Does Galaxy S9 lag or stutter? All you need to know

Back in the old days when Samsung Galaxy ruled the Android market more than it does today, the only reason people resented it was the issue of the slow TouchWiz UI that it came with. Over the years, Samsung itself has embraced the no-nonsense stock user interface of Google with a few tweaks of its own, but users continue to report of stutter and lag issues.

Surprisingly enough, the brand new Galaxy S9 is also a part of this negative publicity, where users are disappointed to notice a certain amount of lag when using apps and even with the general user experience.

Related: How to fix Galaxy S9 fingerprint scanner problem

On paper, the rock-solid processor and a whopping 4GB or RAM qualify the Galaxy S9 with enough firepower to push through any process without any lag or shutter, so why are some users experiencing this?

Galaxy S9 lag/stutter: How to fix it if you get it

It surely is upsetting when a premium — and probably the best — Android phone you are holding in your phone starts to slow down. While we certainly do not expect the Galaxy S9 to behave like that, but sometimes, it can happen. So, let’s discuss that.

Related: How to restart the Galaxy S9 when the screen is not responding

1. It’s all about the usage

The majority of Galaxy S9 users will be surprised to find out that their device is even capable of lagging, considering how new and highly powerful it is. Even under the immense pressure of running a dozen apps at once and playing premium quality UHD content from Netflix, the Galaxy S9 is expected to run smoothly without a hiccup.

However, there are those among us who like to push their devices to the very edge, and although the Galaxy S9 can handle pretty much everything you throw at it, you shouldn’t be too surprised to see a lag or stutter every now and then. This may not even be the device’s fault entirely, since the software on the Galaxy S9 is fairly new at the moment, so it does need some time to be run in the open world for Samsung to test out the issues and fix them accordingly.

Galaxy-S9-Plus-images-84

2. Galaxy S9 is brand new

When you unbox your new Galaxy S9 and enjoy every inch of it, seeing the device lag or stutter can be frustrating, considering that you expect older devices to behave in such manner. However, you need to consider the fact that not only is the Galaxy S9 less than a few weeks old, but Samsung’s Android 8.0 that it runs out of the box is quite new too — it was released for the Galaxy S8 as an OTA only a while ago. This means that Samsung could yet learn a bug or two about its version of Oreo update, and that might be impacting the experience on the Galaxy S9, as this version itself has not been circulating for too long.

When comparing to devices like the Google Pixel series, you need to consider the fact that the smoothness you see on these devices is the result of the deep level of hardware-software optimization by Google. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve tried out the Galaxy S9+ for ourselves and experienced no lag whatsoever, but for those who are, all you need to know is that the software integration is important, and it can take time.

3. The processor variant can also play a part

For years now, Samsung has kept the practice of releasing different variants of its flagship Galaxy devices – a Snapdragon variant for the devices sold in North America, and an Exynos version that is sold everywhere else in the world. Since Exynos SoCs are developed by Samsung itself, the level of hardware/software optimization is expected to be better than that of the Snapdragon variant, which is developed by Qualcomm, a third-party vendor.

Since Snapdragon processors are the gold standard among Android devices (including Google Pixel phones), this doesn’t mean that you should blame the Snapdragon variants for the lag. But once again, the Galaxy S9 is the first Android device to sport the latest Snapdragon 845 processor, which is untested with the Android OS in the open world until now. If you are experiencing lag and stutter which could be SoC-related, Samsung and Qualcomm could soon fix all of it with future software updates.

Related: Why not buy the Galaxy S9 [Fail]

Galaxy-S9-and-Pixel-2

4. It’s not a Pixel

If you are a heavy user, who has lots of apps and games installed and running in the background, then know that because Samsung’s software isn’t optimized on the same level as that of Pixel sets by Google, you may encounter lag in a while.

Some users are already reporting the lag on their Galaxy S9 with a few days of use. However, we are yet to encounter anything like lag or stutter, but even then we can say that the experience isn’t that smooth as on our Pixel 2.

5. It is Samsung

You must have read it countless times already: Samsung’s custom skin, now called Samsung Experience (formerly TouchWiz) is far from best-in-class. Whether you are talking about the Galaxy S7 or the S8, or the Note 8, there have been reports about the phone starting to lag after a while, which could be soon, or later.

Huawei even made a meal of it when launching their Mate 10 handsets when they reported that while other one certain flagship’s performance degraded a lot, theirs was running as good as when it was first put to use.

Bonus: Easy way to fix the lag

Samsung Galaxy devices are infamous for getting slower and sluggish as they get older, and the common way to fix these issues is to either perform a factory reset or clear the device cache. But since the Galaxy S9 has just come out, these methods of fixing the lag and shutter may not be too effective.

Galaxy-S9-lagfix

One easy trick is that you can tweak the animation settings on your Galaxy S9 to fix the lag and shutter issues for good. To do so, you need to unlock the Developer options menu by heading over to Settings – About phone – Software information – tap the Build number 7 times. (You will get a pop-up message: You’re now a developer!)

  • Head back to the Settings app and scroll down to find the newly unlocked Developer options menu.
  • Scroll down to find the Drawing section with the following tabs – Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale.
  • Select each of the tabs and change the mode for all of them to Animation scale 0.5 and reboot the device.

These subtle yet effective changes to animation settings will most likely get rid of the obvious lag and stutter that you’re facing on your Galaxy S9 and S9+.


If you need help with lagging and stuttering issues or any other fixes for your brand new Galaxy S9, we’re here to help. Just reach out to us in the comments below.

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Sharing a love-hate relationship with Biotechnology in college, Husain moved on to his true calling of being a tech geek through and through. While briefly being persuaded by the iPhone, he made it back to the Android camp with the OnePlus One and has been a loyal comrade since.