Thursday, May 7, 2015

Samsung Galaxy S6 Tweaks

UPDATE: See below for proof of over 5 hours of effective screen on time after following the instructions in this post. I've also added my personal list of disabled apps for you to use as a reference as you debloat your S6.

I finally bit the bullet last week and replaced my Samsung Galaxy S3 with a Samsung Galaxy S6 (SM-G920W8). The internet does not lie, the S6 is a beautiful phone and seems to have been packed with some of the best hardware to date.

That being said, the software is a bit of what I expected... bloated. The 8 core processor shows no sign of strain with all the extra bells and whistles, but I'm a big fan of longevity and speed. The Samsung phone comes with way too many processes running, a lot of which are unnecessary for most users. Sure, Samsung cut parts of TouchWiz out, but they didn't cut deep enough. We can free up a lot of processing power and ram by clearing out the unnecessary apps and processes. Here are the 3 best bang for your buck steps to get the most out of the Galaxy S6.

Step 1 - Swap that Launcher. TouchWiz is Samsung's launcher, it is what you see when you look at your home screen and app drawer. TouchWiz is known for excessive features, but at the cost of speed and efficiency. What you really want is something similar, but with half the bloat. I'm a big fan of Nova Launcher, that being said, you'll have to invest a few bucks to get Nova Launcher Prime if you want all the fancy customization options. Even still, the free version of Nova Launcher is less resource hungry and generally faster than TouchWiz. Swapping launchers is the first step to a smooth Galaxy S6.

Step 2 - Come to the dark side. The Samsung line of devices use Super AMOLED screens. The brighter the color on the screen, the more power they use to display them. So if your wallpaper is a glistening image of a unicorn under white clouds and bright rainbows and you stare at it endlessly, you'll be able to watch your battery life drop off. However if you have a picture of my hero, Batman against a night sky, you'll have significantly improved battery life. This is true not just for wallpapers, but anything you view on your phone. Switch text messaging apps, browsers and even your system theme to "night" mode or customize them dark for maximum battery life.

Step 3 - Cut the fat. With all my favorite apps installed, my new Samsung Galaxy S6 (android version 5.0.2) has 436 packages installed. Thats personal apps, system apps, processes and everything else in between. That is a LOT of things installed. Of course, Android is smart and doesn't run all of these at the same time, but you have to think, the less I have, the less there is to drain the battery. Now obviously you don't want to start uninstalling everything at random, as some apps are very cooperative and won't run in the background unless you tell them too, while others are sneaky and refuse to disappear. The S6 comes with an easy to use app called Smart Manager. Take a look in that app under the Ram section and Detailed view. See all the active and cached apps? All those have been running, are running or will be run at some point. Some of those apps you'll want to stay like important system and social messaging apps that provide core functions or important notifications. However a bunch of them are apps that came with the phone that you have no intention of using, and just sit there collecting dust. Lets get rid of them...

Debloater by GatesJunior
Download a program called Debloater from here. I didn't make this program but fully support GatesJunior in its development as it works wonders to remove bloatware from our S6's (and most other Android phones). I'm not going into great detail on the specific use of the Debloater software, so if you need your hand held with it, try these instructions. Essentially, without rooting your phone, this software can disable/hide these apps from your phone with virtually no risk as you can simply restore them at any time. That being said, disable a core package and you could find your phone crashing and/or not booting, so take some caution.

You need to identify the apps you don't think you need, and check them off in the Debloater software. Don't just start rapid clicking everything or you'll end up with force closes and maybe boot issues. I've disabled 112 packages on my S6 so far, and still find one here and there worth disabling. Some things include the "S" apps like Health, Planner and Memo. Other system apps like Email, "Play" store apps, Print Spooler, Printer Service Facebook Account Manager, GearManager, GalaxyApps and Context Service just wasted ram too. Some apps you might use a lot and won't want to disable them, such as Ebay, Amazon and Youtube. Each of those apps have individual notification settings that when turned off, prevent the app from running in your Ram list, thereby preventing unnecessary battery and performance drain. If you're not sure about a specific package, google it and prevail. Keep in mind, disabling apps and notifications improves performance, but costs you the luxury of live updates and sometimes popular smartphone features. I'm willing to make certain sacrifices and my S6 is running super smooth and battery life has increased noticeably. Check the shots below, over 4 hours moderate use. Probably could of gotten another 15-20 minutes out of the remaining 5%.

UPDATE May 15 2015 - I did the same process listed in this post to my wife's S6 and had some great results. She's a stay at home mom who uses lots of wifi, Facebook, bluetooth, NFC and some GPS navigation. I almost crapped my pants when I noticed she broke 5 hours screen on time. She's my hero. 

UPDATE May 20 2015 - After many requests, I typed out a list of most of my disabled apps. Quite a few were themes and other unimportant apps. Disabling the apps I've listed will have postive effect on ram, performance and/or battery life. Keep in mind disabling some of them can also stop certain features (Facebook notifications, Samsung Finder search function etc.) so read my descriptions and choose wisely. I have had no issues with my phone after disabling these apps, but I will not guarntee you won't. Enjoy!

Show Ian's Disabled Apps List


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