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Samsung One UI 6.1 update: Features, release date, and what to expect

The One UI 6.1 update is imminent, here's what it has in tow for new and old Samsung devices.
By
January 19, 2024
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Quick Settings OneUI
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Samsung’s One UI is one of the most feature-rich Android skins on the market and the new One UI 6.1 update is set to take that even further. Even though it may seem like a minor version bump on paper, Samsung has prepared a number of new features that will also grace older flagship smartphones. The company’s latest Galaxy S24 flagship smartphones will be the first to receive the update, but it will also land on previous-gen Samsung devices within the first half of 2024. So what exactly does One UI 6.1 bring to the table? Let’s take a closer look at the confirmed features and when you can expect it to arrive.

One UI 6.1 features: What to expect

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra on device AI toggle 2
Lanh Nguyen / Android Authority

Samsung hasn’t drastically changed its One UI design language for several years and that’s changing with this minor version bump either. Instead, One UI 6.1 will focus heavily on adding new functionality rather than improving the skin’s overall look and feel.

Notably, Samsung has brought all of its cutting-edge features under the Galaxy AI umbrella. We expect a good number of these to make their way to older flagships as well, but it’s unlikely that A and M-series Samsung smartphones will get them due to the sheer processing cost involved. Nevertheless, here’s a rundown of the One UI 6.1 features confirmed so far:

  • AI-generated wallpapers: Google’s AI wallpapers feature that debuted with the Pixel 8 series will make its way to Samsung devices with the One UI 6.1 update. As pictured above, you’ll get to choose from different categories and themes to produce uniuqe images each time. You can then apply weather and portrait effects to your finished wallpaper.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Generative AI Wallpapers
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
  • Generative Edit: Using generative AI, One UI 6.1 will allow you to relocate objects in an image, erase them, or even move subjects to a different part of the picture altogether.
  • Photo expansion: Samsung’s Gallery app could also gain the ability to expand pictures beyond their original borders. It’s essentially the outpainting feature we’ve seen in AI image generators. You’ll need a Samsung account and internet connection to use this feature, but at least you won’t have to pay for a Midjourney subscription.
  • Live Translate: One UI 6.1 will let you answer phone calls in languages you don’t speak. Your phone will translate the caller’s voice in real-time and do the same for your own. It’s an impressive-sounding feature and the best part is that the opposite party doesn’t even need to use a Samsung phone. However, this is one of the many new AI-driven features that will require an internet connection.
  • Chat Assist: The Samsung Keyboard app will use AI to translate and change the conversational tone of highlighted text, similar to the functionality Microsoft added to its Swiftkey keyboard app.
  • Transcript Assist: Similar to the features offered within Google’s Recorder app, select phones running One UI 6.1 will use AI to generate transcripts, translations, and even summaries of long voice recordings.
  • Note Assist: Using the power of large language models, Samsung’s Notes app will automatically condense large blocks of text into a concise and bulleted summary. Notably, it will also work on handwritten notes if you own a device sporting the S Pen.
  • Circle to Search: With this feature, you can highlight or encircle specific parts of your screen to perform a visual search. It’s essentially Google Lens for the contents of your screen. To activate Circle to Search, simply hold down the home button or the navigation bar if you use gestures. Samsung has worked with Google on this feature, so it will come to the Pixel 8 series and other premium smartphones as well.
  • Battery protection: Samsung has added a few new options to its Battery protection settings menu. One UI 6.1 will now let you choose three different levels: Basic, Adaptive, and Maximum. Basic will stop charging when your phone reaches 100% and resume after it discharges to 95%. Adaptive, meanwhile, is similar to the Pixel’s Adaptive Charging feature that will pause charging at 80% overnight and resume just in time for you to unplug. Finally, the Maximum protection mode will enforce a charging cap of 80%. All of these measures prevent battery degradation to varying degrees.
  • Super HDR: With Android 14, Google introduced a new image format called Ultra HDR that allowed compatible smartphones to better showcase highlights in HDR photos. The Galaxy S24 series has now gained this feature and it may come to older flagship smartphones too. However, Samsung’s Camera and Gallery apps refer to such shots as Super HDR instead of Ultra HDR.
  • Lock screen widgets: Samsung has restored widgets to the lock screen starting with One UI 6.1. This was once a staple Android feature that got removed without explanation a few years ago.
  • Quick Share: Google and Samsung have partnered to merge Quick Share and Nearby Share. This means that clicking the Quick Share button in One UI 6.1 will allow you to share with all Android phones, not just Galaxy devices.
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One UI 6.1 Release date: Which smartphones will get the update?

One UI 6 software update screen
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

Samsung has already confirmed that its upcoming smartphones will debut Galaxy AI but we don’t know which of the company’s older phones will receive the suite of features as well. Some of the features listed above could remain exclusive to the Galaxy S24 series, especially those reliant on cloud servers for AI processing.

The One UI 6.1 update will reach older Samsung phones in the first few months of 2024.

If history is any indication, the One UI 6.1 update will gradually make its way to Samsung’s older devices shortly after the Galaxy S24 hits store shelves. The Galaxy S23 series, Z Fold 5, and Z Flip 5 will likely receive the update first, alongwith other phones released in 2023.

Dozens of other Samsung devices will receive the update too, including tablets, but some models may have to wait until later in 2024. We expect all devices that were eligible for the One UI 6 update to receive the One UI 6.1 update as well.