Peace out, Bixby: How to disable the Bixby button – CNET

Samsung really wanted everyone to give its newest assistant software a go. So much so, it placed a physical button for Bixby on the left edge of the phone, just beneath the volume rocker. It’s hardly the first time a manufacturer has wanted people to use its software over Google’s own, but the placement of this button has made Bixby a burden for many, namely due to a large number of accidental presses.

I, for instance, have only intentionally called upon Bixby a few times since getting familiar with Bixby Voice after it launched. But the number of times Bixby has accidentally launched while the phone is in my pocket or I’m picking it up is far too many to count.

At long last, Samsung has offered a fix. Sort of.

Disable the Bixby button entirely

disable-bixby-key
Taylor Martin/CNET

Normally, a quick press of the Bixby button will launch Bixby Home. Long-pressing the button will launch Bixby Voice over whatever application you’re currently in, letting you issue commands and control the phone with your voice.

With the latest Bixby Home update (version 2.0.03.3), however, you can disable the Bixby key altogether. Open Bixby Home and tap the settings cog at the top. A menu will appear with a single option to disable or enable the Bixby key. You can also get to this option by going to Bixby Home > Settings > Bixby key and selecting Don’t open anything.

With this setting disabled, pressing the Bixby key does nothing. And that’s the catch. With Samsung, on the issue of the Bixby key, it’s all or nothing.

Since the launch of the Galaxy S8 ($729.99 at Amazon Marketplace) and S8 Plus, third-party developers have been using the Bixby button as a customizable hardware shortcut button. Samsung wasn’t keen on the idea and intentionally broke the workaround used by developers, stating they were “exploiting a system-level behavior.” It’s been a cat-and-mouse game ever since.

With this new feature, Samsung has effectively made it so if you don’t want to use the Bixby key for Bixby Home or Bixby Voice, you won’t be using it at all. You see, the third-party applications that let you customize the Bixby key worked by listening for Bixby to launch, killing Bixby immediately and launching the user’s app of choice. Without Bixby to launch, the workaround simply does not work.

Rather than offering a separate use for the key, such as a quick-launch (and shutter key) for the camera or opening Samsung Pay, Samsung pulled the plug on the whole ordeal. And that’s certainly going to frustrate quite a few users.

Disable Bixby altogether

With all that said, if you disable the Bixby key, you can still get to Bixby Home by swiping left-to-right on the TouchWiz home screen.

If you want to disable all instances of Bixby (except for Bixby Vision, because that one can be useful and fun), there are two ways it can be done.

  • If you are using the TouchWiz launcher, long-press on the home screen, swipe over to the Bixby Home page and tap the toggle beside it.
  • Install a third-party launcher, such as Action Launcher or Nova Launcher. With a third-party launcher in place and the Bixby key disabled, there is no way to accidentally open Bixby Home.

Bixby will still be installed on the phone and will run in the background. And you will still be able to access Bixby Vision in the camera app, but its presence will be minimal and you will have to go out of your way to access Samsung’s assistant software.

You may also want to disable automatic updates of Bixby by going to Bixby Home > Settings and tapping the toggle beside Auto-update Bixby.

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