Last Updated on March 29, 2019 by Larious
Samsung launched its latest flagships, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ to a lot of fanfare. The hype was well deserved, considering that Samsung had went all-in on minimal bezels, and a gorgeous edge to edge display. Among other new things, one of the features that was met with widespread skepticism was the dedicated Bixby button on the side of the phone. Users all around the world felt like this was yet another Google feature that Samsung had unnecessarily replicated, and then provided a dedicated hardware button for. Plus, with Bixby being crippled at launch, thanks to voice support not being available, it’s only natural that you may want to stick with using Google Now. So, if you want to use Google Now instead of Bixby, here is how to remap the Galaxy S8’s Bixby button to Google Now:
Remapping the Bixby Button
1. A Brief History of Remapping the Bixby Button
Naturally, there have been many developments when it comes to remapping the Bixby button. Partly because no one was really excited about Bixby, and partly because well, it’s a hardware button that can be used for potentially anything you want to quickly access on your phone. Developers were quick to figure out a way to remap the Bixby button to almost anything you want your device to do.
However, Samsung pulled an Apple, and quickly pushed a software update that broke the workaround developers had been using to remap the Bixby button to other actions.
2. Remap Bixby Button to Google Now
Since the software update made the “key up” and “key down” events get swallowed by the OS before reaching Accessibility Services, it broke the solution developers had come up with for remapping the Bixby button. Fortunately, Android developer “Dave Bennett” put together an app that will launch Google Now every time the Bixby button is pressed. Here is how to use it:
- Install the BixRemap app (free) from the Play Store and launch it. The app needs Usage Data Access, and will automatically take you to the Settings page. Just allow Usage Data Access to BixRemap.
- In the main screen, tap on “Start Service”. If you need to use Bixby for some reason, just tap on the “Stop Service” button.
That’s it, you can now try pressing the Bixby button on your Galaxy S8 or S8+, and Google Now will launch instead of Bixby.
The app works by looking for Bixby in the foreground, and launching Google Now over it. Due to this, you may see the Bixby screen for less than a second before it gets replaced by Google Now instead.
Disable the BixRemap Notification
The only drawback to using this app is that it puts a persistent notification on your screen. While the developer has plans to remove the notification from showing up in a future update to the app, you can use the following method to stop the notification as well:
- Go to Settings -> Notifications.
- Here, turn off the toggle next to “BixRemap”.
This will block the notification from BixRemap from showing up in the Notification Shade, until the developer comes out with a more elegant solution.
Feature Updates in BixRemap
One of the many good things about the BixRemap app is that the developer is very active on the Reddit thread dedicated to this app, and is replying to feature requests and improvement suggestions as well. Some of the features that may be added to the BixRemap app in future updates include things like:
- Launch on boot option, so the app remains persistent after a reboot, essentially making the remapping “permanent”, unless explicitly disabled by the user.
- Ability to choose a custom app for the Bixby Button. This will definitely be a great update to the BixRemap app, and will definitely be an amazing feature.
- An option to increase polling time in an attempt to reduce the delay between pressing the button and launching Google Now.
Remap Bixby Button to Google Now with BixRemap
With the BixRemap app, you can easily remap the Bixby Button on your Galaxy S8 and S8+ to launch Google Now instead of Bixby. While the previous method that intercepted the “key up”, “key down” events to assign specific functionality to the Bixby Button has been disabled with the software update that Samsung pushed to all S8 and S8+ devices, this new app will definitely keep working. Plus, with the great feature updates that the developer already has planned, there is no doubt that the app might well become one of the must have apps on your Galaxy S8 or S8+ device.
As always, I’d like to know your thoughts on Samsung blocking the key up/key down method, and whether you think Bixby is worth having a dedicated hardware button for? Also, if you know of any other method that can let users remap the Bixby Button on their S8 and S8+, do let us know about it in the comments section below.