A few days ago, we showed you how to remap the Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy S8 to make it do different tasks. In the example that we showed you, this button would trigger the Google Assistant instead of Samsung’s Bixby. A number of websites covered that, and when Samsung noticed it, they took immediate action. The button can no longer be remapped on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones.
In an OTA update, Samsung has disabled this ability for the users to take control of the Bixby button. Samsung wants to ensure that the users get the experience that they want to offer them. There are two angles from which you can interpret this – Samsung either wants a uniform experience across all devices, or Samsung does not want the users to hijack the phones. Either ways, this is Samsung’s decision and we respect that. The bixby assistant is one of the most important parts of the Samsung Galaxy S8, as well as many other devices to follow.
Hence, Samsung wants to ensure maximum possible users make use of the Bixby assistant. Taking control of the Bixby button and remapping it to do some other task is something that would be counter productive for Samsung, and hence the company has disabled the ability for users to take control.
Some users had figured out that the accessibility service could be made use of to intercept the KeyEvent which was triggered by the Bixby button being pressed. However, following this OTA update, Samsung has blocked this ability. Following this update, the Bixby button no longer routs its action through accessibility. In order to remap what the button does, the users would now require root access. As of now this update seems to have hit only the Telus Samsung Galaxy S8, but it is expected to reach all variants shortly.