OnePlus is notorious for aggressively killing background apps, much to user dismay, but Samsung traditionally hasn’t been any further behind. The Korean giant has now, in fact, beaten OnePlus to take the pole position in Don’t kill my app’s hall of shame — making it worse than even the likes of Huawei and Xiaomi. What led to this promotion is Samsung’s recent Android 11 update, which is harsher on background apps than ever. 

For those unaware, DKMA is a tracker that names and shames phone makers for doing more harm than good in the name of battery optimization. It has observed this kind of behavior on Samsung phones since the Android 9 Pie days, but things have gotten worse since Android 11’s release. Samsung has apparently introduced a new app restriction that is even more aggressive at killing apps and is enabled by default, keeping even foreground services from holding wake lock.

While this surely requires more testing to substantiate the claims, at least one third-party app has consistently failed to work as expected in our brief experience with Samsung’s Android 11. Just last week, a user reported an issue with their Android 11-running Galaxy S10e, where the test app stopped receiving the accelerometer data within 3 minutes of turning off the screen and resumed as soon as the phone was plugged in. Google failed to provide a fitting response and noted that it’s still investigating a similar issue filed about Chinese OEMs more than two years back.

Beyond these specific use cases, overt background app management is known to cause both notification delays and failures, missed alarms, inconsistent background tracking, and much more. Ryne dived deep into this problem plaguing almost the entire Android ecosystem and what steps Google is taking to curb it. Historically, Google’s own Pixel and Nexus phones have fared far better than other OEMs' phones — even DKMA corroborates that. 

If you, too, are facing similar issues with your Samsung phone after updating to Android 11, then your best bet is to turn off battery optimization for all apps or at least the ones that you specifically want to keep in the background. This will obviously hurt your battery life to a degree, but that’s the only user-facing solution at hand until Google works with OEMs to have a better implementation in place that doesn’t disrupt an app’s basic functionality for the sake of some endurance gains.

  • Thanks:
  • Armando,
  • Kieron