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Samsung Doesn’t Want You Remapping the Galaxy S8’s Bixby Button It Seems

galaxy s8

Forget about remapping the Bixby button on your new Galaxy S8 for the time being. First reported by XDA and now confirmed by Samsung’s PR Manager in the US, Philip Berne, the “behavior” that initially allowed users to change the button’s action through a 3rd party app has been changed. 

The developer behind Button Mapper was in the process of updating his app to take advantage of the Bixby button when the phone launches later this week and noticed that after a recent software update to his Galaxy S8, that the app no longer works. Apparently, Samsung tweaked the way the button interacts with the phone’s Accessibility Services on a system level. In other words, Samsung killed the ability for you and I to customize the Bixby button.

There is still a chance that root access on the Galaxy S8 will provide a way to remap this button, but for now, stock users will have to use Bixby.

Through a couple of Tweets, Berne said that they aren’t ready to officially support the remapping of the button. Will they ever? He didn’t shut the door on that idea, only that they aren’t at this time.

I would just hope – and we can’t check because Samsung hasn’t sent us review units in years – that a user could at least disable Bixby if they don’t want to use it. We’ll find out soon enough if Bixby will be worth using, but you have to imagine situations where someone may not want an extra press-able button on their phone. And that’s not me suggesting that Bixby will be bad. I’m talking about things like accidental presses where Bixby pops up at times where you would rather it not.

If something changes on this front, we’ll be sure to let you know!

Via: XDA | @philipberne
  • New_Guy

    UPDATE: bxActions works again. A workaround has the short click available somehow.

  • Ralph Macchio

    There’s a lot of people on this board that need midol, a lude, or maybe just a swift kick in the ass. Chill the hell out. You have no idea whether Bixby will be good or bad. The phone isn’t even released yet. Give devs some time. You’ve known about the bixby button for 6 months. You’ve known abouot the possibility of remapping it for a week. If you don’t want it, get a damn G6.

    • Defenestratus

      You’re correct – we don’t know if Bixby will be quality or not. All we can go on is what we’ve seen of it so far, and what Samsung’s prior “google service replacement” offerings have delivered.

      To say that most people are not optimistic is an understatement – but you are correct to say that past performance is no indication of future results.

  • NexusMan

    Not that I planned on getting this phone, but that’s why sometimes I almost wish these sites wouldn’t blow up information like that remapping app working before these devices are even released.

  • ROB

    Now if I could just get 7.0 on my unlocked S7…

  • Danajharris

    Managing director of Google!, is explaining to users to start off “Work at home” method, that People have been doing for about one year now. These days alone, I generated close to $36,000 until now with no more than my home computer as well as some spare time, despite that i have a fulltime 9 to 5 job. Even everyone not used to this, can make $89/per h easily and the earnings can go even higher over time… This is how i started
    !wr75c:
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  • Droid 1967

    the remappping thing is not a big deal to me, as i wouldnt buy a samsung p[hone anyways but i do purchase many other samsung products.. well i did i have sent to 10 different ways, and i would ask you all do so too in regards to https://twitter.com/philipberne/status/854020503908089862 . I wont be purchasing any samsung product if that is what they support as an associate of their company.

  • theswillmerchant

    Samsung makes a decision that is bad for the consumer? I’m sooooo shocked!

    Seriously, stop giving these idiots money.

  • Live2Rootz

    All these bixby button crybabies are just pure comedy. Get over yourselves seriously. HA.

  • Daistaar

    Reminds me of the HTC First with the dedicated FaceBook button because that turned out so well. Granted, the unmappable button won’t fare anywhere near as badly in this instance.

  • yummy

    Durn I went ahead and got that big BIXBY tatoo in a private area, now I cant remap? What!!!!???

  • trixnkix637

    Samsung is the Apple of the Android world.

  • dblock

    I’ll wait and see if the update hasn’t been pushed to the phones yet and just continue to defer it if it has not been, and revel in the ability to remap the button. Won’t take any updates until it is an important update, or if they retract this stupid stance and bring back the ability to remap the button, official or otherwise, with another update. Hopefully the backlash changes Samsung’s mind, but I am thinking it won’t since the backlash is coming from a small number of people.

    Needless to say, if the update has already been applied out of the box and I am unable to remap the button, might just have to return it and wait for the next best thing. I am a man of principle and Samsung deliberately removing the ability to remap the button just doesn’t sit well with me.

  • QLR

    Am I the only person who does not care for these “assistants”? I shut off that new Google Assistant on my Note 5 and changed the language to kill it on the Nexus. I don’t want to talk to my phone.

  • Chippah

    After the Note 7 Fiasco they hire a professional dick head to respond to customers faithful to the brand after all those fires?

  • tu3218

    This sucks…on a side note for those upgrading, is it ideal to use the sim card that comes with the phone? I planned on just putting my current sim into my new s8 but didn’t know if newer sims offer up better signal or anything. Any thoughts?

    • Defenestratus

      The SIM makes no difference whatsoever in the reliability of your signal.

  • JoeInMO

    Well so much for buying the S8. I’m not going to be held hostage by a proprietary “assistant” that doesn’t even work at the present time. So Samsung apparently want’s me to buy a G6 instead. So be it.

    • KleenDroid

      I wonder if we will be able to freeze Bixby along with the 120 other processes with Disabler Pro.

  • Genkidama

    Samsung and AOSP. One could only wish

  • Orion

    Samsung, I’m giving you a chance this year and now you’re f’n this up! Smh

    • Tom Ireland

      Same here. I had a Sam S3, but switched to the LG G2, then G3, and just preordered an S8+ over the G6…but now I think I am going to cancel that order, or return (and the damn case from Amazon), and just roll with the G6. Took a long look at the phones last Friday at BB, decided to change it up and go with the Samsung. Screen looked great, was a little concerned about the FP sensor placement, durability and potential TW jank that can come along. I figured I could remap or disable if the button became a concern. Now that is gone. The S8 is definitely a nice looking phone, but the G6 might just fit the bill now.

  • cdm283813
    • Tom Ireland

      I was thinking I might just ride it out, see if I could still remap after the device is delivered. But then I actually read some of the tweets from this Philip Berne PR guy from Samsung. They actually have THAT guy as a US PR rep. Very much an admitted smart ass, and that comes out crystal clear in his tweets. WTH Samsung?

  • illregal

    BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Alan Goldman

    I wonder if negative feedback like this can get them to reconsider. What do they care if a bunch of techies want to remap the button. My concern is that just messing with the demos units at Best Buy I ended up hitting the button by accident several times.

    • hkklife

      I have several multi-button (gaming & otherwise) mice. The first thing I do is remove all functionality from unnecessary thumb scroll wheels, side buttons etc. I just want my 2 primary buttons and a clickable wheel. Everything else is just an accidental press waiting to happen.

      I would be ecstatic to be able to remap the Bixby button to Google Assistant (native functionality or otherwise) or just do like the old Moto Smart buttons and remap it to, say, the camera or the launcher.

  • BizGizWiz

    How is this any different than the Windows/Internet Explorer issue that was found to be non-competitive and illegal? And what if you don’t agree to the Bixby TOS? Will that turn off the feature?

    • Defenestratus

      If Samsung was being dicks, they’d just disable the whole phone until you agreed to use Bixby.

  • MichaelFranz

    so funny how things work here…..
    Samsung annoucement/hype post = all praise samsung
    Samsung negative post/post like this that takes away from what some want = BURN BURN BURN SAMSUNG BOOOOO!!!!

  • DavidB23

    Fail. I will not be buying a phone that has a button that I will never use since it cant be mapped to something useful. Samsung: Wake up. Just make good hardware, stop with these useless, anoying applications! I’ll be waiting for the Pixel 2.

    • mrochester

      I don’t think Samsung wants to just be a box maker; there’s very little money or ambition in that. They want to compete with Apple.

  • Defenestratus

    I’m upset about this, but I’ll be ok with if its disable-able.

    • Mike

      Supposedly, it is not.

      • Defenestratus

        Not. Happy.

        • Mike

          As someone who’s not even upgrading to the phone I’m not happy, I woild definitely be in the market for the S9 next year but not if I’m going to be forced into the Bixby camp.

  • needa

    Ouch!

  • disastrousrainbow

    According to The Verge:

    “I noticed that you can turn off the Bixby pane to the left of your home screen — but there’s no way to completely disable Bixby on the device. Pushing the button always takes you to that same screen.”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/050dcb9dfb599a1c510b8da50e734ca4f151a95baf7a744f0adc708962ec0dcf.jpg

  • MadJoe

    I wasn’t very interested in the S8 to begin with, since I’m more interested in the Note 8, but this move killed any and all hope of me even “settling” on the S8 if the Note 8 turns out to not be worth the upgrade.

    • DavidB23

      They will put useless Bixby on the Note 8 also. Samsung; Shame…. Shame…. Shame

      • MadJoe

        I understand that, and it is a concern, but the S-Pen is far too useful for me to ignore. Others have tried to imitate it, but no one has come close.

  • NeilGeorge

    Not a showstopper for me..

    • Blacklight: Retribution

      for me neither. still getting the Galaxy S8 Plus.

  • M3D1T8R

    Welp, won’t be buying an S8 now, or ever.

    Samsung: One step forward, two steps backward.

    They finally get rid of the physical home button and allow putting the buttons in the correct order, but..
    Force redundant apps onto us, and force this new physical button to NOT be whatever​ we want it to be. Because, copying Apple, they surely know what is best for us, better than we do.

  • cdm283813

    Pre-order is being cancelled. Screw you Samsung!

    • Orlando aka Pixel XL

      Same, I might cancel now…I don’t want to use something, stop forcing it on me.

    • MichaelFranz

      i won’t lie, thats a pretty stupid reason to cancel. thats just my opinion, you are entitiled to yours

      • chaoslimits

        It’s pretty stupid to support a phone company that won’t let you do as you please with your phone. That’s just my opinion, you’re entitled to yours.

        • MichaelFranz

          thats like saying you won’t support a phone company because they won’t let you root and unlock your bootloader

          you haven’t been able to remap hardware buttons before, why is this now a big deal. Don’t like bixby, disable it

          • cdm283813

            The only other Samsung phone that had a dedicated hardware button outside of the vol up, vol down and power button was the S4 Galaxy Zoom. Considering that it was a camera with phone functionality I give it a pass for having a dedicated camera button. The only other phones were the active series but those were hardware based nav buttons.

          • chaoslimits

            You can’t disable it. And yeah I wouldn’t buy a phone I can’t root.

      • Tom Ireland

        I’m actually considering cancelling my preorder as well (S8+). I was looking forward to mapping that button to something useful, or I guess just disabling, but now I’m feeling like Samsung is forcing Bixby on users.

        • MichaelFranz

          of course they are. If they spend $$$ in R&D and fine tuning it and seeing the success of GA and Alexa why woudlnt they market their own. Watch i bet they even have a home like device soon too if bixby works out the way they want it to. I have no issues using it if it all works the same. At the end of the day its a gimmick anyway, just at this point its who’s is more useful on a phone

      • cdm283813

        I don’t believe that Samsung should add yet another stupid assistant to one that’s already present. And to add a hardware based button mapped directly to it insults my intelligence. Not even Apple has a hardware based Siri button. And with no chance of root on the Verizon model I’m not going to stare at a useless spam button.

        • MichaelFranz

          actually they do, you press and hold home to launch siri. since there is no physical home button on the device they made another. I just think it’s silly to cancel because you can’t do what you want. no phone does that without root.

          • cdm283813

            Yes but you can turn Siri off and the home button doubles for Siri; it’s not a dedicated Siri button in that it’s only function is Sira. Samsung is forcing this crap down our throats so screw them.

  • Turb0wned

    Bixby might end up being terrible, or maybe not.. Why don’t people at least give it a chance. And by a chance I mean a fair chance, not I used it at the store for 5 minutes and it sucked.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      How about Samsung not force features on people with dedicated buttons? This doesn’t really have anything to do with Bixby. It’s forcing a actual hardware button for a non essential feature.

      • MadMartigan

        “non essential”

        Your definition and theirs are likely vastly different on this issue. 🙂

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Doesn’t really matter what they think. If it isn’t a Volume or Power Button it’s non essential.

          • MadMartigan

            Heh…

            It’s all about perspective. To them, it really doesn’t matter what you think. 🙂

            (or what I think, for that matter – I’m still considering one, but between the QC 2.0-ish charging, Android 7.0(!!!), and now this, they are really trying to turn me away. Haven’t had a Galaxy since the S2 and now it looks like that trend may continue.)

    • Tom Ireland

      Well, considering the voice interface will not be available until sometime after they typical return window….

      • MadMartigan

        Bingo.

    • Scott Webber

      Because the world doesn’t need Bixby. Because every company doesn’t have to compete with every other company on ecosystem. If Samsung phones were focused on making the nicest hardware with added features that made customers’ lives better, I would love it. Instead, they make Samsung Calendar. Samsung App Store. Samsung Dialer. Samsung Calculator. Bixby, S-Voice. In almost every one of these instances, the thing they offer is a waste of effort. In many cases the experiences are notably worse. When you try to save a contact on a Samsung phone, why does it ask you where you want to save it to?
      Nobody cares, they just don’t want to lose their contact. But the choice people make is often the wrong one. So when they get a new device, they do lose their contact.

      All this duplication and complication gives Android a bad name. And in the end, all of these services fail.

      Imagine how great the world would be if you could get an iPhone and ACTUALLY choose which browser to use on it? And you could get an Android phone but use the Apple Watch with it if you chose? What if you could use any bluetooth device like an Android Wear watch to unlock your mac desktop? Are these things possible? Yes. What stops us from having them? Greed and ego.

      • dblock

        Prettttty sure AOSP and Google contact apps still ask you where you want to save new contacts, whether it be to one of your linked Google accounts or locally on the device. I still think OEM apps are crap, but your defense as to why is just not a very good one, haha.

  • youdoneyo69

    Easiest way to not have to deal with this BS… Don’t buy their products!

  • Synacks

    They should’ve waited to announce the ability to do this until launch day. Then at least the few of us that had the phone already could’ve had it for a week and just not take any OTA’s at that point.

  • BobButtons

    “for you and ‘me’ to customize the Bixby button”

  • Jay Quir

    This is why we can’t have nice things…

  • Larry Bublitz

    Awwww, poop. That may make me wait on the S8. The only thing i wasn’t digging up to now was the fingerprinter reader placement (I’m lefthanded), and now this. I’ll try them for a while and see I guess. Don’t really want to wait 6months for more flagships.

  • DanSan

    can this be avoided by not taking the OTA update? if so, that would be an easy way to get around it

    • JSo

      You’re going to buy a brand new phone and never take an update?

      • DanSan

        Its Samsung, my updates will be few and far between. I don’t see it being a huge drawback

    • MadJoe

      How long would you really want to keep it as you had to skip security update after security update because you didn’t want to lose the ability to map the button? Avoiding updates is a short term solution, but the long term is much more important. I won’t be buying an S8 it seems. At least not right away, who knows when the price plummets and they’re giving them away BOGO in 3-6 months because they can’t sell them.

  • JSo

    It’s understandable that they want to get people to use their new feature. I’m sure if it does bad, they will let it be remapped down the road.

    • MadJoe

      Nope. When was the last time Samsung admitted they made a mistake? History tells us they’ll hold that button hostage to Bixby until the absolute bitter end of existence. No matter how bad it is, or how much people hate it, they will not stop “patching” workarounds, nor ever allow users to select what that button does. You can bank on that.

  • paul_cus

    Doesn’t shock me at all. Samsung didn’t put another physical button on the phone just for people to remap it.

  • vonedaddy

    Unfortunately this is a show stopper for me. I will probably just sit back and wait for the Pixel 2.

    • Stabby McKnifington

      I agree. It’s not that I don’t want to try Bixby. But for them to put an extra physical hardware button on there and say it must be used for something seems dumb.

      Maybe someone wants to map it to camera, or email, or quick dial?

      • steadymobb

        Not to mention, not have it fully work for launch!

    • frank brackett

      I may also wait for Pixel 2.

  • brian.

    Great. A button you accidentally press to get something you don’t want.

  • Futbolrunner

    “..we can’t check because Samsung hasn’t sent us review units in years..”

    Stop taking collecting that Moto money! 💰💰

    • ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      • Lucky Armpit

        So how do you guys do the reviews? Assuming you guys buy one retail? That sucks they don’t provide you review units.

        • Buy ’em just like you guys. Wish would could get an explanation why, but they refuse to tell us why we got sliced from the list a few years back.

          Wasn’t the biggest deal, until they also seem to have told T-Mobile to stop shipping them early. Now, a site with over a million unique visitors per month and that has been doing this for 7 years, can’t even review the biggest phones on the planet before our readers have a chance to buy them. Sucks for all involved.

          • DanSan

            Yet there are people making drop test videos, destroying them on youtube and you guys cant one to actually use. Samsung must really be throwing shade your way

          • Eh, it’s not just us. While I don’t know how the drop test, destroy-all-the-things guys on Youtube have multiple units to destroy (don’t think those are from Samsung), there are a bunch of other tech sites (Android in particular) that seem to be off the list with us. Samsung tightened up a few years ago and is basically as selective as Apple is I think.

            Maybe some day we’ll be worthy again. Or maybe we should start vlogging and drop testing. That seems to be the coolness.

          • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

            Making bank over here…I think I need some dividends.

          • Lucky Armpit

            1M unique visitors is pretty impressive. That’s why I’m not understanding why the weirdos that do video drop test and smash tests and other stupid things that are not helpful *at all*, yet a site like this that actually produces useful information can’t get a review unit. Makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Keith Taylor

    I usually dont upgrade for about every three years so by time the S9 comes out the button will be history.

  • liquidamber5

    Bastards. lol…

  • Kyle

    I’d be happy to just be able to turn the button off. Sure, remapping would be great, but I just don’t want to hit the button in the middle of an app and have it take over.

    • My thought as well. If I can’t remap it, I’d probably rather just turn it off should it not be a feature I want.

      • Kyle

        Exactly. I’m pretty well bought in to the whole Google world, so Bixby isn’t all that appealing to me. I hope there is option to Opt out or not opt in. I don’t need ANOTHER thing collecting all of my phones doings. I give plenty to our Google Overlords.

    • Lucky Armpit

      Exactly. Thinking that you’ve got the “Yes, I’m in” option when initially setting up the phone whether you want to activate Bixby or not.

      But here’s another question… assuming all those preorder S8s are sitting in boxes turned off right now at this very moment… how long have they been sitting? Did they get the update before being packed? Or is that an update we’ll get the moment we turn the phone on? Just curious if it were possible to defer it?

  • mcdonsco

    Leave it up to Samsung to do something stupid then reinforce that stupid decision in spite of consumer choices.

  • RyanT

    Figured this would happen. Samsung doesn’t want to risk Bixby failing right out of the gate. Also the reason why I’m not a fan of their devices, they spend too much time trying to tell me how to use my device than letting me just use it. Like Apple.

    • DonSerrot

      I’ve long felt that Samsung was the Apple of the Android ecosystem in all the worst ways.

      • youdoneyo69

        I tell everybody that asked me why I dislike Samsung that they are the Apple of Android

        • meh…

          Same here! While I use an iPhone, and soon a BlackBerry KEYone, I expect that out of iOS. On Android, I want it to be open and for me to decide how I use it.

      • JSo

        And it’s not just the company. It’s the people that use them too. All they think of when they hear Android is Samsung. And they think they are the best phones available.

        • Blacklight: Retribution

          Samsung do make the best Android smartphones though. LG makes bootloop infested smartphones (LG G series) and smartphones where their power buttons stop working (LG Optimus G).

          • JSo

            I agree, their phones have gotten a lot better over the years. But TouchWiz has never been the best. I’ve always had Nexus phones and have always had people boast about how their samsung phone is better. When in reality, they probably don’t know they can change the default apps to something better.

    • T4rd

      Indeed, and rooting isn’t even an option for the US models. One of the biggest reasons I won’t consider one, esp. when you consider they consistently break their phones through software updates.

    • DavidB23

      Bixby is already failed right out of the gate. The phone is being shipped with the voice interface turned off!

      • PuttsMoBilesiCit

        Ouch. Big if true.

    • reyalP

      I bet Samsung’s long term goal is to push away Android and become more like Apple in developing their entire ecosystem.

      • RyanT

        Sure, I think Tizen and all their duplicate apps show that they really wish they didn’t have to use Android or depend on Google for the OS, but Samsung is so bad at software that if they ever ditched Android it would be a complete mess. So I think their more realistic goal is something they’re already fairly successful at, and that’s making people equate Android with Samsung.

        • meh…

          I liked Tizen because it was actually backed by the Linux Foundation. The fact that Samsung has managed to make it worse is the problem. Samsung doesn’t know how to develop software, how to seed updates on a platform they don’t even own, and how to make their own hardware run well.

  • Drew

    Had a feeling this was going to happen, Samsung spent too much money on Bixby to let people remap the button. Wouldn’t be surprised if you can’t disable it either.

    • GiantJay

      I totally get the thinking of them not allowing this but who besides us is even going to do this, or know how to do this. Frustrating but at least Assistant is still accessible through the home button or shortcut.

    • Kevin Bacon

      I love how I cannot use the device I bought with my own money the way I would like to use it.

      • Danmheadache

        Then just buy the Pixel phone.

        • saimin

          Yup. Samsung is essentially telling the tinkerer community their business is not welcome. This is the same attitude that Apple has. Fortunately, there are other manufacturers out there and I expect there will be other interesting phones on the market this year.

      • Daistaar

        Technically, you’re purchasing the hardware and can do whatever you like to it. The software however is licensed to you with the understanding that you can use it but can’t change it. Aren’t EULA’s grand? /s

    • Danajharris

      Managing director of Google!, is explaining to users to start off “Work at home” method, that People have been doing for about one year now. These days alone, I generated close to $36,000 until now with no more than my home computer as well as some spare time, despite that i have a fulltime 9 to 5 job. Even everyone not used to this, can make $89/per h easily and the earnings can go even higher over time… This is how i started
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    • Caroljdouglas

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    • New_Guy

      UPDATE: bxActions works again. A workaround has the short click available somehow.