OnePlus is notorious for aggressively killing background apps, much to the dismay of users, but Samsung has traditionally kept up. The Korean giant has now effectively surpassed OnePlus to take pole position in Don’t kill my app’s hall of shame – which is worse than Huawei and Xiaomi. What led to this raising is Samsung’s recent update to Android 11 and is more rigid about background apps than ever.
For those who don’t know, DKMA is a tracker that names and denounces phone manufacturers for doing more harm than good in the name of battery optimization. This behavior has been observed on Samsung phones since Android 9 Pie, but things have gotten worse since the release of Android 11. Samsung has apparently introduced a new app restriction that kills apps even more aggressively and is enabled by default, preventing even foreground services from holding wake-up blocking.
While this certainly requires additional testing to validate the claims, at least one third-party app consistently fails as expected from our brief experience with Samsung’s Android 11. Just last week user reported a problem with their Android 11 running the Galaxy S10e where the test app stopped receiving accelerometer data for 3 minutes after the screen was turned off and resumed as soon as the phone was connected to the network. Google was unable to provide a suitable answer and noted that an investigation is still ongoing a a similar problem applies to Chinese OEMs more than two years ago.
Aside from these specific use cases, explicit background application control is known to cause both notification delays and crashes, missed alarms, inconsistent background tracking, and more. Ryan went deeply into this problem, from which almost everyone suffered. The Android ecosystem and what steps Google is taking to contain it. Historically, Google’s own Pixel and Nexus phones have performed far better than other manufacturers’ phones – even DKMA confirms this.
If you’ve also faced similar issues with your Samsung phone after upgrading to Android 11, then it’s best to turn off battery optimization for all apps, or at least those that you specifically want to leave in the background. This will obviously hurt battery life to some extent, but this is the only solution available to the user until Google works with OEMs to have a better implementation that doesn’t break the basic functionality of the app for the sake of a little more endurance.