Samsung is finally letting us remap the function of the Bixby button but sadly the feature is incredibly limited. Not only can we not get rid of it from opening Bixby entirely, but we also cannot use it to open other virtual assistants. Thankfully though, there’s a way to bypass this limitation and open Google Assistant.
Samsung has been fighting with the community over the Bixby button ever since it was introduced. We initially had to use 3rd-party apps to remap the Bixby button but Samsung cut that method off. Now, with the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and the Galaxy S10e we can finally remap the button for other uses.
Sadly, these are very limited uses and it just feels like the proverbial two steps forward and one step back. So while we can use the button to open up various applications, Samsung has limited it to which apps you can open with it. Not only that, but we still have to allow Bixby to be opened when the button is pressed twice.
It really does show how desperate Samsung is to get people to use Bixby as their virtual assistant. And I’m not here to say that it’s bad, but if the community wants to use a different one then they should allow it. At least Android is so robust that we are able to figure out a way to bypass this limitation.
This main tutorial will be for the short version of how to do this. If you are okay with using Tasker and want to do it all yourself, then I will include the full details at the bottom of this tutorial. This whole tutorial can also be used on older Samsung devices with a dedicated Bixby button.
Time needed: 5 minutes.
How to Open Google Assistant When You Press on the Galaxy S10, S10+, or S10e Bixby button
- Press the Bixby button
So that you can go through the initial process of setting it all up and getting past the introductory parts.
- Download this Google Assistant APK I exported with Tasker
- Sideload the application like you would any other that was downloaded from outside of the Play Store
Once installed, you should see a new application in the App Drawer named Assistant. You can tap this new app to open up the Google Assistant voice prompt if you want.
- Tap the Install Anyway option if you see the Blocked by Play Protect pop up
Google is just being proactive here but again, if you don’t trust the APK then create the APK for yourself by looking at the bottom of this tutorial
- Now, press the Bixby button again to open up Bixby Voice
- And then tap the 3-dot menu icon on the right side of the screen
- Then tap the Settings option
- Scroll down a bit and tap on the Bixby Key option
- And select the Double Press to Open Bixby feature
- Now, tap on the Single Press option and toggle the feature on at the top of the page
- Tap on the gear icon to the right of the Open App option
- And finally, select the Assistant application that we sideloaded earlier in this tutorial
- You can now test this by pressing the Bixby button one time
Again, it seems really dumb of Samsung to make people go through all of this when they are spending 700+ dollars on a smartphone. This is the big reason why I dislike most OEM ROMs and why I would rather use a vanilla AOSP build over them (because AOSP is easy to modify).
Still, at least there is a way for us to bypass this issue thanks to the new feature that the company has added. They really went out of their way to prevent people from using other virtual assistants with this feature. But with tricks like this we are easily able to get around this restriction.
Since Samsung has hardcoded a way for us to remap the Bixby button to open up the other virtual assistants using their official methods. We’re able to get around this by creating our own application that does exactly what we want. In this case it means that we’re using it to open up the Google Assistant voice prompt.
It should be noted that this can be tweaked for any other virtual assistant including Alexa and Cortana as long as you know the Android Intent for those apps.
Doing this Manually with Tasker
Just like I promised, I wanted to show you how I was able to create this application using the Tasker and the Tasker App Factory apps. With those two applications installed, go to the Tasks tab and create a new task. You can name this whatever you want and then follow the instructions below. . .
- Tap the Plus icon in the bottom right
- Tap the System option
- Then select the Send Intent option
Now, you will want to fill out the following details. . .
- Action: com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox
- Cat: Default
- Package: com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox
- Class: com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox.VoiceSearchActivity
- Target: Activity
With those filled out (you can leave the rest empty), you can press the back button to back to the Task. Then tap the icon at the bottom in the middle of the screen (a grid of squares) and then tap the Application Icon option so that you the application has an icon when it is exported.
Tap the back button again and you should see your new task in the Task tab. Long press on that task that you just created and tap the 3-dot menu icon at the top right. Tap the Export option and then pick the As App feature that we now have thanks to the Tasker App Factory plugin.
You’ll be asked to give the package a name (usual Android package name convention goes com.blah.blah), a version number and some advanced options if you so choose (I ignored the advanced options). When you’re ready, just go ahead and tap the back button and it will begin to export the application.
You’ll even be prompted to install the application once it has been exported if you leave the auto install box checked. I want to thank Cerdo32 over in the Tasker subreddit who I was able to discover this information from.
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