TouchWiz has long been known as being far too full of bloat and unnecessary software, but the real problem with Samsung’s version of Android is that these added features come with a hard hit on performance. According to a report this morning from SamMobile, the Korean company might be going as far as to remove all features from the OS that can possibly be downloaded—and this just so happens to coincide with today’s market share numbers showing that Apple and Samsung were neck-and-neck in Q4.

We told you a little over a week ago that these kinds of changes would be coming to the Galaxy S6 specifically, with Samsung reportedly working on a toned-down version of TouchWiz for its new flagship. Today’s news corroborates this rumor, and while it’s not known if the S6 will see the removal of everything downloadable, it’s definitely clear that Samsung intends to move that direction soon.

It has been reported that Samsung is working on optimizing its software for the Galaxy S6 to near-Nexus levels, and we now have exclusive info that the company is removing every add-on feature that can be downloaded as an application, and slimming down the software by a wide margin in the process. We’re unsure which features and apps will be affected by this – Samsung builds in both standard apps and integrates some functions in the settings menu (like Smart Stay).

It’s not clear exactly which apps and features will be removed from TouchWiz, as some are standalone applications while others are more baked-in to the OS. (Add-on apps like S Translator and Story Album are the candidates likely getting axed with this change.) And it’s also unclear why Samsung has suddenly decided to move in a direction of an OS with better performance after years of loading up on features that most never even knew existed.

For one thing, Samsung is definitely feeling the heat from Apple after this holiday quarter. Most notably, Samsung’s numbers are down 11% year-over-year, while Apple’s are up a huge 46%. It’s definitely not causation as to why Samsung is moving away from bloated TouchWiz (as many of its customers have been loudly complaining for years), but the Korean company is surely feeling a new pressure as Apple gains ground.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.28.13 AM

IDC’s Q4 market share analysis

The Galaxy S6 is reportedly going to make a lot of changes that set it apart from previous years’ iterations, but its technical specs are going to be impressive nonetheless. The phone is expected to have a metal and glass body construction, a QHD Super AMOLED display, 3 GB/4 GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and either a 16MP or 20MP rear camera. Sadly, the latest reports suggest that the phone will be ditching the Snapdragon 810 in favor of one of Samsung’s own Exynos chips.

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About the Author

Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.