Samsung's Galaxy AI Update for the Galaxy S23, Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 Arrives This Week

The One UI 6.1 update brings new features from the Galaxy S24 to last year's Galaxy phones.

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple | Samsung | Google | Smartphones | Smartwatches | Wearables | Fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
3 min read
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Circle to Search, which lets you search for almost anything by drawing a circle around it, will also be coming to the Galaxy S23. 

John Kim/CNET

You no longer have to buy Samsung's Galaxy S24 lineup to get Galaxy AI, the new suite of AI-powered features that debuted earlier this year. Samsung will begin rolling out its One UI 6.1 update on March 28, which will bring Galaxy AI to older devices, including the Galaxy S23 lineup, the Galaxy S23 FE, Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung previously announced plans to bring Galaxy AI to last year's Galaxy S phones and foldables, but only recently revealed when the update will launch. The rollout is just the latest sign that phonemakers see generative artificial intelligence -- or AI that can create content after being trained on data -- as being a key part of where smartphones are headed. 

In addition to the phones mentioned above, the update will also begin making its way to Wi-Fi versions of the Galaxy Tab S9, S9 Plus and S9 Ultra this week. Samsung says One UI 6.1 will be available for devices sold through its own retail channel as well as Best Buy, Amazon, AT&T, T-Mobile, UScellular and Verizon, among other carriers and partners.

Read more: The Galaxy Ring's Vitality Score Highlights an Apple Watch Shortcoming 

Watch this: Tips and Tricks for the Galaxy S24 Ultra

Galaxy AI is an umbrella term for several software features that launched on the Galaxy S24 series. Such features include Circle to Search, which makes it possible to launch a Google search for a specific item or product just by circling it with your finger on screen. There's also Chat Assist for translating text conversations or rewriting texts in a different tone before sending them, and Live Translate, which translates phone calls in real time.

Photo and video editing are also a major area of focus for Galaxy AI. Generative Edit, for example, makes it possible to manipulate or erase objects in photos, while Instant Slow-mo lets you preview clips in slow motion just by pressing and holding your finger on the video.

But Photo Ambient Wallpaper, the feature that uses AI to change your wallpaper photo based on the time and weather, will remain exclusive to the Galaxy S24 series, according to a Samsung representative. 

Read more: How Samsung's Galaxy AI Features Stack Up Against Google and Apple

Samsung's update comes as generative AI is expected to play a larger role in smartphones moving forward. The International Data Corporation, which monitors the mobile market, estimates that 170 million next-generation AI smartphones will ship in 2024, representing nearly 15% of total shipments. Apple is also expected to introduce new generative AI features to the iPhone with iOS 18, its next major software update, according to Bloomberg

Samsung's choice to bring Galaxy AI to current phones is also very telling. It suggests the company cares more about getting Galaxy AI in the hands of as many people as possible rather than using AI to coerce shoppers into upgrading.

Correction, 4:49 p.m.: An earlier version of the headline for this story misstated the launch date for Samsung's One UI 6.1 update. The update will be released on March 28.

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.

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