Samsung Galaxy phones just got new Auto Blocker feature with One UI 6 — here’s how it works

Samsung Galaxy S23 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Samsung Galaxy S23 phones, as well as several older models, are about to get a new suite of security features in the form of Auto Blocker, a part of the new One UI 6 OS update.

Security improvements are a common part of software updates, but the interesting thing about Auto Blocker is that it's entirely optional. That means power users can leave the settings off to enable a freer experience with their device, but less confident Galaxy phone owners can switch them on and feel safer.

A graphic representing Samsung Auto Blocker

(Image credit: Samsung)

For example, one of Auto Blocker's biggest additions is the ability to stop app installs via sideloading, which is downloading apps from outside the Google Play Store or Galaxy Store. This is disabled by default though, so users who know what they're doing can still sideload legitimate apps without Samsung's software sounding the alarm.

However, if you know you aren't the kind of user likely to be installing apps this way, it's worth switching off the ability to sideload. As Samsung notes, this makes for a robust defense against social engineering attacks: scams that attempt to gain your trust before trying to get you to install dodgy software.

A shield against attacks via USB and messages

Another part of Auto Blocker's toolkit is there to prevent attacks via USB. This can be a real risk when using a charging station in a public place, for example, as you can't be sure what's at the other end of the cable.

Samsung's Message Guard feature has also been updated, now offering protection against Zero Click and direct image message attacks, which can affect your phone even without you interacting with them. Message Guard also now applies to third-party messaging services as well as Google Messages and Samsung Messages, so WhatsApp and Telegram users will get the same benefits.

One UI 6 is beginning to launch, with European users gaining access on Galaxy S23 devices, but U.S. users are still waiting for the OTA update to arrive. In the meantime, you can read about the other changes that Android 14, the basis for One UI 6, such as new home and lock screen customization options and PIN security options.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.