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OnePlus has a lame-ass reason for secretly throttling top apps on latest flagships

Settling, once again

OnePlus has a lame-ass reason for secretly throttling top apps on latest flagships
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

OnePlus raves on about the smooth performance of its phones every year… but the company was caught red-handed throttling the performance of over 300 apps on the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. The company has gone on the defensive now, saying this step was to “ensure better battery life.”

The issue came to the fore when AnandTech published a detailed report into OnePlus’ sneaky performance-limiting practices. Reporter Andrei Frumusanu first found issues with benchmarks of Chrome browser, which were unusually low for Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor designed for high-end phones.

Further investigation found that the Chinese manufacturer possibly has a list of apps whose performance is limited, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Surprisingly, AndandTech’s report found OnePlus’ own apps in this list.

A Geekbench test performed by AnandTech indicating performance throttling of the Twitter app on OnePlus 9 Pro
Credit: OnePlus 9 Pro
A Geekbench test performed by AnandTech indicating performance throttling of the Twitter app on OnePlus 9 Pro

The issue escalated so much that Geekbench, a software that measures benchmarks of phones, decided to remove the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro from its listings. It said, “We view this as a form of benchmark manipulation.”

OnePlus’ statement to XDA Developers indicates that it indeed made these ‘performance optimizing’ changes:

Following the launch of the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro in March, some users told us about some areas where we could improve the devices’ battery life and heat management.

As a result of this feedback, our R&D team has been working over the past few months to optimize the devices’ performance when using 300 of the most popular apps, including Chrome, by matching the app’s processor requirements with the most appropriate power. This has helped to provide a smooth experience while reducing power consumption.

The company added that this tweak resulted in lower ratings in benchmarking apps, but users matter more. Okay… so why not communicate these changes to them?

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