[Update: Samsung reponds] Galaxy phones appear to be throttling 10,000 Android apps, like OnePlus did Guides

[Update: Samsung reponds] Galaxy phones appear to be throttling 10,000 Android apps, like OnePlus did Guides

Our smartphones have become incredibly powerful over the past few years, to the point that, in many cases, we’re not actually taking full advantage of these devices’ raw horsepower in day-to-day use. However, Samsung has apparently been throttling the performance of thousands of apps in the name of improving game performance.

Samsung phones ship with a Game Optimizing Service app pre-installed as a system app — we confirmed it’s installed on the Galaxy S22+, as pictured below. It cannot be disabled. The app’s exact purpose isn’t described very well anywhere, but its name certainly implies the app is used to improve performance for games.

However, as one Twitter user points out, with the backing of a lengthy thread from frustrated Samsung Galaxy owners in Korea (via Android Authority), Samsung seems to be using this app to “optimize” the performance of thousands of non-gaming apps. When an app is in the Game Optimizing Service list, its performance is limited, as demonstrated by a YouTuber who changed the package name of the 3DMark benchmark app to trick Samsung’s software into throttling it, and the results are pretty telling.

The list includes extremely popular apps such as Instagram, Netflix, TikTok, and even some Google apps. Samsung also included some of its own apps including Pay, Secure Folder, and others. Altogether, the list of apps affected by the Game Optimizing Service app appears to number around 10,000, but excludes benchmarking apps such as 3DMark, GeekBench, and others.

Update 3/3: In the Samsung Members app in Korea, Samsung has responded to this situation. A rough translation of the notice from Dohyun Kim on Twitter reads:

[Update: Samsung reponds] Galaxy phones appear to be throttling 10,000 Android apps, like OnePlus did Guides

Hello. It’s Samsung. We are constantly trying to expand the option for users and provide the most optimized performance converging customers’ opinions. GOS(Game Optimizing Service) of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Series is pre-installed for optimizing the performance of CPU and GPU to prevent excessive heating when playing a game for a long time.

To meet the recent needs of various customers, it is planned to update the Game Booster lab to provide an option to prioritize the performance, as soon as possible.

Afterward, we will try our best for customers’ satisfaction and safety by listening to their opinions. Thank You

While this rough translation doesn’t offer a lot of context to why Samsung is doing this, the company hints that part of the reason it to prevent “excessive heat” during games. The response doesn’t address why other Android apps are affected.

Max Weinbach has also since claimed on Twitter that “performance mode” disables most of these optimizations.

The reason Samsung is doing this isn’t officially laid out, but it’s pretty easy to assume it comes down to optimizing battery life. Limiting the performance of an app that doesn’t actually need the full CPU or GPU power of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or other chips would lead to better endurance. OnePlus gave that excuse when it was caught doing the exact same thing last year, while promising to make the behavior optional in future updates.

Samsung has yet to comment on these findings.

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