Samsung won’t let you remap the Galaxy S8’s Bixby button

Samsung Galaxy S8 Bixby

Samsung’s new Bixby assistant has its own dedicated button on the Galaxy S8, with the brand probably hoping that this encourages users to call on the AI tool frequently. However, some people might prefer to utilize this bonus piece of hardware to trigger other apps like the camera. An application called All in One Gestures actually managed to make this possible, to the joy and relief of many.

In bad news for them, Samsung appears to have removed the ability to remap the Bixby button. A developer calling himself flar2 claims that he was able to get his Button Mapper app working on his Galaxy S8 initially. However, it stopped functioning after he downloaded a system update.

XDA Developers posits that Samsung has changed the way the Bixby button works. While the previous system generated a key up and key down event which could be intercepted by Accessibility Services, the updated one consumed the button’s key events before it reaches Accessibility Services.

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This makes it impossible to remap the button for other purposes. Samsung’s PR head Philip Berne confirmed this development via his Twitter account, stating that it was exploiting a system-level behavior and that particular behavior had now been changed. He went on to say that he can’t say it will never happen, but that the company won’t officially support it.

An anonymous user on Twitter later told XDA that his Galaxy S8 review device was still able to modify the Bixby button even though it was up to date. This raises the question of whether the change is carrier-specific since flar2 got his unit from Telus in Canada. It doesn’t seem likely though, especially in light of what Berne said.