During its Galaxy S6 launch event, Samsung specifically promoted the inclusion of preloaded mobile apps from Microsoft as something that differentiated it from competing Android phones. However, some American consumers who have bought the Galaxy S6 through their wireless carriers have found that some of these apps have been removed from the devices by their carriers, and it looks like Verizon in particular has been the most zealous about removing preloaded Microsoft apps from the Galaxy S6.
These issues were first reported by Redditors over at Reddit’s /r/GalaxyS6 community, who over the weekend helped us sort out which apps have been removed by which carriers. This list isn’t comprehensive — as in, there may be removed features that we don’t yet know about — but here are our initial findings:
- AT&T has removed the Download Booster feature that simultaneously uses Wi-Fi and LTE data to deliver faster speeds; the Simple Sharing feature that lets you more easily share large files with friends; Microsoft’s OneDrive application, which came with 100GB of free cloud storage; and the Smart Manager app that Samsung designed to make managing battery use and storage on your device easier.
- Verizon has also removed Smart Manager and OneDrive… and every other Microsoft app that was preloaded. In other words, if you buy a Galaxy S6 from Verizon, you won’t get OneDrive, Skype, OneNote and Office Mobile preloaded onto the device. Unlike AT&T, Verizon’s Galaxy S6 does come with Download Booster and Simple Share enabled, however.
- T-Mobile is limiting your ability to remove S-Finder and Quick Connect from the phone’s drop-down menu. You also can’t disable the capacitive lights on T-Mobile’s Galaxy S6 as you can on AT&T’s version of the device. Other than this, though, it seems T-Mobile has left the device largely intact.
- Sprint has removed Download Booster and has disabled Wi-Fi calling as a default setting, although it’s possible to change that easily by enabling it in the settings. Like T-Mobile, Sprint has mostly left the device alone and it does give you access to the Microsoft apps Samsung promoted during its Galaxy S6 launch, including the 100GB of OneDrive data.
When asked about why Verizon removed the Microsoft apps in particular, a Verizon spokesman told us that these apps could still be downloaded from the Google Play Store and that Verizon wasn’t blocking anyone from using them. AT&T, meanwhile, has so far not given us a comment.
We should also note that if the Smart Manager isn’t preloaded on the Galaxy S6, you won’t be able to download it separately from the Google Play store.
We feel that it’s important for consumers to know exactly what they’re getting before they buy a smartphone from their carriers. Carriers not only remove apps and features from mobile devices that their customers might want, but they also make sure to preload their own apps onto devices that their customers might not want at all.
So if you are buying the Galaxy S6 with the impression that you’ll be getting 100GB of complementary OneDrive storage space, you may want to consider buying it unlocked instead of from Verizon or AT&T.
(Thanks again to the crew over at /r/GalaxyS6 for their help!)