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(Pocket-lint) - Samsung has announced the update of its flagship family of devices to the latest version of its software - called One UI 4 - which brings with it the update to Android 12.

This is an almost remarkable change of pace compared to historic updates, where Samsung users would often be waiting until spring of the following year for such an update to arrive - often following the launch of Samsung's latest devices.

Samsung has a huge chunk of Android users and accounts for many Android phone sales and being able to move to Android 12 with this sort of pace, really helps throw off the idea that Android devices are always one step behind.

Android 12 went final on 4 October, pushing out to Pixel devices on 19 October. It's just under a month and the Galaxy S21 devices are getting that update too.

Much of this comes down to how Google now approaches Android updates, and the benefits of Project Treble.

What's new in One UI 4?

Of course, when Samsung makes an update to a phone, it's not interested in waving Google's flag, so this update comes with a whole world of One UI updates.

This will include some elements that Android 12 has enabled, some that Android 12 enforces and a whole load of stuff that Samsung wants to update.

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SamsungSamsung One UI 4 photo 2

Material You, for example, is the big thing that Google is shouting about, allowing you to customise your phone using your wallpaper as a colour palette - and that's what Samsung offers. It's called Color Palettes rather than Material You, but it works in the same way.

There are also changes to widgets - but Samsung appears to be hanging onto its existing notification styling rather than moving that over to be the same as you'd find on the Pixel 6, for example - so there are differences.

However, core updates to address security - letting you know when the camera or mic is being used for example - is executed in a similar way. Samsung uses its own icon in the notification area to alert you to this, but it's basically the same.

Stick to privacy you can grant "approximate" locations, while your clipboard is protected and you'll get an alert when an app tries to access that information - which might be where you copied your credit card details, for example.

There are updates to Samsung Keyboard, new widget design and selection, greater lockscreen controls to let you switch where you're listening to audio, a new layout for the camera and some changes to the functions offered by the camera - including portraits for pets.

The list goes on and on - with Samsung saying that some apps will need to be updated separately to take advantage of all the updates that One UI 4 is bringing with it.

When will Samsung update my phone to One UI 4?

The push for the Samsung Galaxy S21 devices started on 15 Novebmer 2021 and will soon be pushed to older Galaxy S devices and Note, as well as Galaxy Z, Galaxy A and tablets.

The full list is as follows, but no date has been given:

  • Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, S20 FE
  • Note 20, Note 20 Ultra
  • S10, S10e, S10+, S10 5G
  • Note10, Note 10+
  • Galaxy Fold, Z Fold 3, Z Fold 2
  • Z Flip 3, Z Flip, Z Flip 5G
  • Galaxy A82 5G, A72, A52, A52 5G, A52s 5G, A42 5G
  • Galaxy Tab S7, Tab S7+
Writing by Chris Hall.