Samsung Confirms It Will Remove Ads From Some of Its Default Phone Apps

Samsung Confirms It Will Remove Ads From Some of Its Default Phone Apps
Photo: Sam Rutherford

After Samsung president TM Roh told Korean newspaper Yonhap that it would be pruning ads from some of the company’s default pre-installed apps, Samsung has now confirmed that it will begin removing the annoying promotions later this year.

According to Yonhap, the topic was brought up by a Samsung employee during a recent Samsung “town hall” meeting, after which Roh responded with a decision to remove ads from a number of first-party Samsung apps.

Following Roh’s decision after the town hall, in a statement given to The Verge, Samsung has now confirmed that it will be removing ads sometime later this year via a forthcoming update.

“Samsung has made a decision to cease the advertisement on proprietary apps including Samsung Weather, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Theme. Our priority is to deliver innovative mobile experiences for our consumers based on their needs and wants. We value feedback from our users and continue our commitment to provide them with the best possible experience from our Galaxy products and services.”

For users of Samsung phones, the removal of ads from some of the company’s first-party apps is an encouraging sign, as those ads have been the source of long-running complaints from customers over the past few years, particularly on more premium devices like the Galaxy S21 Ultra or Samsung’s foldable Z-series phones. And while Samsung has not set a specific date for when the update will arrive, there’s a good chance it’ll be part of Samsung’s annual One UI revamp, which over the past few years has typically been released sometime in late fall.

While they might not be classified as typical ads, notifications for apps like Samsung Global Goals can still get kind of annoying.  (Screenshot: Sam Rutherford) While they might not be classified as typical ads, notifications for apps like Samsung Global Goals can still get kind of annoying. (Screenshot: Sam Rutherford)

While it’s a promising development, hopefully, this change is merely the start of a more comprehensive effort to pare back ads in other Samsung apps and devices, especially Samsung TVs, which have faced similar criticism in recent years for surfacing ads in the menus for its premium TVs.

And then there are other cases like the notifications that Samsung sometimes sends out to Samsung devices following major product launches or notifications from apps like Samsung Global Goals that try to prompt you to opt into its program.

Ideally, Samsung would get rid of ads in all of its apps and devices unless expressly given permission to display promotions by the user, which is more tolerable on devices like Amazon’s Kindle e-readers where devices with ads are clearly labelled and come with a discounted price.

But sadly, with companies often trying to eke out every last bit of profit wherever they can, as we’ve seen in other situations like a recent Android TV update for the Nvidia Shield, seeing ads in menus might just be the new normal.