09
Apr
att_s5

Now that the first shipments of AT&T's Galaxy S5 are beginning to arrive at people's doors, we are receiving reports from disgruntled customers that the "download booster" feature, which Samsung touted at the launch event in Barcelona, is completely missing from Big Blue's variant.

For those unaware, this functionality allows you to combine your Wi-Fi and LTE connections during downloads of files larger than 30 MB. The idea is that part of the file downloads over each connection interface, resulting in vastly improved download speeds over what would be achievable by each one individually.

We began to suspect something was up when demo models began appearing in AT&T stores and lacked the download booster. Knowing that demo models do have features disabled sometimes, we decided to delay this story until it could be verified on an actual device that was sold to a customer.

panel settings_8 settings_9 about

As you can see by the screenshots above, we are indeed dealing with the SM-G900A AT&T variant, and the setting appears to have been completely removed. At the very least, there should be a "Download Booster" toggle available on the notification panel, which is absent. Also, there is nothing within any of the network settings allowing its use.

download_booster

While it's unknown whether this was AT&T's or Samsung's decision, it wouldn't make sense for Samsung to remove this unless they were prodded by the carrier first. As for other major US providers, T-Mobile is the only one that has said anything of it at all. Verizon and Sprint have been quiet on the subject, and there is no official mention of the feature in any of their marketing communications.

We have it on good word that this feature will, in all likelihood, be enabled in a future software update. For now, however, users will need to get along without it.

Thanks, Rory!

Shawn De Cesari
Shawn is a web developer by day and XDA's resident archivist for Nexus and Google Play Edition device OTA updates by night. When not immersing himself in code or Android, he can be found hunting down antique signs, taking road trips, listening to music, or playing video games. His phone of choice is a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
  • HugePotato

    Having other beautiful phones on the market, is anyone actually buying that crap? :/ (not at all a Samsung hater, happy Galaxy S3 user here)

    • axel

      I do agree. The phones are ugly. And the software is even worst. (Can't judge the new touchwiz as I haven't seen it) but I hate the one on S4 and the phone's plastic feels slimy and cheap. But I have to also disagree, their phones are honestly some of the best. As much as I hate Samsung phones like many people here, I think we can all agree that they have the best phones. The display is said to be the most accurate. (But I am still not fond of Amoled tech because of burn in) Their cameras are great and some of the features they have are actually quite nice. Just like this. I had no idea about it but it sounds great. As well as multi window, of WiFi direct for NFC (I use NFC quite a lot so this would be great for me) and many other things. Like being able to calibrate the display for certain apps. Like having popping colors on launcher and natural while watching videos or pictures. I would love to have a stock looking software with all of Samsung's features. And a better body, like a Nexus 4/5 (yes I love the glass of the 4) I hate their software and phones but some things are actually great which is why they are where they are (also the huge marketing helps :P )

      • tim242

        I have never had burn in. Even our store demos that are at 100% brightness with long periods of static images, don't get burn in.

        • axel

          Really? Because amoled is superior in almost every way to LCD. But I've seen quite a few burn ins on store demos and from 2 friends. And that was enough to scare me away. Some other people's phones that I see don't notice it but I am a person of detail, so even if its minimal or small I may notice it and it will bother me. And also the fact is that blue colors on OLED screens are the ones that burn with the highest energy, thus they burn the fastest, and ironically it is the color that Samsung uses the most, so i would imagine that having a blue UI and then having a warmer color might bring up the burnt pixels. But idk. Maybe they have made improvements in that area, I would like to know more about it.

          • EH101

            I've got a Note 2, it's 1.5 years old or so. The only burn in it has is the clock area, top right corner. It's only noticeable when the screen is displaying white or black in that corner and I'm really looking for it. It is largely a non-issue, and I'd take it over the light-bleed that is associated with most IPS LCD screens.

    • Cj

      Seeing as Samsung is the number 1 seller of Android smartphone I'd say yes. People are buying "that crap"

      • HugePotato

        Look, my point is that Samsung gained popularity with great phones like S2, S3 and S4 to some point and people will buy S5 since they don't have too much knowledge about phone market. S5 looks obnoxious and this is what I meant when I said "that crap".

        • Mike Harris

          I still don't understand your point.

          • HugePotato

            My point is that people will buy S5 and not other phones because they don't know about them. S5 has very poor design and cheap feel considering it's a flagship just list for example M8 or Z2. I don't think Samsung deserves to have large sales. That's it

          • hot_spare

            "deserves" ? Who gave you the right to judge that? You think you are some kind of superman who has the divine right to judge who deserves what?

          • Cj

            What exactly is poor about the design (outside of the cheap plastic feel). Assuming you are speaking here about hardware and not software (touchwiz)

          • HugePotato

            Plastic and golfball texture on the back. I really think that's it. Z2 or M8 have premium feel with metal and glass

          • Cj

            One word... case

          • SVem26

            And anyway I think this maybe my last samsung as they're clearly modifying touchwiz gradually to look like tizen( those round icons and the color scheme,etc) and are planning to flip the OS switch to their Tizen OS without the common user even realising they aren't using an android phone anymore..

        • SVem26

          Take my case for example.. I am buying S5 when it comes out on April 11th not because I love it but because the wife is getting the M8 and its boring to have the same phones at home ( we both have note 3s now).. I did hear another friend saying the same thing..

          • HugePotato

            Well look, it's not like I am saying that S5 utterly rubbish. After all, performance-wise it is a great phone. I just think people should consider other phone as well. Z2 maybe :D

          • SVem26

            T-mobile here.. In the JUMP plan, hence the frequent upgrades(which I love).. they dont have the Z2, only the Z1s and I dont like sony much ( past experience with the screens)..

          • HugePotato

            Anyway I hope you will have great time using S5! After all that's what this is all about ;)

          • rand

            Boring? Just cheap...My wife and I both have the galaxy s4 because when i needed a new phone they were buy one get one free for the same price as only one iphone, this way we both upgraded. As an added advantage we each discover different things and can pool information and assist when problems arise

    • tim242

      I have an S4. I will be buying the S5 on Friday, full price. Best display, best camera is a win in my book.

      • HugePotato

        The design is imo mad ugly and it has 2 GB of ram(would like to point out that Note 3 which has been released earlier has 3 GB) so from my experience android 4.5(or 5.0) will be the last version for that phone...Galaxy S3 with 1 GB of ram has apparently way too much to be updated to kitkat...Just a thought there

    • Doakie

      I have a Note 3 and I had a HTC M7 last year. Honestly the best rounded Android phones I've used are always Samsung phones. Screen size, screen resolution, processor performance, camera quality and software addons that actually improve the experience. Once you factor in the whole package Samsung starts to really make sense. I couldn't possibly stand another 4 Ultrapixel camera. Like I've said before I took my M7 to Hawaii and took 3000 pictures with it. They look fine on the M7 full screen but try to zoom in to see something and is full on grainy. I was disappointed. The only phone that seems to be beating the Galaxy S5 as an overall package this spring is the Xperia Z2 but in the US it's only available on T-Mobile so that takes it off my table being my main phone is on AT&T.

      Besides that fact, I put cases on my phones. Who cares how a phone looks without a case when my phones spend 99% of their time in cases? What matters most to me is the overall experience.

  • K

    Is anyone surprised? Verizon will probably also do the same thing. Custom ROMs will probably restore the feature.

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  • PrDawg

    Another reason to hold on to my Verizon unlimited data plan till they pry it from my cold dead hands. Lol

    • tim242

      Yours and mine both!

    • Mike Harris

      I'm also in the club. I recently bought a house and because I didn't have cable installed until last week, I've been using my phone as a hotspot for my Smart TVs. I don't think I've ever used any large amount of data before this past month, but for my last billing cycle, I used over 80GB. This was almost entirely from streaming (Netflix, HBOGO, Hulu) and I'm not bragging, but I can't even imagine what my bill would have been if I didn't still have my unlimited plan. I feel like this one month alone has justified me buying my last two phones (GS3 and Note 3) at full retail.

      And I still have the peace of mind of knowing that I still have unlimited data.

    • jesse

      Same here unlimited all the way

  • sam

    If this was an iPhone feature, AT&T would never block it.

    • Histirea

      Apple wouldn't let them block it.

      • tim242

        FaceTime was blocked on cellular for quite a long time.

        • Histirea

          I think they legally bullshitted that when it was brought up to them, but they eventually let it just happen. Apple started off strong and made carriers cater to their demands, and now iPhones are too essential to their service that if they get on Cook's bad side, they're guaranteed to lose a lot of customers.

        • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

          Yea, it was blocked for over 6 months.

    • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

      AT&T DID block FaceTime once.

  • Jon

    Does anyone with a data cap actually want this feature? I struggle as it is to stay under my data cap and specifically avoid downloading large files over LTE. So while it may be nice if you have unlimited data, I personally would always have this feature disabled.

    • Histirea

      AT&T probably had it removed because there were still people grandfathered into unlimited data plans.

      • PrDawg

        That defeats the purpose. They removed the wifi part so would use more data. They don't make money on wifi.

        • Histirea

          It makes sense to remove incentives for grandfathered customers to use mobile data so much, but you're right that it's stupid. They're removing a feature that offloads some of the downloading work as if Wi-Fi is a direct competitor.

          • PrDawg

            Wouldn't affect me anyway. I never turn on wifi so might woud use less download data but the majority of data used as a dev is in uploading large files.

    • Cj

      Which is why it's an optional feature and not a built in function.

    • sluflyer06

      Just beacuse people have data caps doesn't mean you don't have more than enough to use it. I don't find myself holding back from using my LTE data with a 10GB cap and the price is reasonable for 10GB these days anyway.

  • bgeek1

    Dont count on custom roms anymore with the push for locked bootloaders. I think I read where even Tmo's bootloader will be locked this time.

    • Cj

      What is this response related to exactly?
      Also, bootloaders have been locked on many devices that still managed to get custom ROMs

      • bgeek1

        Someone mentioned Custom roms would restore missing functionality. Unless it can be fixed with root I wouldnt advise buying a phone counting on a bypass being found to the locked bootloader.

      • Paul

        Ya, custom roms with locked kernels. Locked bootloaders severely limit what you can do. If it requires anything on the kernel side you can kiss it goodbye.

    • Michael J Carroll

      Maybe even bring it to other phones, too.

  • HellG

    The functionality has existed in many apps on XDA long before the S5, they just work the same way as IDM on windows, instead of splitting the file and downloading it on the same time however, it let each part download from different source (meaning the WIFI and 4G)
    those who miss the function can just download apps like these from XDA

    • INF3RNO

      Can you please mention or link me to some? I love the idea but will not upgrade my S4 because of it. It would be nice to add the feature to my S4 in a way

  • snobrdr2324

    This is good news in my opinion. I go to a large University and ATT and Verizons LTE during peak hours are both awful. ATT's is below 1mbps and 300+ pings from 9-5 and this is with a significant portion of the people on campus using the widespread campus WiFi. There are already too many people who don't know how to toggle wifi on their iPhones and just leave it off all of the time (I know 2 of them personally) so now adding people who do have wifi always on but don't disable this feature to the network load would just be unbearable. Tmobile is the only carrier here whose LTE isn't useless during the daytime (Sprint doesn't even have LTE yet), and that is only because they don't have nearly the number of customers ATT and Verizon have here.

    • Mike Harris

      Wait, which is good news? The Download Booster or the fact that it's missing?

      • Just_Some_Nobody

        I don't think his comment has anything to do with Download Booster. I've read it three times and it's basically just a rant about other people.

      • snobrdr2324

        Made it clearer and more concise. I was ranting a bit because using LTE that is slower than sprints 3G network that I came from is frustrating and I don't want it to get worse with this feature enabled.

    • lazrrocketarm

      Well, LTE is faster for me than uVerse wifi.
      So, if I have to use one or the other, I am using LTE anyway.

      AND it is a cell phone! ATT is not preventing wifi users from using LTE, they are preventing their WIRELESS customers from using WIRELESS networks

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    To be fair, it does say they're bringing it in a future software update.*

    *probably

    • Snackpack

      Of course AT&T would say that, they want to sell the crap out of the phone on day one. Future could be a year from now.

      • Jacob Samples

        Yes, because so many AT&T customers still have unlimited data that they could utilize this. /s

  • JazzEspresso

    Fucking AT&T!!!

  • Derek Duncan

    S Finder and Quick Connect are no where to be seen either on the notification bar. But THANKFULLY SO!

  • archercc

    Guess I am missing the need. In urban settings home internet is 25Mb/s+ (my mid-tier comcast one is 50+). What are you downloading on your phone you need that quickly that you need to use mobile bandwidth as well?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      For those without caps, I don't see why not. Otherwise, I'm struggling to find any reason for this feature to exist.

      • archercc

        So why not? But WHY? Seriously, how much content is someone pulling from a device that this is a feature you would need to turn on? Possibly in a decade when 30+MB/s isnt enough but, hopefully, broadband is a bit faster then as well.

        • Mkvarner

          Depends on where you live, some people are still stuck with 1 Mb/s broadband.

        • BlackTig3r

          Torrents? Large video files? Use your imagination.

    • Mike Harris

      I'm sorry, but I'll never understand comments like yours. This is the equivalent of people who asked why we needed bigger HDDs 20-30 years ago. Or why we ever need faster CPUs, larger batteries, or more fuel-efficient cars. I'm obviously paraphrasing, but you guys always have the same type of response – "what I got is good enough."

      The world does not revolve around you. Just because you're too shortsighted to see the benefits of technological advancements (not that this particular feature is equivalent to splitting the atom), that doesn't mean the rest of deserve to suffer.

    • Mike Harris

      I'm sorry, but I'll never understand comments like yours. This is the equivalent of people who asked why we needed bigger HDDs 20-30 years ago. Or why we ever need faster CPUs, larger batteries, or more fuel-efficient cars. I'm obviously paraphrasing, but you guys always have the same type of response – "what I got is good enough."

      The world does not revolve around you. Just because you're too shortsighted to see the benefits of technological advancements (not that this particular feature is equivalent to splitting the atom), that doesn't mean the rest of deserve to suffer.

      • archercc

        What a whiny bitch. How about answering the question instead of trying to be so high and mighty with nothing but some tangential bull.

        Is this 30 years ago? You cant even give a legit example of WHY this is necessary now. Guess what, 30 years ago you didn't need a bigger HD. I doubt your Samsung is going to need 80MB/s down by the time your contract is up.

        • Mike Harris

          I'll try to reply without sinking to your level of name-calling, you obnoxious, fucking twat. Fuck it, I tried.

          My point is that your question doesn't deserve a response. You're the one who's trying to create an unnecessy, arbitrary limit on what our maximum speeds should be. Unless you work for one of the major carriers, why would you possibly care how fast the rest of us want our download speeds to be? Why do we need to justify that to you?

          The whole point of my reply – which clearly went right over your head – is that our current needs should never dictate the limitations of our technological advancements. What I might want to use it for is not only irrelevant, but none of your business.

          • John the Dude

            "I'll try to reply without sinking to your level of name-calling, you obnoxious, fucking twat. Fuck it, I tried." -- I don't agree with name calling, but that did make me laugh!! Well done asshole. (Said in good fun). ;)

          • Mike Harris

            Haha, thanks. The funny thing is that I almost never resort to name-calling, but his reply just really rubbed me the wrong way.

        • hoosiercub88

          Because we're working towards the future, where everything is instant. We want to click something and have it done, our current LTE networks are uncapable of doing that, though they're getting a helluva lot closer in places like South Korea.

          We as a whole, in the US, are getting shafted hard on internet bandwidth. The thing is, more people are using these mobile networks and even hardwired broadband, so they're getting slower and more clogged, and instead of giving us more, they just repurpose stuff and don't actually fix the problem. Meanwhile, South Koreans can enjoy 300Mb+ on their advanced LTE networks.

          If you're happy with what you have that's great, but there's no sense in crapshooting down advancements in technology just because you can't open your eyes and see a benefit.

          Even on LTE sometimes when I'm downloading something, an update to a large game/large PDFs/Music/etc.. I don't always get the speeds I want, even if I can pull down 25Mb+ it sometimes still takes a long time, because if you didn't know.. 25Mb Down is only equivalent to 2Mbps or so in ACTUAL download speed.

          • snailpo

            To clear up why there is such a big difference between 25mbps turning into 2MBps. This is because 25 megabits per second = 2.4ish megabytes per second. Bits and bytes are the difference.

          • hoosiercub88

            I know that, but a lot of people don't.. That's part of the problem, when someone sees a SpeedTest result and wonders why we'd even need any more than that.

            If you take, and on Comcast's current 50Meg home connection, and stream 1080p video in a less than data frugal format over that connection, other people in the house are going to notice it if they're trying to utilize the internet.

    • HC

      Well at my gym the the wifi and 3G are slow so I was hoping I could use it to get better speed on internet radio.

    • Ryan

      There are many folks like myself who do NOT live in Urban settings like you do, Archercc. I live in the vast countryside with a DSL connection that drops out every half hour. Cable internet companies has since refused installing land lines for cable internet. We do have LTE coverage here from ATT and the download booster would help me tremendously in downloading files before my DSL connection drops out.

      There are many folks like myself that would benefit from the download booster, those who have highly unstable internet connections at home especially in suburb/rural areas.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Nothing new for AT&T, the last I checked Google Talk, which of course became Hangouts will still not allow you to have a video call over cellular connection if you have an AT&T SIM card.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      That was changed last year. You can do it now.

      • xhozt

        Confirmed it works fine over lte now .

      • xhozt

        Confirmed it works fine over lte now .

  • zeoxzy

    Can only assume they don't want to have to handle the extra traffic something like this would add.

  • Zyre

    Probably scared by the load on there shit network. It's time they upgrade this shit country for faster speeds without capping everything.

  • Kaizokudave

    I think its more than likely a smart they disable this feature, or at least a better decision in the long run. If it was available I can see a lot of users downloading large files or streaming on what they thought was solely their WiFi connection and instead are partially using their cell data and using part of their data allotment. Key point is most users are not on unlimited data plans anymore and in smaller data plans like 3-6GB would be used very quickly if the feature were turned on by accident, Even if the user was notified. (Sometimes even I forget to turn on my WiFi when at home, imagine the uproar when someone thinks they're on WiFi but still partially on cell.) Most users aren't on unlimited data plans and AT&T doesn't offer them anymore.

    It makes sense that the T-Mo variant has this feature turned on due to no data limits.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Shawn De Cesari

      That's not how download booster works. You can only use it when downloading a file via the download manager, and the file must be in excess of 30 MB for it to kick in. It's not something that it uses all the time for no reason.

      • Kaizokudave

        Okay, still though I could imagine it just causing a lot more problems then solves. Now, probably best to hide it similar to developers mode that way you have to willing seek it out.

        But, chances are you still won't want to use it on a capped data plan for larger downloads.

        Chances are if you really want the feature you're on a grand fathered unlimited data plan and you'd be better off purchasing a Dev/unlocked edition anyways.

    • MyLeftNut

      Really, thou? I don't know why people actually take this stance. What else are you willing to allow the carrier to take away from you in name of user protection?

      • Kaizokudave

        If you're worried about carriers removing things then youre buying Dev/unlocked versions anyways. So, you don't have to worry about it.

    • Braden Abbott

      I am so glad they disabled this, every user would have turned it on in their quick settings just because it sounds good, why would you not want to have boosted downloads, right? No! They will bitch to the carriers about overages, "I was on WiFi the whole time" blah blah blah

      • hoosiercub88

        You really can't fix stupid huh..

  • josh

    To my believe, Samsung is going to unlock the feature in an update sometime soon after the official release date— April 11th

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php Apple is a patent troll

    Good thing I don't live in the USA.

  • King Ja’Corie Maxwell

    The Sprint variant doesn't have it either.

  • John the Dude

    Everyone who still has unlimited data plans needs to band together and LEAVE YOUR PHONE ON LTE permanently. You want to save your data? We'll just turn off wifi completely....

  • John the Dude

    Everyone who still has unlimited data plans needs to band together and LEAVE YOUR PHONE ON LTE permanently. You want to save your data? We'll just turn off wifi completely....

  • http://www.facebook.com/alterthending Nathan Handy

    At&t also removed "Car Mode" from the S5 and are FORCING you to download their At&t drive app which is NOTHING like Car mode. Car Mode allows you to control your phone with your voice so you never have to take your hands off the wheel, At&t's app disables calls in or out from anyone out of your 5 picks and auto replies to texts that you are "driving right now". I've done research (unfrotunetly after I purchased on att's network by a BAIT & SWITCH Tactics I feel) T-mobile is the ONLY provider that has a TRUE Galaxy S5 experience. Nothing has been removed and T-mobile is paying Early Term Fee's. Switch Now!

  • MSCCAG

    Samsung Galaxy S5 Flip Cover Folio Case ,including retail packaging and all the stickers and the rubber grip on the interior of the case,source from gadget2us

    http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/6gfPB0/blackberry-cn.com/product/white-folio-leather-case-galaxy-s5-with-window/

  • http://www.asuntest.com Golden Chen

    the black color with special flip design and exact size of the battery cover to samsung galaxy s5, it is high quality protector,totally 5 colors in stock, black, white,blue, dark blue and coffee color, cost USD4.2 each ,source search at gadget2us

  • Aashish Ranjan

    Hi frns

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