Galaxy S21 One UI 4 Android 12 Beta is now open

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Samsung today is definitely not the Samsung from just four or five years ago, at least when it comes to software updates. After being the most notorious, the company has now become the champion of Android updates, rivaling even Google itself. Unlike in the past, it is also now one of the earliest to let the public test upcoming Android upgrades and is sometimes even one of the first to make it available. That track record was almost broken with the news of the One UI 4 Beta's delay or even cancellation, but, as luck would have it, that's not the case for Galaxy S21 owners.

Truth be told, there might not be a lot of things that users will get excited about in One UI 4. Of course, it brings Android 12 to Samsung's smartphones, but most users might not exactly see or feel that change. That's mostly because Samsung still modifies the vanilla Android experience to suit its needs, and there isn't as big a visual jump between One UI 3 and 4 as there is between Android 11 and 12.

A bit ironically, Android 12 does actually resemble One UI's design language a bit, though it may have gone overboard with the large and spacious UI elements. One UI 4 does tweak its appearance a bit to match that, but Samsung has long been using rounded corners and big boxes before Google switched to it. Like before, One UI 4 will give users the ability to customize their experiences with themes and whatnot.

Like Android 12 itself, One UI 4 will put a heavy emphasis on privacy, but, in typical Samsung fashion, One UI 4 will do it in its own way. It will have its own version of the privacy dashboard, for example, but will still have indicators when the camera and mic are in use. One UI 4 will also give users the ability to view their permissions history for the last seven days.

The One UI 4 with Android 12 Beta is being made available for the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra. Samsung hasn't given further details on which markets the program is available in, but it will most likely go through the usual channels, like through the Samsung Members app. Android 12 itself is expected to publicly launch in about three weeks, but Galaxy S21 owners shouldn't expect the final One UI 4 release to be available that soon.