Samsung has been facing the heat over the past week after a report from Android Authority indicated that the South Korean manufacturer was throttling the performances of 10,000 apps in order to maximize the battery life of their flagships.
Using their Game Optimizing Service (GOS), which is designed to strike a balance between a device’s performance and battery life when running resource-intensive games. It seems like Samsung went above and beyond the scope of the service and also added popular apps like Instagram, Netflix, Google Keep, TikTok, and Microsoft’s Office suite which have nothing to do with games at all.
Samsung’s in-house apps were also not spared, with apps such as Samsung Cloud, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Pass also being included. What irks the majority of people, however, is that popular benchmarking apps were not included in the list of apps to be throttled.
A YouTuber to illustrate the performance drop for apps that are throttled changed the package name of 3DMark, a popular benchmarking app, to that of Genshin Impact, a resource-intensive game. The result was that the benchmark score was less than the usual figure, giving a picture of just how hard the apps that are throttled lose performance.
Following the ensuing backlash, Samsung moved to quickly assure its customers that they will be rolling out an update that will grant users more control over their Samsung device’s performance.
The South Korean company admitted that they started to block GOS circumvention in One UI 4.0 last year and further increased their restrictions with One UI 4.1 last month. Samsung notes that they are now deliberating over the removal of these measures so that users can easily disable GOS once again
This announcement was then followed up by an FAQ in native Korean that answers some questions regarding the terms and misconceptions surrounding the controversy.
The FAQ defined GOS as “a service that monitors the state of the phone and provides the optimal state to prevent stuttering, excessive-performance degradation, and power consumption when running game apps.”
The South Korean manufacturer maintains the list of 10,000 apps at the centre of the controversy “is for the purpose of quickly determining whether a newly installed app is a game or not, and has nothing to do with GOS”. They also claim that benchmarking tools are not gaming apps, that is why they were not covered by GOS.
Samsung has also promised an update for the Game Launcher that will introduce a performance priority toggle to the Game Booster settings suit. Once enabled, the company says users can expect an improvement of around 10 frames per second in at least one game.
Furthermore, they also assured customers that their phones would still be eligible for free repairs caused by overheating even when they use the upcoming performance priority option. The free service, however, is only available to phones that are within their warranty period.
It is worth noting that Samsung is not the only company caught throttling apps’ performance. OnePlus also received a lot of backlash following the release of the OnePlus 9 Pro that throttled various apps while excluding benchmarking apps to give a false picture of real-world performance. Huawei, too, has previously been caught up in similar controversy.