What Is Samsung's One UI for Android?

Learn about Samsung's streamlined interface for Android

Samsung regularly updates its One UI operating system. The latest version is 5.1, which rolled out in February 2023.

One UI 5.0 and 5.1

Release date: October 2022; February 2023

The One UI 5 update is based on Android 13. It supports dynamic theming by offering 16 preset color options based on your current wallpaper. Color changes apply to the entire interface down to the volume slider. You can also set custom call backgrounds for your contacts.

The Gallery app has a text recognition feature that detects text in photos so you can copy, paste, and share it. The Smart Widgets feature is gone, but you can now create widget stacks by long-pressing a widget on the home screen.

One UI 5 allows you to create multiple user profiles, each with a home screen and apps. There's also an option to create a guest profile if someone needs to borrow your device. You can quickly switch between profiles in the Quick Settings panel.

One UI 5.1

One UI 5.1 includes the following updates:

  • A widget that lets you check the battery level of your Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Watch, S Pen, and other supported devices from the Home screen.
  • When you launch the split-screen view, you'll see the apps you use most often so you can quickly multitask.
  • You can set a different wallpaper based on your current activity like work, home, exercising, and other activities.
  • Let Bixby screen your calls.
  • A variety of camera and image editing enhancements.

One UI 4.0 and 4.1

Release date: November 2021

One UI 4.0 added several usability improvements, including haptic feedback and rounded widgets. It also added enhanced privacy features related to location data.

Samsung followed this with minor updates in version 4.1. Building on the usability theme, it added widget stacks in a nod to the popular iPhone feature.

The Calendar app became more intelligent and tightly integrated into the phone's operating system and apps. For example, it picks up the date and time in messages so you can add events to the Calendar swiftly and conveniently.

In the camera, the Night Mode feature became available for Portrait orientation. In addition, photo and video editors have more straightforward navigation, and there are new AI-based tools like Portrait Relighting and Enhanced Photo Remaster.

Samsung Pay can now store your license, personal details, and identity-related items such as a boarding pass.

One UI 3 and 3.1

Release date: December 2020

The One UI 3 interface featured a few design upgrades, including a streamlined notification shade, more straightforward alerts, redesigned widgets for the home screen, a new aggregator screen called Samsung Free, and some changes to the lock screen.

The One UI 3.1 update added new camera features, including the option to save photos simultaneously in multiple formats, an object eraser tool, and enhanced autofocus. Other new features included multi-mic recording and Auto Switch, which automatically syncs your music when you switch Galaxy devices.

One UI 2 and 2.5

Release date: February 2020

One UI 2 added several features, including an enhanced Dark Mode, a screen recorder, and a few interface changes. One UI 2 also benefited from many of the enhancements offered in Android 10. The following September, Samsung released One UI 2.5.

The screen recorder captures what's happening on the screen. It also captures sounds picked up by the microphone and audio playing on the phone. There's an option to add a video selfie feed and to doodle on the screen while recording.

Samsung added two options for displaying notifications of incoming calls: a full-screen alert (as on stock Android) or a floating pop-up, so you're not interrupted while playing a game or watching a video.

What is Samsung One UI?

Samsung One UI is the company's simplified and uncluttered custom interface for Android. The One UI user experience is beneficial for larger screens and one-handed use, which makes sense, as the company popularized the phablet with its Note series.

One UI started rolling out in early 2019 to Galaxy smartphones. It replaced Samsung Experience.

Web page that says "interact naturally" with a hand holding a smartphone next to it.

Samsung splits the screen in many apps like Messages, putting content at the top and buttons within easy reach of your thumb.

The Clock app, for example, shows how long it will be before the next alarm goes off, while you can manage your alarms with controls at the bottom. Also, you'll see larger text in the viewing area at the top. For big phones, this layout is easier on the hands.

This split-screen approach also works well with the company's foldable phones, with actionable items on one side and view-only content on the other.

One UI is also more comfortable on the eyes, with vivid colors and a rounded design for app icons and other elements.

Web page that says "alarm in 8 hours" next to a peerson in bed looking at a phone

One UI also has a consistent dark mode across apps, so you're not kept awake by the phone's brightly lit screen. Samsung's do not disturb mode is another way to stay focused.

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