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Samsung promises it won't kill your background apps in One UI 6.0

Samsung and Google have partnered to promise a consistent and reliable app experience with Android 14.
By
May 8, 2023
ONE UI vs iOS 16 stackable widgets
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

 

TL;DR
  • Google and Samsung are promising consistent and reliable app background behavior in One UI.
  • These changes are promised to go into effect with One UI 6.0 based on Android 14.
  • The background services of your favorite apps will perform reliably on the upcoming update and won’t be randomly terminated.

Android’s foundation is built on freedom and choice, manifesting itself in how OEMs can take open-source Android and customize it to their customer’s liking through Android UX skins. One side-effect of this approach has been the wildly inconsistent behavior for foreground and background apps and services. Google is now taking one step toward fixing this inconsistency, as it has announced a deeper partnership with Samsung for its upcoming Android 14-based One UI 6.0 update.

App developers and end users have long been unhappy with how some OEMs can be very aggressive in how they treat background services. Apps like instant messaging apps and others are frequently killed in the background, causing users to miss important messages and more. It’s a bad experience for everyone, further exacerbated by how different this behavior can be across the various UX skins that are present in the Android ecosystem.

Google wants to ensure that APIs dictating how apps work in the background function predictably and consistently across the ecosystem. To this end, the company has announced that it has partnered with Samsung to ensure that foreground services of apps will function in the same way on One UI 6.0 as they do on Android 14.

Samsung mentions the following in the announcement:

To strengthen the Android platform, our collaboration with Google has resulted in a unified policy that we expect will create a more consistent and reliable user experience for Galaxy users. Since One UI 6.0, foreground services of apps targeting Android 14 will be guaranteed to work as intended so long as they are developed according to Android’s new foreground service API policy.

This is great news for app developers. As long as app developers build the app up to the correct spec and follow Google-recommended best practices, they can expect the apps (and their relevant background and foreground services) to work reliably on One UI 6.0.

Curiously, the announcement from Google mentions that Samsung is the “first partner.” If we’re allowed to read between the lines, this suggests more Android OEMs could come on board in the future.

Does your phone aggressively shut down background apps?

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Part of the reason iOS receives a lot of praise is the consistent software experience across the lineup. While the same wouldn’t be a fair comparison considering the sheer breadth of Android devices out there, any step in achieving a consistent and predictable experience would be appreciated by both app developers and end users.

Android 14 contains a slew of changes under the hood that work toward this future. We hope to learn more at Google I/O.