Thankfully, you can now map the Samsung Bixby button to do things that are actually helpful
Sadly, you can’t remove it entirely.
Folding seems to be the word of the day for Samsung right now. First, the Galaxy Fold was finally shown in all its glory, and now, the South Korean phone maker is folding on a long-standing contentious issue – starting on the Galaxy S10 range, the Bixby button will allow you to remap it to another function.
While this is welcome news, Samsung’s only gone part-way to what people want. While you can add another function to the Bixby button, such as launching a third-party app, you can’t remove Bixby completely from that button. “Bixby Key Customization” will let you set either a single press or a double press of the button will launch your app or short command of choice. The operative word there is ‘or,’ as the other button press will call Bixby as usual.
At least you can move Bixby to need a double-tap so it’s not accidentally invoked all the time. You’ll still accidentally open whatever you add to a single press though, so the remapping function might end up being more annoying than just disabling that button entirely. Samsung also says that the remapping feature will be coming to all Bixby-enabled phones via a software update, finally letting Note 9 users do something with their Bixby button.
How to remap the Bixby button to do something useful
Remapping will let you use that Bixby button to open any app you want (unless the app you want is Google Assistant, or Alexa, or any of the other apps blocked by Samsung).
You can map the new function to either a single-press or a double-press. Long-pressing the button will always invoke Bixby, so expect lots of butt-dials (probably).
To remap your favorite app to the Bixby button, it’s pretty easy:
- Open the Settings app on your Galaxy device
- Tap on Advanced Features
- Tap Bixby Key
- Choose your preferred mode for Bixby, either single-press or double-press.
- Tap on the option below this selection, which will either be Use single press or Use double press depending on your prior selection
- Tap on Open app
- Select the app you want
Now tapping the Bixby button will open your app of choice, and not the omnipresent Bixby, ready to listen to your demands like a low-rent genie in-the-lamp.
With how much Samsung wants Bixby to be a voice assistant, it’s hard for me to see why the physical button is included. Samsung even expanded the voice features, with Bixby Voice Unlock making the “Hi Bixby” command work even when the phone is locked. Maybe it’s a regional thing, where Korean users wouldn’t use the voice activation as much. Whatever the reason, the Bixby button has been the ugly wart on the side of the Samsung Galaxy range since its inclusion on the Galaxy S8. Maybe it’s time to freeze it off.
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Editor’s Note: This post was updated on 3/1 with a guide on how to remap the Bixby button.