Update (Aug 5, 9:00 pm ET): The update is now available in the United States.
What you need to know
- Samsung has officially started rolling out the first beta for One UI 5 based on Android 13.
- The update was first available for Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra owners in Germany and South Korea.
- The beta appears to be rolling out slowly in additional regions.
As the summer starts to wind down, it means we're that much closer to the final release of Android 13. Google has reached the point of platform stability for its Pixel devices, which is only a small piece of the puzzle, and now Samsung is getting in on the action with One UI 5 beta.
Samsung has started to roll out its rendition of Android 13 via the One UI 5 beta program in Germany (via SamMobile) and the company's home country of South Korea. According to screenshots of the software update page, the first One UI 5 beta sports a version number of S90xBXXU2ZHV4. Samsung has yet to share details regarding what Android 13 for some of the best Samsung phones will bring.
However, these screenshots confirm changes such as "Optical Character Recognition," which can essentially pull text from an image that can then be shared. It's similar to Google Lens and Apple's Live Text, which debuted alongside iOS 15.
According to the Samsung Germany support page (translated via Google Translate) for the One UI 5 beta program, this release is currently limited to the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra. This means that Galaxy Z Fold 3 owners and older devices will have to wait a bit longer before getting their hands on the latest version of Android.
As is the case with pretty much every beta program, some features just won't work properly. This is also true with the One UI 5 beta. As Samsung states, "Contactless payment, such as Samsung Pay or Google Pay, is not likely to work with the beta version. In addition, some functions of third-party apps may not be fully available."
We're sure to learn more about the upcoming changes to Samsung's software over the next few days. With Samsung Unpacked set to kick off next week, it's also possible that Samsung formally introduces the next version of its software during the event.
If you want to get ready for the One UI 5 beta program to land here in the States, you'll first need to download the Samsung Members app. Once it's made available, this is the app required to register for the program, but we aren't expecting this to be a wide release, at least to start. And as always, make sure you back up all of your data as there's a chance for your phone to not work properly when it's using beta software.
After a bit of a wait, the update appears to finally be available in the United States. Samsung has also published the full list of countries currently eligible for the beta, as well as a quick tutorial on how to install the update. The changelog is quite lengthy, and the update comes in at nearly 3GB for our Galaxy S22 Plus.
Some notable features in the changelog include the aforementioned "Optical Character Recognition," additional color themes, stackable widgets similar to the Smart Widget, a new notification layout, per-app languages, several DeX enhancements, a new security dashboard, updated Digital Wellbeing, an on-device mode for Bixby, improved accessibility features, and so much more.
We hope to have a hands-on as soon as we can install the update and give it a thorough try for ourselves.
Of course, you're welcome to download and install the beta yourself, although there will likely be plenty of bugs and broken features, so it's not yet recommended on your daily driver. That said, try it at your own risk.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
- Derrek LeeNews Editor