the Spotify app. Choose where to save screenshots and screen recordings You can now change the folder where screenshots and screen recordings are saved.