From its earliest incarnations, Android has always supported background apps. Granted, they would wreck your battery in the early days and slow down your phone. Things have gotten better, but there’s still work to do, and Google is partnering with Samsung to get it done. The companies have announced that apps targeting Android 14 are “guaranteed” to work as intended due to this collaboration.
Getting Android process management to where it is now has been a years-long process. Before Android 6.0 Marshmallow, background processes could run with minimal restriction, which was far from ideal. To save battery life, Google implemented Doze Mode in Marshmallow. This would suspend almost all apps when the phone was asleep—it was a necessary evolution of the platform, even if it came with some headaches. Google has given developers ways to keep background services alive, improving them with each iteration of Android. With Android 14, Google is adding new foreground services APIs, allowing apps in the background to tell the system why they need to remain alive.
By far, Samsung is the largest Android device maker, so it makes sense that Google would work closely with the Korean company. The announcement confirms that Samsung One UI 6.0 (based on Android 14) will support the new API rules. That could mean much better stability for background services. “Apps targeting Android 14 will be guaranteed to work as intended so long as they are developed according to Android’s new foreground service API policy,” says Samsung.
Android 14, currently available as a beta for select Google Pixel devices, will allow apps to identify their background activities in categories like phone calls, health, data sync, location, and media playback. When apps properly support these attributes, they can complete their work in the background without fear of being killed to save resources. That’s why Samsung’s statement specifies the apps must be using the new APIs to be “guaranteed” to work.
Android 14 is on track for release on Google Pixel phones in fall 2023. In the following months, Samsung will release One UI 6.0 updates for its newest phones. When the Galaxy S24 launches in early 2024, it will likely run Android 14 and One UI 6.0 out of the box. Other OEMs moving to Android 14 should be able to enjoy the fruits of this Google-Samsung team-up by implementing the foreground API features.