How to customize the Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 – CNET

Samsung‘s new flagship phones, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, ship with its new assistant software, Bixby. But there’s a problem, Bixby isn’t fully functional yet. Bixby Home, sort of like Google Now with cards displaying information relevant to you, and Bixby Vision, a feature that can recognize and search for things you point the camera at, are available. However, Bixby Voice is absent.

Samsung went as far as to dedicate a button to Bixby, located along the left edge of the phone, just beneath the volume rocker. If you’ve been missing a dedicated camera button or would rather the button launch Google Assistant, here’s how you can remap the Bixby button to do nearly anything you want.

How to remap the Bixby button

Taylor Martin/CNET

With fewer and fewer buttons on phones these days, it’s big news when a manufacturer adds a button, especially when that button is tied to another assistant you may never even use.

Tweaking what that button can do, of course, is not out of the question. In fact, it’s quite simple and it doesn’t require rooting your phone or doing anything that might void your warranty.

Currently, there are a handful of applications in Google Play that let you reconfigure what the Bixby button on your Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus does. I tested a few different ones out and settled on two that work really well: bxActions and Bixby Button Remapper.

Start by downloading either of these applications. The first time you open either bxActions or Bixby Button Remapper, you will need to enable it under Settings > Accessibility > Services. Enabling this accessibility setting is necessary for the applications to detect when the Bixby button has been pressed. Both apps state they do not collect usage data.

bxActions

To use bxActions, open the application and tap Remap. Select one of the available actions, such as Google Assistant, Camera, Notification shade, etc. Next, tap App to start the app.

Now, anytime you press the Bixby button, you will be returned home briefly before the action occurs.

Bixby Button Remapper

To set up Bixby Button Remapper, open the app and tap the toggle switch in the top right corner of the app. Next, tap Bixby Button Action and select one of the available actions.

With this app, when you press the Bixby button, Bixby will launch first, close, then the selected action will launch.

A temporary solution

Whether you choose to remap the Bixby button because Bixby isn’t fully functional yet or because you’d rather have a physical camera button, the workaround might not last forever. Samsung has already nixed a similar workaround once earlier this month, due to it “exploiting a system-level behavior.”

In truth, it’s not nearly as nefarious as that sounds. These remapper applications are simply waiting (or listening) for the Bixby button to be pressed or for Bixby to be opened, immediately terminating Bixby, then launching whatever action the user chose instead.

For the time being, we chose to tie the Bixby button to the notification shade, since you can’t swipe down on the home screen to reveal notifications and the fingerprint sensor is just out of comfortable reach.

Check out more Samsung Galaxy S8 tips in our complete guide.


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