Samsung brings Android 12 to its flagship phone in record time. The operating system that shipped just under a month ago for Pixel phones, and already today Samsung is releasing Android 12 updates for the flagship Galaxy S21 series.
Samsung’s version of Android 12 is called “One UI 4” and is heavily skinned. It smooths out all the stuff you design from Google into the new OS and replaces it with Samsung’s own version. Material The most outstanding feature of you is the ability to color match your user interface to your background, which is not preserved in the skin of Samsung. You can manually pick a “color palette” through a UI much like Material You, but the color isn’t applied in as many places as Google’s UI. Mostly it seems to color buttons and switches.
Without a new UI, you usually get the changes and features under the hood. Android 12’s privacy indicators made the cut, which shows a green indicator in the top left corner when the camera or microphone is active. Samsung also has its own take on the Android 12 Privacy Dashboard. Most of the changes, however, seem to be Samsung overhauling its own Android skin, with features such as new widgets for Samsung-specific apps like Bixby and Samsung Calendar, new emojis, and changes to Samsung’s custom share sheet and lock screen.
This is the fastest Samsung ever to release an Android update, and the secret seems to start earlier. Android 11 shipped in early September 2020, but Samsung didn’t release a beta version of Android 11 until late October. For Android 12, Samsung actually provided betas before Google’s final OS release, with the first beta of One UI 4 landing on September 25.
Of course, the S21 series isn’t the only phone line to get an Android 12 update. The fine print in Samsung’s press release reads: “At a later date, the update will also be available on Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, S20 FE, Note20, Note20 Ultra, S10, S10e, S10+, S10 5G, Note10, Note 10+, Galaxy Fold, Z Fold3, Z Flip3, Z Fold2, Z Flip, Z Flip 5G, Galaxy A82 5G, A72, A52, A52 5G, A52s 5G, A42 5G, and Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+.” If you bought your Samsung phone from a carrier, chances are the release date will be delayed a bit too.