Samsung to put TouchWiz on a diet and make its own apps optional

Apps like S Health could be optional with the Galaxy S6. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Apps like S Health could be optional with the Galaxy S6. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Samsung knows its users hate TouchWiz, and it’s finally going to do something about it with the Galaxy S6.

Not only will the company’s next-generation user interface be streamlined for performance, but many of its own apps — which are baked in as standard with current devices — are going to become optional downloads you don’t have to install if you don’t want to.

Earlier this month, Business Korea, citing an unnamed insider, claimed that Samsung wanted to make TouchWiz as smooth as pure Android on a Google device. “We are aiming to get rid of unnecessary functions and simplify our UI at the level of Google’s Nexus 6,” the source said.

TouchWiz has long had a poor reputation. While it delivers some great features, there are plenty of others that are never used by the average consumer, and they make the platform slow and frustrating to use at times — even on flagship devices with speedy processors.

It’s thought Samsung has been working to change that for over a year; Recode reported last January that “a huge change” to Samsung’s software was in the pipeline — and now it seems it’s ready to be delivered alongside the Galaxy S6.

“We now have exclusive info that the company is removing every add-on feature that can be downloaded as an application, and slimming down the software by a wide margin in the process,” the ever-reliable SamMobile reports.

While basic features like Smart Stay, which keeps the screen illuminated while you’re looking at it, are likely to remain part of the operating system, apps like Story Album, S Translator, and maybe even S Voice are expected to become optional downloads.

When you setup your Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S Edge, then, you could be presented with what seems like a TouchWiz “safe mode,” which includes only the essentials and nothing else. If you want apps like Story Album, you’ll have to go download them from the Samsung Apps store.

Of course, apps aren’t the biggest issue; it’s the other features that Samsung makes part of the user interface that really slow it down. But the company is also going to optimize its code and more to fix that, source say.

The Galaxy S6 shaping up to be not only Samsung’s best smartphone yet in terms of design and specifications, then, but it could redefine the way we think about Samsung software, too. If you’re a long-time Galaxy user, this should be incredibly exciting.