Nobody likes ads. But as the online world has matured, people have come to understand that certain ads are necessary to fund their favorite sites that are free to access (hello). And while it's one thing to see ads on a website, but quite another matter when they start showing up in your phone's built-in apps. That's just what's happening for a number of users with Samsung phones in the US and other regions across the globe.
According to reports in the Samsung subreddit, ads are showing up everywhere from the stock weather app to the music app to the health app, which is particularly egregious. And these aren't just small, text-based ads, either. Examples posted online include big, colorful ads that include images and take up nearly a third of the screen real estate.
Not everyone sees ads like this on their Samsung phones. It likely depends on what region a device is in, or what carrier it was purchased from. Companies like Xiaomi are notorious for this kind of behavior, for example. Some Galaxy phones have an option to turn off marketing information in the Privacy page of the Settings app, but many report that even with this option toggled off, the ads don't go away.
This behavior might be a bit more forgivable on a budget phone, but flagships like the Galaxy S20, the Note 9, and the Note 10 all have reports of ads in default apps. When users pay upwards of $1,000 for a top-tier smartphone, this isn't the treatment they expect. Ads cheapen the flagship experience, especially ones advertising the Smithsonian Channel when people are just trying to jam out to their favorite tunes.
Recently, rumors spread about Samsung including lock screen ads on the upcoming One UI 2.5 release. While this probably isn't true, it's this kind of thing that makes it nonetheless feel believable. Phones got spammed with notifications for the Note 10 last year. Heck, Samsung has been doing this kind of thing since 2015! It wasn't acceptable then and it still isn't today.