Photo: Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images)
We’re rapidly approaching the rumored release date for Android 12 (with all evidence pointing to the software dropping on Oct. 4), and as that date nears, Android smartphone manufacturers are preparing their devices for the new update. Samsung is no different: The company just dropped the first beta for One UI 4, and if you have a Galaxy S21 device, you can install it right now.
One UI is Samsung’s Android “skin;” essentially, it’s the company’s take on the Android OS, bringing Google’s features and system over to Galaxy phones while adding Samsung-specific options and look and feel. One UI 4, then, is Samsung’s Android 12 skin. Before the company can release it to the public, it needs to test the software through a beta program to iron out any bugs or issues.
One UI 4 includes many of Android 12's newest features. In particular, Samsung highlights the greater control you’ll have over your device’s customization, including themes, home screen, icons, widgets, and more. Privacy is also an increased focus; you’ll see indicators to warn you about apps using your camera and microphone, and be able to view permission history from the last seven days (an increase from the current 24-hour default).
With any new beta software, your first question is probably whether your smartphone is compatible. Unfortunately, this beta is pretty exclusive—only Galaxy S21 devices are eligible at this time. Those include:Galaxy S21Galaxy S21+Galaxy S21 Ultra
The company hasn’t announced plans to roll additional Galaxy devices into the One UI 4 beta.
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Samsung makes hopping on the One UI 4 beta a breeze. To start, open the Samsung Members app on your Galaxy S21. (If you don’t have the app on your device yet, download it from the Galaxy Store or the Google Play Store.) Log into the app with your Samsung Account, then choose “Registration for One UI Beta Program” when it appears in the home banner or notices page.
Now, exit the Samsung Members app, and head to Settings > Software update > Download and install to finish installing the beta on your device.