Samsung's version of Android 12 is... boring

By Ben Schoon

September 14, 2021

Samsung is now rolling out Android 12 in a public beta program on Galaxy S21 devices in select countries and we've had a chance to try it out!

Unfortunately, Material You is almost completely absent from Samsung's version of Android 12, at least in this beta release. Some apps support colors, but Samsung gives users no way to control the colors which defeats the purpose entirely. But there's still a theme store eager to sell you paid creations.

What's new in One UI 4.0? Thankfully, there are some new things in One UI 4.0, despite the lack of the signature Material You redesign that makes all of the headlines for Android 12.

Most of the new features relate to privacy. In One UI 4.0, you'll find a new Privacy Dashboard, status indicators any time apps use the camera or microphone, prompts asking if apps can send notifications, and more granular location controls too. These are built into Android 12. You can also block the camera and mic system-wide.

eSIM support? Samsung is also seemingly adding eSIM support to the Galaxy S21 with Android 12. This feature allows users on certain cellular services to connect to the network with a digital SIM card instead of a physical one. Google Pixel and iPhones have offered this feature for years now. But wait, there's more!

A new widget picker Alongside updates to Samsung's apps, the company also adopted Android 12's new widget picker in One UI 4.0. It's a nice change!

Samsung also redesigned the "Device Care" page to use emoji to quickly show if there are any issues that need to be addressed.

When will Android 12 be released? Android 12 is likely being released for Pixel phones on October 4, but it won't come to Samsung devices for at least a month or two. Expect it to arrive in late October or early November on Galaxy S21.