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Galaxy S8 Guide: The Pressure Sensitive Home Button is Awesome

galaxy s8 home button

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ do not have Samsung’s standard physical home button. Whether that affects you or not, I could see where long-time Galaxy fans could be disappointed since they’ll have to learn the ways of the on-screen navigation bar. However, the company is doing one cool thing with the virtual home button that should bring everyone bundles of joy. 

The Galaxy S8 has a press-sensitive area at the bottom of its display where the on-screen home button sits. This area allows you constant access home no matter what you are doing. So even if the button isn’t showing (Ex: you are in a full screen app or you have Always-on Display turned off), you can touch the area with a bit of extra pressure (“hard press”) and the phone will return home or wake or even unlock. It’s awesome!

galaxy s8 home button

When or how would you use this?

So far, I’ve found this feature to be most useful from the lock screen or when the phone is locked. I have mine setup to allow the phone to be unlocked with a “hard” press, which is perfect when paired with Smart Lock, so that I never have to reach for that terribly placed fingerprint reader or hope that facial recognition works quickly enough.

Again, you can also use the hard press on the home button when in any full-screen app and the button isn’t showing. All you have to do is hard press the area where the home button would be and it’ll activate. You can even turn off Always-on Display and still hard press the area, even with a fully blacked-out screen.

Like this.

Setting this up

  • In Settings>Display>Navigation Bar I have the option turned “ON” for “Unlocked with Home Button.” This allows me to hard press the home button from the lock screen and fully unlock my phone.

  • Now, you can use the home button to unlock your phone once you enabled the option above without a secure lock screen and enjoy your day. All you need to do now is just press that area and your phone will unlock without swipes or any extra work. However, if you want a secure lock screen to protect you from bad guys, Smart Lock is the next step I would recommend.
  • You’ll now need to pick a secure lock screen option (pattern, PIN, etc.) in Settings>Lock screen and security and enable it. From there, it’s on to Smart Lock.
  • In Settings>Lock screen and security>Smart Lock you’ll find options for setting up Smart Lock trusted places, trusted devices, on-body detection, and trusted voice. Consider setting up home and work trusted places, your cars as trusted devices (via Bluetooth), that sort of thing. That way when you are at the places you visit the most and connected to regular Bluetooth devices, your phone won’t need to be fully locked and you can bypass your secure lock screen temporarily. To learn more about Smart Lock, hit up this series of posts.

With all of that set, you should now be able to simply hard press on the Galaxy S8’s virtual home button to unlock your phone. And trust me, you’ll want to do it. It not only allows you to quickly unlock your phone, but its pressure-sensitive vibration might make you aroused  happy.

This piece is part of our Galaxy S8 Guide, an ongoing segment dedicated to getting the most out of your Samsung Galaxy S8.

  • NexusMan

    How very Apple of them.

  • ASYOUTHIA✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Only time I use the home button us when the S8 is laying in the desk /counter and I don’t have the Active Display on and I need to check the time

  • lara137

    The Samsung Galaxy S8 camera is just a bit better pictures than the iPhone 7 Plus, despite Samsung’s device to make do with just one lens. Apple wins it with selfies.

    Galaxy S8 camera vs iPhone 7 camera

    The new flagship of Samsung will be available from this month in stores, and the back features a 12-megapixel camera. Which is almost identical to the already impressive Galaxy S7 camera last year, but Samsung has some minor improvements made to the software to provide better pictures.


  • Averix

    Love this. It make the loss of the physical button more palatable. The fact that it works nearly anywhere is fantastic.

  • Defenestratus

    I actually hate this damn thing. I’m so used to just pressing the home button that i don’t think about PUSHING the home button.

    Not really a fan and I wish I could turn it off completely so that I just swipe to unlock the phone (with smartlock ofc). Not a big fan of the lockscreen either…

  • Bane✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    So I need to know (for science!). Is this an actual physical button under the screen, or just a trick of limiting an area of the screen to respond to touch even when it’s off? Because that’s the only area of the screen besides notifications that responds to touch when it’s off.

  • ChargedUp

    How can I make it so that I can swipe away from the always on screen? I hate having to hold down the home button!

    • Averix

      Did you know you can double tap any notifications on the always on screen also? Accidentally discovered that today.

  • New_Guy

    100% agree. Setting this up was one of the first things I did when I got through the initial setup.

  • seattle tech

    Please change your wallpaper

  • guest

    Lexus IS…these darn ads must be worth it lol

  • paul_cus

    It’s a really nice touch.

  • disastrousrainbow

    Coming from an iPhone 7, it feels a lot like your standard haptic feedback versus what Apple has done with Force Touch. I was kind of hoping for more of the latter tbh when I heard they were doing this with the home button. It’s probably what I miss the most from the iPhone aside from (you guessed it) stereo speakers. But the software side of things is very nice.

    • cjohn4043

      I agree. I tried an S8 out in Best Buy and heard how awesome the pressure sensitive home button was, but I was left disappointed. Just kinda felt like a standard Android on screen home button to me with some minor aspect of what Apple has done with Force Touch.

      • JSo

        I think it’s less about the feel of it and more about the fact that it’s an actual capacitive button under the screen. Which allows you to press the home button on places like the lock screen. I think everyone is focusing on the vibration feel of it though

    • Turb0wned

      Yeah I like Apple’s force touch much better. Aside from Stereo speakers, iMessage is what I always miss.

      • disastrousrainbow

        Oooh, iForgot about that (sorry), but yes, iMessage too. It STILL boggles my mind that Google hasn’t been able to really replicate it despite their plethora of messaging apps. I’m also missing the way GBoard worked on the iPhone. Like, when I searched for a gif or image, all I had to do was touch the image or gif and it was copied. Then when I’d paste it in the message field, it was the actual gif or image that was pasted. When I do it on the S8, Gboard copies the actual link, so when I paste it in the message field it says “Google Image Result: (gigantic link here),” not the actual image or gif itself. It’s a small annoyance, but still surprising considering I’m using the damn keyboard on the actual Google OS…

    • Me

      Those were 2 of the main reasons I bought the 7. 3rd being no bloat

    • ndog21

      Same here. The only things I miss from my iPhone 7 are iMessage, 3D touch and the stereo speakers.

  • MichaelFranz

    I will say that the fingerprint reader was initially a pain to use but after setting up smart lock and home to unlock and also face recgonition i rarely use it, maybe if im coming out of pocket with it. Im already used to the position and it hasnt bothered me one bit. That said, given all the security options and biometric options to make this easier when you possess the device on you it has been a pleasure using. it seem like Samsung made the necessary workarounds in case the fingerprint sensor location wasn’t going to be a hit.

  • 2001400ex

    If only that home button doubled as a fingerprint reader.

  • JSo

    The on screen nav buttons are the main reason I am actually thinking of getting this as weird as that may sound. If it had physical buttons still, I wouldn’t even consider it an option.

    • Suicide_Note

      Same here, which is why I’m salivating over the rumored specs for the Note 8, which include a 6.4″ screen and dual-lens camera, for starters.

      • JSo

        Are there any rumors to when that might be coming out?

        • BSweetness

          Nothing concrete, but likely August/September as has become the norm for the Note line.

          • JSo

            In that case, I think my plan will be get the S8 through T-Mobile. Keep my Nexus 5X to get my Stock fix. And then JUMP to the Note 8 if I end up liking the S8 or (crossing my fingers on this) JUMP to the Next Pixel if Google decides to let it be sold through more carriers this year. I think I have made up my mind. lol

        • Suicide_Note

          I’ve only heard the usual late summer/early fall timeframe. I have no idea how accurate that is, however.

          What i do know is that it’s going to be either a Pixel XL 2 or Note 8 for me when Fall comes ’round this year. 🙂

          • jimt

            What about a Pixel XXL 2? Hopefully with dual front facing speakers.

          • Suicide_Note

            I’m hoping that’s what they do, because that would be great.

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    • ASYOUTHIA✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      On screen buttons are awesome. I am genuinely surprised that Sammy lets you flip the recent and back buttons around.

      The FPS on the back takes an hour to get used to and the rest is muscle memory and you hit it and not the camera every time

  • Terrance Steiner

    I don’t know why you are so excited. We all know Apple won’t invent a virtual home button until next year.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      You’ll see it in the fall.

  • Jayson Philbeck

    The Pixel XL has been by far the best phone I have ever used. The past 6 months have been the most content 6 months I have ever had with a smart phone. However, while initially dismissing the Galaxy S8/S8+, the more videos I watch, the more I am beginning to think that this is THE phone. The software looks amazing, the screen/bezel ratio looks way more modern, etc. I have had this thought before — I had a GS7E last year and got rid of it about a month later. But for some reason….is this the year for Samsung to win over the “Google/Pixel” followers?

    • Suicide_Note

      I’m having the same thoughts, only with the Note 8 in place of the S8+.

      • MichaelFranz

        Note 8 is going to be a beast, no denying it. I just don’t know if it would be worth going from S8 to N8 in a short time. I only went to S8+ because i was still on a 6P and while it still working the camera and battery we being outperformed by so many other devices. At least not this device is on the lastest hardware and will be fine for 1yr+

        • steadymobb

          Yeah, that was my debate. I think the Note8 will mostly be the same but with some new feature (dual camera, more RAM (?), etc.) but I don’t think that will warrant an update from the s8…I’ll probably wait for the s9 when the finally get the FP scanner right

          • Big EZ

            The main reason I’d wait for the N8 is the possible fingerprint reader under the display. This hard press to unlock was probably developed just for that reason. A few other things would be nice as well, more RAM, larger display, *bigger battery*, etc.

          • steadymobb

            I agree – I feel like they might try and save that feature for the s9 and just refine the Note 8…we’ll see though, that would definitely be cool! It really depends if Apple is doing it or not. Latest rumor points to Apple NOT doing the fp scanner under the screen this year as previously believed, but instead doing it on the back. time will tell.

          • DanG

            There was an article that even the next iPhone would not have it because it’s technically very challenging. In other words, the technology needs more maturing time.

    • PuttsMoBilesiCit

      My buddy just got this phone as a work phone. He used it for half a day then went back to the Pixel XL. He has had every single Samsung phone going back to the s2. But he lost interest in them back in the S6.

      • illregal

        Can’t get used to that lag when you’ve had better.

        • Big EZ

          Yeah, Google phones are pretty bad about that. That’s was a huge disappointment coming from the G3 and G4 with no lag.

      • steadymobb


      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        Right… But what about YOU?

        • PuttsMoBilesiCit

          Been a fan of the LG series. But currently rocking the Pixel XL also since i had to try it, Love it.

          • Tom Ireland

            Pre-ordered the S8+ after trying it out in store (vs. S8 and G6). Coming from G2 then G3, was concerned about losing knock-on. G6 is more durable, and that STUPID fp reader placement….but the S8(+) are really nice looking phones. When they announced killing the bixby remap, I cancelled my S8+ order. Kind of the last straw. Gonna hold out for the V30 or perhaps the Note 8. That S8+ is still a great looking phone. Sounds like there are problems right now (ie, rushed software) around wireless charging and of course the red tint issue.

    • DanSan

      Brought mine in today at work, the guy who sits next to me who is a huge Apple fanboy is in love with it. the lack of bezels blows him away

    • disastrousrainbow

      I will tell you right now that the minute you go into the S8 you WILL notice the difference between the overall responsiveness and smoothness the Pixel has over the S8. I’m not saying the S8 isn’t fast or smooth, it’s just missing the x factor the Pixel was able to nail down so well.

      • Big EZ

        Is that the first Google phone without lag? I’ve always heard that they were lag free, but I was really disappointed in the 6P coming from LG’s.

        • disastrousrainbow

          Well I can’t say there isn’t ANY lag, because every phone will have its hiccups now and then (I’ve even experienced it on the iPhone 7, fast as that A10 processor is), but I will say that the Pixel was the first, and to date only, Android phone that has replicated the overall stability, smoothness, and responsiveness the iPhone has been so well-known for but for the Android OS.

          Like, when I used that phone, 99% of the time when I’d bring it back from sleep, open up apps, Chrome tabs, multi-tasked back to the messages app, etc., separately or at the same time, it never stuttered. It never jittered, it never paused for a second or two. Everything from the animation to the actual result was pretty much instantaneous.

          I carried the phone for nearly five months and it was the same experience since day one. In fact, when I was at the Verizon store the other day, I played around with their demos (which are notorious for slowing down because of the retail demo modes they load on them) and it was as smooth and lag-free as I remembered mine being.

          • Big EZ

            The 6P is terrible at multi tasking. It has to refresh after two apps max, sometimes after opening only one other app. It’ll also refresh the app you’re using, losing all your data, on a semi regular basis.

            I don’t think the iPhone is a good comparison for a smooth phone. All of my nieces and nephews that have them complain how slow they are. They all have 6S’s, and 7+’s

          • disastrousrainbow

            Really? Because those phones have always been the benchmark as far smoothness and performance goes. That’s what’s always set them apart from the rest. I carried an iPhone 7 since it launched, and it never slowed down for me for one second. Of course, I had the 128 GB model.

            Trust me though, if your nieces and nephews are using their iPhone’s in ways that’s causing them to be labled as “slow,” they’d probably outright stop an Android phone in its tracks were they to do the same kind of usage on it.

          • Big EZ

            They have the base model 32gb I believe. They have the same problem that I hear everyone else complain about, no storage.

          • DanG

            I can definitely say Pixel feels better than iPhone. Apple toned down the animations on iOS10, but it’s still too much for my taste. Pixel is perfect.

    • JBz007

      I’ve had the Google Pixel XL since launch and I still miss my Note 7. My S8+ will be here any minute now, hopefully it will be as good. Note 7 was my favorite phone, Pixel XL doesn’t quite do it for me but I can’t put my finger on exactly why that is.

    • New_Guy


    • thereasoner

      I’m keeping my Pixel until the Pixel 2 comes out later this year then I’ll decide. I will be picking up a new Note for my wife however.

  • GregDubya

    Good article!

  • Kavin Nguyen

    I use it in place of the power button.

  • DanielMena9

    3D Touch/Force Touch copy?

    • disastrousrainbow

      Not exactly because it doesn’t come close to feeling anything like that.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Same general idea. Not the same implementation. Pretty obvious this was put in place when planning for the Fingerprint scanner to be under the display.

    • This is just for the home button.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Kellen is gushing. I’m guessing… New Daily Driver > Pixel?

    • trevorsalienarms

      They didn’t even name Pixel as their POTY, so probably.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        Well the Pixel was Kellen’s main device.

    • lara137

      The Samsung Galaxy S8 camera is just a bit better pictures than the iPhone 7 Plus, despite Samsung’s device to make do with just one lens. Apple wins it with selfies.


      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        ? Not clicking that link….