April 15, 2024

5 cool new One UI 6.1 features (and one removed)

On January 17, Samsung launched the Galaxy S24 series in Galaxy Unpacked. At that event, the company went over a bunch of new features coming with Galaxy AI and also mentioned some features coming to One UI 6.1, the software debuting with the Galaxy S24 series.

However, because Samsung spent so much time focusing on AI tools and new phones, it didn’t have time to mention some features of One UI 6.1 that I think are quite notable. I want to focus on five of these new things and also mention one thing that Samsung really remote of One UI, which could prove controversial to some One UI fans.

Generative AI Wallpapers

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

One huge new feature that Samsung didn’t spend much time on in Galaxy Unpacked is AI generative wallpapers. This allows you to enter text messages to create an AI-generated image and then use it as a background on your home screen.

If this looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same system that Google uses in the Pixel 8 series. All Samsung has done here is cover that system to make it more familiar to Samsung fans. However, apart from its appearance, it’s the same: you choose from predefined options to create some illustrations and then apply them as wallpaper.

Samsung has borrowed the Pixel 8’s generative AI system for wallpapers.

Please note that, as with the Pixel 8 series’ Generative AI Wallpaper tool, this requires a data connection to work. Does not process AI generated images on the device. Your message goes to an online server, which creates the AI-generated art you’ve requested and then downloads it. Interestingly, the ASUS ROG Phone 8 has pretty much the same processor you’ll find in the Galaxy S24 series, and that phone can create AI generated images on the device. Although we have no information to confirm this, it is possible that Samsung will release an update in the future that will allow you to generate wallpapers on the device. There’s nothing stopping it, in terms of hardware anyway.

To start creating AI-generated artwork on your Samsung Galaxy S24 device, head to Wallpapers & Style > Change Wallpapers > Generative.

Environmental photomural

Samsung Photo Ambient Wallpaper

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Another wallpaper-related feature has been added to One UI 6.1 and its ambient photo wallpaper. This overlays weather data onto any static wallpaper you choose. Basically, you give Samsung a photo or graph, and then Samsung overlays it with weather images so you can take a quick look at your wallpaper and see if it’s snowing, raining, sunny, cloudy, or whatever the weather is on your screen. Specific area.

While this is really interesting, it is part of the Labs section of One UI 6.1. To activate it, you must go to Settings > Advanced Features > Labsand then activate photo ambient wallpaper. Once this is done, add a wallpaper as you normally would by heading to Wallpapers and style. You’ll find the new ambient photography option next to the generative AI option.

While this is really cool, it’s in Labs for a reason. It may not look very good in some images and a few things may break here and there, but that’s how Labs features work.

Lock Screen Widgets

One UI 6.1 Lock Screen Widgets

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Lock screen widgets also received a great update in One UI 6.1. While you can already add lock screen widgets in One UI 6 and earlier, you must tap the clock icon to see them. That’s no longer necessary with One UI 6.1, at least for most widgets. Widgets now appear on the lock screen automatically when you lift it. You can only see them in the small box below the watch, but this allows you to get a lot of data at a glance without needing to unlock your phone or even touch it.

Some interesting widgets are supported here, such as battery, Samsung Health, view next calendar event, and more.

Some people may notice that they look a lot like iPhone lock screen widgets, and unfortunately, that’s probably by design. As usual, Samsung needs to try everything Apple has tried. So are the things.

AOD Wallpapers

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 16

Damien Wilde / Android Authority

Another interesting update to One UI 6.1 is always-on display (AOD). For years, the ODA fund has been purely black. However, with this latest update, the AOD can use the lock screen wallpaper, but grayed out, making the ambient screen look much more personal.

We’ll have to do some testing to know for sure, but I’m relatively confident that this will eat up more battery life than the traditional all-black background. That’s a notable trade-off, but if it’s not such a big issue for the battery, I think it’s worth it.

This setting is on by default, but you can turn it off if you don’t like it or want to save battery. just go to Settings > Lock screen and AOD > Always-on displayand then disable Show lock screen wallpaper setting.

Samsung find

Samsung Search app

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Samsung Find is a brand new app on the Galaxy S24 series that you won’t find on any other Galaxy device, at least not yet. This is a one-stop shop for all your tracking needs, similar to Apple’s Find My and Google’s Find My Device. It incorporates some of the features you’d normally see in the SmartThings app, adds some new ones, and organizes them all in one place.

There are three tabs within the app: People, Devices, and Items. The People section allows you to share your location with another person. This is similar to a feature that already exists in Google Maps, which allows you to share your location for a set period of time with anyone you choose.

The Samsung Find app is your new one-stop shop for all things tracking.

In the Devices section, you will find your Samsung devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. You can also see here the devices you have control over, like your children’s phones, for example. Now you can quickly see where everything and everyone is.

Finally, the Item section is where you’ll be able to keep track of items that have a SmartTag attached, whether it’s an original Galaxy SmartTag or the newer Galaxy SmartTag 2 ($21.99 at Amazon). If, for example, you have attached one to your luggage, you can quickly find it here.

This app comes preloaded on the S24 series, but once you update to One UI 6.1 on your Galaxy phone or tablet, you should be able to download it manually from the Galaxy Store. In other words, the feature is exclusive to the Galaxy S24 and One UI 6.1 right now, but everyone will eventually have access to it.

Removed from One UI 6.1: Hide the navigation bar

Samsung Galaxy S24 navigation bar circle to search

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Now that we’ve covered five things Samsung introduced in One UI 6.1, I want to talk about something it removed. Unfortunately, in this new version of One UI, it is no longer possible to hide the navigation bar. The navigation bar appears at the bottom of the screen when you have gesture navigation enabled. In previous versions of One UI, you could hide this if you thought it was an eyesore. But now, thanks to Circle to Search, you can’t do that anymore.

To activate Circle to Search when you’re using gesture navigation, you need to long-press that bar, and if you’ve hidden the bar, you can’t do that. So Circle to Search basically made it so the navigation bar has to be there. For people who have transitioned to gesture navigation and hate the navigation bar, this could be a problem. For the record, people using the three-button navigation system won’t see any changes.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it. Circle to Search can be disabled, but that doesn’t bring back the option to hide the navigation bar. Unfortunately, if you were really attached to the idea of ​​not having that little bar at the bottom of your screen, once you update to One UI 6.1, you’ll have to deal with that.

When will you get One UI 6.1?

Ultra-fast Samsung Galaxy S24 OneUI setup

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

If you’re excited to get this software but don’t want to buy a Galaxy S24, don’t worry: Samsung has promised to bring One UI 6.1 to a selection of devices before the end of the first half of this year. These include the Galaxy S23 series, Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy Tab S9, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and Galaxy Z Flip 5.

If you don’t have one of them, One UI 6.1 will likely still be available, but Samsung can’t promise it will be in the first half of this year.

Which of these One UI 6.1 features is your favorite? What do you think of the navigation bar situation? Let us know in the comments.

Which of these new One UI 6.1 features are your favorites?

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