Older Samsung phones will also get a free Galaxy AI upgrade soon

There's great news for owners of Samsung Galaxy phones more than a year old

Samsung Galaxy 24 AI features
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)
Quick Summary

A Samsung employee has posted on the company's own forums that the Galaxy S21 series will get Galaxy AI features soon.

Owners of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 or Z Flip 3 can also expect to gain new AI capabilities – possibly as soon as May.

Samsung has excitingly confirmed plans to bring Galaxy AI features to handsets even older than originally thought.

Launched with the Samsung Galaxy S24 series, the Galaxy AI suite of tools were made available on S23 phones from the end of last month, and we've previously reported that there were tentative plans to launch them on S22 devices in the coming months.

Well, now it seems the company will release Galaxy AI on phones released in 2022, too. That will include the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra, plus the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 (but not the S21 FE, however).

What's more, the update could arrive as soon as May, which will make the best Samsung phones of the past even better. It could save you a bundle if you were considering an upgrade soon, as your existing phone should last you a fair while yet.

That being said, the Galaxy AI experience on older phones will have to be cut back.

The confirmation was posted by a Samsung employee on an official forum in Korea. It reveals that One UI 6.1 is coming to the 2022 handsets, but with just Google's Circle to Search and "Magic Rewrite" as the Galaxy AI features that will be compatible.

The latter is likely a messy translation of the original Korean, according to 9to5Google, which suggests that it's the Generative Edit feature.

Unfortunately, other AI features are unlikely to be available on those phones, presumably because they lack the necessary on-board processing power. The features mentioned use cloud-based AI to work.

Still, it's great that some of the best and most interesting capabilities of Samsung's latest devices are going to be available on older hardware. It's something the entire industry also needs to address, as the phone upgrade cycle expands as sustainability and affordability become ever more important.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.