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

Samsung Galaxy S22
(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

What you need to know

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

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

Now, there's a new build obtained by the folks at 9to5Google. It's seemingly the latest One UI 5 beta that sets 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 and assures it might not be the actual version that the consumers would get down the line. So, consider all the information with a grain of salt, as some might not eventually see the light of day.

While there isn't a changelog, to begin with, the 9to5Google report details all the new features spotted with the latest beta. In addition to new features, it also compares how different the One UI 5 is from the previous iteration.

The notification panel gets a redesign primarily for the app icons that appear on the pane, which now look cleaner. The quick settings also get a neat opacity overhaul which appears significantly different from the One UI 4. The next design change comes to the permission dialog, which seems to have changed its positioning from bottom to center, featuring colorful buttons to click on.

The other notable addition is the OCR to Samsung's Gallery app. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a new functionality that lets you copy the text in whole from an image from the Gallery. It detects all kinds of text in photos, similar to what we have seen in Google Translate.

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

Then there's the Keyboard OCR tool, which allows you to choose any text from your clipboard. Assume you wish to share a news story from a newspaper or the internet with your WhatsApp pals. Instead of physically entering or copying it and pasting/sharing it using the app's online version. Users using the beta may simply press the 'scan text' icon on the keyboard, which replaces the cursor indication. Normally, you'd hold it to paste something from the clipboard, but it now has a new option: a 'scan text' pop-up. Both OCR functions appear to have been lifted from iOS. The report indicates that they function similarly on the latest One UI 5 beta.

Moving on, Samsung seems to be introducing its native privacy hub with the new beta, similar to what we have seen on the Android 13 betas on Pixel devices, like the Pixel 6 Pro. It primarily gives access to specific security preferences like Lock screen, App security, and Biometrics, to name a few. These preferences/settings are nothing new from One UI 4 but are now accessible via a native hub.

The other noteworthy features of the One UI 5 beta findings comprise new multitasking gestures. They now allow you to get to a split-screen view with just a two-finger swipe from the bottom of the screen. Swiping again will let you switch apps. Samsung Notes also has nifty features like collaborating with up to a hundred people who get to write, edit, and share notes.

There's a new active app view in quick settings; similarly, users can see the phone's model image on the About phone page. Lastly, a new ultra-wideband toggle switch appears in the settings app that lets you identify the precise location of nearby devices.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
Vishnu Sarangapurkar

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.