Samsung has a legitimate reason to block Bixby button remapping, whether we like it or not

Home / News / Samsung has a legitimate reason to block Bixby button remapping, whether we like it or not

Most folks agree that the dedicated key for Bixby on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ is a nuisance. It’s not a nuisance because it gets in the way; well, it is, but the bigger reason is that at this point, Bixby doesn’t do anything useful for the vast majority of Galaxy S8 and S8+ owners. Ever since Samsung’s latest flagships were launched, many users have looked for a way to remap the Bixby button’s purpose to launching another application.

Quite a few apps allowing one to do so have cropped up on the Play Store, and Samsung has been trying its best to block the possibility of remapping the Bixby button. It’s something people don’t agree with, but I feel we should also look at the fact that Samsung has a legitimate reason to stop users from changing the purpose of the Bixby button.

Actually, there are a couple of reasons, but the biggest reason is that without that button firing up Bixby (even if it happens when we press the key accidentally, which happens all too often), Samsung has no way of making sure Bixby becomes a part of its consumers’ daily lives. An icon on the home screen won’t do it, and the home button is out of reach as Google mandates that a long press of the home button on every Android device should fire up Google Now, the search giant’s personal assistant.

Apple’s Siri has become synonymous with iPhones and iPads because long pressing the home button on an iPhone or iPad fires up Siri, ensuring that the service is always at the, well, service of the user. Apple does offer a way to completely turn off Siri, but there is no way to reassign the task of long pressing the home button on an iPhone to do anything else. Many users never venture into the device’s settings to turn such features off, which means Siri continues to be at the beck and call of users through the primary way of interaction on iOS devices.

The second important reason I believe Samsung needs to keep the Bixby button doing what it’s meant to be doing is to keep reminding users that it exists, something that will come in handy down the line when the company has developed and enabled voice commands for users outside South Korea. It’s taking time, but if you have seen videos of Bixby’s voice assistant in action, you have seen how handy it can be when you really must get things done on your Galaxy device using your voice.

Bixby can pretty much do everything that you can do by touch, something neither Google Now or Siri are capable of doing. It’s an important feature that Samsung will be pushing to its users in the coming months and years, but would it be of much use if people end up disabling the Bixby button and, therefore, rarely see Bixby on their devices?

Like others, I agree that right now, the Bixby button is a nuisance that gets in the way more often than anyone would like. Remapping it to do something else would be extremely useful, and there are still apps that let you repurpose that button to your requirement despite Samsung’s constant attemps to block these apps.

But let’s face it: Allowing users to do as they please with Bixby’s dedicated key isn’t in Samsung’s best interests, as there aren’t exactly a whole lot of ways that the company could make Bixby a regular part of our lives without that dedicated key. The Bixby key is here to stay, it’s here to get in the way when it can, and hopefully, it will make our lives better once Samsung figures how to get its voice functionality working for folks outside South Korea.

Good thing you can disable Bixby (and many other Samsung apps and services) using a couple of apps found on the Play Store, no root required.

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30 Comments

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Linkeddevices
2 months 13 days ago
Linkeddevices
why are you guys lying about this? this is supposed to be a Samsung fan site. I really hope you’re just caught in the echo chamber and are not doing it on purpose. Samsung didnt update the Bixby key “to block remapping” at all. they updated it to activate the custom Bixby voice key interface that allows the key to work better than the standard android key interface. The button works like a walkie talkie button. you press and it immediately begins listening then release and it executes the command. this allows it to be much more reliable because it… Read more »
MortTheBeast
3 months 19 days ago
MortTheBeast

I have 2 issues with Bixby… 1) If a company wants to come out with things like this, don’t jam it down everyone’s throat… it will never ever end well. 2) There was no need for a button when you can use voice to enable it.

Linkeddevices
2 months 13 days ago
Linkeddevices
the reason why they’re spreading the myth that Samsung updated the key “just to block remapping” is to attack the coolest thing about Bixby. The update broke remappers because a special key interface was introduced that works way better than the standard quick press versus long press android has available. The bixby key works like a walkie talkie or more specifically a roku remote because it has to work even in a noisy room. You press and it immediately begins to listen, speak, then release and it immediately activates the command without having to detect a silence. this special key… Read more »
tonynas
3 months 28 days ago
tonynas

now really i want to change my phone to ios i have s8 plus and i was looking forward for bixby voice and its not working what the shit and battery not good at all so bye bye samsung i will never buy any samsung phone

azayzel
3 months 29 days ago
azayzel

“Samsung has no way of making sure Bixby becomes a part of its consumers’ daily lives.”

I can assure you, Bixby will never be part of my daily life. Ever! Bixby is an absolute waste of space. It is a completely and utterly useless feature. Samsung should be downright ashamed of themselves for producing such garbage. The crack addicted idiotic monkeys in charge of the feeble minded brain trust that put forth and implemented the substandard worthless trash that is Bixby should be fired.

Linkeddevices
2 months 13 days ago
Linkeddevices
how does it feel being manipulated into hating something just because it could compromise Google’s power grab over android? The claim that the update was “just to block remapping” is a lie just like the myth that “Knox is just a way to prevent rooting and modding, it relies on keeping people in the dark about what the feature really is and discouraging them from approaching it with an open mind. Knox requires a tamper proof seal for PCI compliance so that s pay can work with magnetic strip card readers and also for HIPAA compliance so that s health… Read more »
3 months 30 days ago
Hannu Tuunanen

Just like the text says, Google is forcing ALL ANDROID DEVICES to launch Google now when longpressing the home button, and no one complains? Well I don’t want to use Google now and would rather let samsung to add the long press to home button. But see, Google ruined it.

nino77ns
4 months 5 hours ago
nino77ns

And when the button is working, again, not all users will get in their own language, so for most this is useless, why someone should have English, for example, when you go to another country, people speak their own language, rarely Will speak English, which is clear, so this button is completely useless, it only brings sweep, just like google, why should I, as a user, be important to me at home button ??? It’s totally useless, if I need a bug, I’ll open it myself, and not somebody will pick up something I do not want

breezerke
4 months 1 day ago
breezerke

Bixby can not win from others because the launch is a drama and only for a few persons

o0MHJ0o
4 months 1 day ago
o0MHJ0o

I can’t possibly be the only one who rarely accidentally presses the Bixby button, I did it a couple of times when I first got the phone, but a week in, I’ve pressed it like twice accidentally in the following months. it is not such a big offense

primakut
4 months 2 days ago
primakut

I love google, it always work best for me. I have no idea, why I should use a identical service to google now, what is yet not delivered, and wich never will work in hungarian. But the additional button would be nice.

VIRGIN KLM
4 months 2 days ago
VIRGIN KLM
No no no and again no. Until Samsung makes sure that Bixby is available for all markets and languages for their respective markets they can’t have the first and the last word on it. I mean their mentality of “let’s just put that button here and dedicate it for our bloatware that we won’t have ready even a long time after the release so we can care about it later” is nonsense. If you don’t intend to have the service available at launch for all countries and languages that you are going to release your device JUST DON’T PUT THE… Read more »
naranova7
4 months 3 days ago
naranova7

Thankfully the hacker community will let users use their expensive devices as they please. The act of not only dedicating a button to it but also making it hard to use the button for other purposes makes it look like a voice assistant is like the most important and useful feature a phone can offer, while in fact they’re simply not at all. Voice assistants have a long way to go before becoming even useful.
Besides how is it logical to speak out loud whatever it is that you need your phone to do all the time?

friss
4 months 3 days ago
friss
First of all, I don’t want Bixby to be part of my life. Samsung software is already very bloated yet now even more bloated than ever, they are trying so hard to bypass Google, having big dream. Look at just how pathetic the SD835 variant RAM management comparing to other OEMs SD835 devices, Exynos wise is still barely manageable. The problem is we already have Google Now, why create something that is trying so hard to replace Google own assistant living inside Google own Android operating system? It’s a nuisance, the phone is ours so at least give the users… Read more »
eigaras
4 months 4 days ago
eigaras

For me it will always be a nuisance.. I don’t want an assistant and it’s voice functions will never work for me even if they finally fix it for english speaking users so i would rather have that button do something else or disable it alltogether.

billywongwashere
4 months 4 days ago
billywongwashere

It’s Samsung pay all over again, half baked idea wanting to get early to the market because Apple iPhone has. It’s called play catch up.

The crappy button is the worst thing on the s8. Even if it worked a lot of people will still not use it

n900mixalot
4 months 2 days ago
n900mixalot

Samsung Pay was never a half-baked idea. It’s probably their BEST idea and best executed, aside from sAMOLED and the S-Pen. Poor example.

krym73
4 months 4 days ago
krym73

I love Samsung pay, how is it half naked much better than Apple pay

Hardman91
4 months 4 days ago
Hardman91
“… and the home button is out of reach as Google mandates that a long press of the home button on every Android device should fire up Google Now, the search giant’s personal assistant.” I disagree. Long pressing the home button can be remapped to any assistance app. Bixby is an alternative to Google Now & it makes no sense to have 2 hardware buttons for 2 similar apps. You will need to choose either of them to be your ‘Device assistance app’. I use Tasker as my assistant app so as to launch tasks by long pressing home button… Read more »
Mario387
4 months 4 days ago
Mario387
I disagree. If they had wanted to have us use that button for Bixby, they should have had that ready and going and working the moment they sold us the phone with that button. Not half a year to a year later. Also if their future product is “that good”, they would not need to force it down our throats by blocking any other use of that button. Hell they should be saying we are confident enough that you will like our Bixby so much, that you will want it on that button! but sure if you want something else… Read more »
Shenoysiddhant
4 months 4 days ago
Shenoysiddhant

It would also be nice if they could provide a sliding button for silent and ringer thing just like the one plus or iphone

monospace
4 months 4 days ago
monospace

“home button is out of reach as Google mandates that a long press of the home button on every Android device should fire up Google Now”

Actually the home button long tap is customizable in Settings > Apps > Default apps > Device assistant app, you can set other assistants than Google’s.

jpd514
4 months 4 days ago
jpd514

Tanks for the info. I can now get rid of this annoying Google Now.

Michollstad
4 months 4 days ago
Michollstad

Totally agree. This is Samsung’s assistant and the hardware button for Bixby is going nowhere. Out of Korea I hear only praise for Bixby. Hopefully they’ll knock it out of the park! I live in Europe so I don’t have Google Assistant on my S8+

cavagsam
4 months 4 days ago
cavagsam

Bixby button is long gone already, its disable.
I don’t use any bixby crap.
I really prefer that Samsung launch a update with a option to change bixby button to câmera button, im pretty sure that i will use it more than for bixby.

LeifS
4 months 4 days ago
LeifS
I think there is a 3rd possible reason – performance / stability / security. Those apps to remap the button use a very nasty workaround to be abke ti do what they do (which also requires quiet powerful permissions). I’ve already had a friend who complained about the phone being slow and less responsive than a flagship should be. What was the cause of the problem? A Bixby button remap app the person just installed because of an article he read in a print magazine. If such people run into custom service centers or send their phones in because they… Read more »
Linkeddevices
2 months 13 days ago
Linkeddevices
it’s a lie. the reason why the update broke compatibility was because bixby voice was introduced along with its custom key interface. it works like no standards android key but instead imitates a walkie talkie button. you press speak then release and it immediately executes the command. it eliminates the need for the voice recognition to detect a silence a yet you speak so that it’s much quicker, more reliable and even works in noisy rooms or with your TV or radio blaring. The reason why the key had to be hard-coded to Bixby voice is because the custom interface… Read more »
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