From clever tweaks to notifications to a fun selection of customization options for lock screens, Samsung has a distinct take on Android 13 that makes a Galaxy S22+ stand out from a Pixel 7 Pro — it’s just doing it by smartly copying the most popular features on iPhone. There’s nothing wrong with that, Apple sure isn’t afraid to cherry-pick Android features when it makes sense.
Here’s where Samsung is drawing inspiration.
4. Focus modes
As an expansion of Routines (formerly Bixby Routines), for triggering sequences of actions on your phone, One UI 5 introduces the concept of Modes. You can use a mode to create a specific collection of settings, notification filters, and app limits, that you can toggle at any time or set to automatically turn on depending on what you’re currently doing, the time, or your current location.
That’s more or less exactly how Focus modes work in iOS 16, which similarly offers you the ability to block notifications, limit app use, and tie modes to locations, and even specific lock screens.
3. Widget stacks and Smart Stacks
The final version of One UI 5 will arrive with several improvements to widgets. Samsung will now let you stack widgets, so if you have several you like, they don’t have to take up a whole screen, you can just swipe through a stack. One UI 5 can also offer suggestions of specific apps or frequently used functions in widget form based on when it thinks you need them.
Both these features actually borrow from iOS 14 released in 2020. Apple introduced a revamped version of widgets with iOS 14, moving them from the notification center to the home screen, and allowing them to update with live information. It also included Smart Stacks — basically intelligent suggestions of widgets based on your typical phone use — and a dedicated Siri Suggestion widget that seems very similar to Samsung’s smart suggestions.
2. Live Text
Samsung is adding the ability to copy and paste any piece of text you see in a photo or capture with your Galaxy phone’s camera with a feature it calls “smart text extraction.”
Google’s offered the same feature through Google Lens (with the added ability to translate text) for a while now, but Samsung’s implementation seems to more closely mirror what Apple does with Live Text in iOS 15 that it later expanded to text from videos in iOS 16.
1. Lock screen customization
One UI 5 lets you completely customize your lock screen, giving you the ability to change “the wallpaper, clock style, and notification pop-ups all from one screen,” Samsung says.
This is basically exactly how it works on iOS 16, including the long press on the lock screen to bring up the menu to start customizing things. Samsung is making one major improvement on Apple’s idea, though, by letting you use not just photos, but also videos on your lock screen. It could be a total drain on battery, but it definitely is cool.
One More Thing
Updating to One UI 5 isn’t all cloned features, luckily. Bixby Text Call, a new skill for Samsung’s oft-forgotten intelligent assistant, seems like a legitimately interesting twist on what Google’s been doing with Google Assistant.
If you receive a call in a loud or busy place, or somewhere where it might not be appropriate to speak, Bixby can answer your call and translate any text response you type to audio for the caller on the other end. You’ll even see their responses translated to text right back. I have to imagine it’ll be awkward, but it sounds pretty helpful too, assuming the caller doesn’t immediately hang up. Bixby Text Call is available in Korean now, with an English version planned to arrive in 2023 via a software update.
One UI 5 should hit Samsung phones in the coming weeks, with Galaxy S22, Fold, and Flip devices likely first on the list.