OnePlus 9 Pro spotted throttling popular apps months after launch

A few months after its launch, the OnePlus 9 Pro handset has been spied throttling the performance of many apps, including popular offerings and even ones from OnePlus itself. Soon after news of the matter began circulating, OnePlus confirmed what others had noticed, explaining that it is the result of working to "optimize" device performance when using these apps.READ: OnePlus 9 Pro Review – All-in on camera and display

The latest performance controversy arising at OnePlus was first spied by AnandTech, which reported earlier this week that it had found performance behavior that allowed benchmarking apps to enjoy full performance while limiting select other apps.

Though the full list of throttled apps isn't clear, the report claims most of the top Android apps are hit by "notably reduced performance." The discrepancy in performance was first noted when the OnePlus 9 Pro's browser benchmark ratings notably differed from that of other devices with the Snapdragon 888.

Chrome is one of the apps cited as seriously impacted by the throttling, with performance numbers akin to what you'd expect from an "early-2010s budget device," the analysis found. The figures were "perplexing" when compared with the other benchmark scores from the device, leading to a deeper dig that turned up the selective throttling issue.

Some of the apps impacted by this issue appear to include WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Chrome, TikTok, Zoom, YouTube, Mozilla, Amazon, Dropbox, Reddit, LinkedIn, Microsoft Teams, Candy Crush, VLC, Uber, Strava, AirBnB, Microsoft Office apps, and other major applications. Many of OnePlus's own apps are also on the list, including its File Manager, Gallery, Camera, Weather, and Note.

Though some less demanding games like Candy Crush were found to be affected, other games requiring higher performance like Genshin Impact weren't throttled. OnePlus commented on the matter in a statement to XDA, explaining that it has been "working over the past few months to optimize the devices' performance" when it comes to popular apps like Chrome, doing so by "matching the app's processor requirements with the most appropriate power."

The company says the intention is to improve heat management and battery life, confirming that the observed behavior is intentional. The explaination doesn't sit well with many users, and given that OnePlus claims to have made this change based on user feedback, it seems possible the company may reverse course in light of the controvery.