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Galaxy S6: How to Disable the Capacitive Buttons

Not everyone likes that Samsung uses hardware buttons on their phones so let’s talk about how we can disable these buttons on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.

Google has been trying to get people to use software navigation buttons in Android for a while now and if they had their way, I think they would force Samsung to get rid of the capacitive buttons. Sure, Google could get rid of the ability but then they burn their bridge with Samsung and that’s not something they want to do right now. Google also wanted to move Android away from micro SD card slots and removable batteries as well and Samsung has finally started to do this. So it’s possible that the South Korean tech giant might get rid of their capacitive touch buttons one of these days.

Until then, we have to make the tweaks ourselves and thankfully Google makes Android so customizable that it is possible for us to remove the functionality of these buttons. I do want to give a little warning though. . .if you disable the functionality of the buttons then you’ll want to have an alternative in place. I advise that you set something up(like software nav buttons or pie controls) beforehand and if you don’t know how to do this then check out this tutorial here. Right now I have pie controls set up with the hardware buttons disabled and I love it. Not everyone likes this though and you might enjoy the traditional software buttons instead.

Either way, I’ll go over all of these options but for now, let’s talk about how to disable the functionality of the hardware buttons on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.

Note – Due to software issues, this will likely only work with Marshmallow (and not Nougat).

Galaxy S6 Disable Capacitive Buttons

  1. Root the Galaxy S6
  2. Download and Install ES File Explorer
  3. Launch ES File Explorer
  4. Swipe in From the Left Side of the Screen
  5. Scroll Down to the Tools Section
  6. Enable Root
  7. Grant Root Access to ES File Explorer
  8. Browse to /system/usr/keylayout
  9. Tap on the Generic.kl File
  10. Tap on Text(to open as a text file)
  11. Then Select Your Text Editor of Choice(I edit with ES Note Editor)
  12. Tap the 3-Dot Menu at the Top Right
  13. Tap on the ‘Edit’ Option
  14. Locate Any Keys Labeled “Menu”, “Back”, “Home” and “App Switch”
  15. Put a Pound Sign( # ) and a Space in Front of Each of Those Lines
  16. Tap the ‘Back’ Arrow at the Top Left
  17. Tell ES File Explorer to Save the File
  18. Reboot the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge
Galaxy S6 Disable Capacitive Buttons Before
Before the Edit is Made

Explanation

So you will need to have root access to the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge so follow those tutorials if you need help with that. If you can’t root it with CF AutoRoot then PingPong Root is the tool that will help. So, once you root, I would recommend that you install a custom recovery on the Galaxy S6. Once you have that set up, then I would recommend that you create your first Nandroid backup of the Galaxy S6 with TWRP or whatever custom recovery that you chose to go with. I just want you to have a backup that can be restored from just in case something goes wrong or if you don’t like the changes we’re making here today.

After the Edit

I’ve tested this and it works for me, but it might be slightly different on your variant or you might make a mistake during the edit of the file. Either way, you should always have a Nandroid backup before you make tweaks like this to your Galaxy S6. So once all that has been done, go ahead and install a root explorer application. I recommend ES File Explorer because it’s the one I’ve been using for years and it has all of the features that I need out of a file explorer. After you install it though, you’ll need to enable the root feature and after you enable it, you’ll be prompted by SuperSU asking whether or not you want it to have root access. Confirm this and then we can proceed.

You’ll want to browse to the /system/usr/keylayout directory from within ES File Explorer(or your root explorer of choice). When you get here, you’ll see a file toward the top called Generic.kl and we want to edit it. So in ES File Explorer you need to tap on that file and then tell the application that you want to view it as a text file. Once you are viewing the contents of this file, go into edit mode like I mention in the guide above and then you’ll want to read through the file contents. For me, I found the following keys that I needed to comment out(by comment out, I mean  put a pound sign in front of the line) – 127, 139, 158, 172 and 254. Each of these keys had the name Home, Back, Menu or App Switch labeled so I commented all of them out. However, these could be different for you, just make sure that you read through the file and get them all.

Galaxy S6 Disable Capacitive Buttons After 1
Back Key Commented Out

Once those keys are changed, then you can tap the back arrow button at the top left of the screen and ES File Explorer will ask if you want to save this file. Confirm the save and then reboot your Galaxy S6/S6 Edge. However, be ready to not have any functionality out of those buttons when you reboot. Pressing the Back button, the Home button or the Recents/Multitasking buttons will not do anything here. You could leave the keys that say “Home” alone and then the home button would still have functionality, if this is something that you would be interested in.

If you notice that the lights still activate then head over to an tutorial I wrote about how to disable the backlight for the Galaxy S6’s capacitive buttons.


If this tutorial helped you in any way, please consider donating via PayPalPatreon, Cryptocurrency, or GoFundMe. If you can't afford to donate then sharing this on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, XDA, forums, etc. will also help a lot. I would also appreciate suggestions for Android tips and tutorials that you would like to see in the future.


40 thoughts on “Galaxy S6: How to Disable the Capacitive Buttons”

  1. Man I hate these capacitive buttons at the bottom of my note 5. I cant type anything without hitting one of them with part of my palm especially while laying down, and interrupting my typing

  2. It worked wonders for me! Due to a mishap with water entry messing up the “switch app” capacitive button, my S6 was effectively out of order; when that button is randomly seen as “pressed”, usually multiple times per second, any kind of interaction gets… Messy… I tried with non-root workarounds, like “All in one Gestures” to disregard that button completely, but it made the phone and the touch-screen immensely sluggish (probably due to the extreme amounts of “overrides” the program had to manage all the time. After following the guide and only disabling the “App Switch” button in the script, everything seems to be working nicely – surprisingly, including fingerprint reader, double-tap for camera wake-up etc – so thank you a heap!

  3. So by putting the # sign and the space of the key I don’t want to use, is telling the system to disable that key. Is that correct? if so you will be a life saver and will save me $600 bucks

    1. That is correct. This is typically called ‘commenting out’, as programming languages have a way for developers to ‘leave a comment’ about a certain piece of code by using the pound sign in front and then typing out a comment

      So just as you said, putting the pound sign(aka the number sign #) in front of a certain key within this file, you will be disabling that key. So, for example, if you put it in front of the home button, then it would disable that button.

      As the article says though, just know that some physical buttons have multiple entries, and you’ll have to comment out each entry, and then reboot, before it takes effect.

      1. Sadly this doesn’t look like this will work for me :( My model of phone is the SM-G920A its a ATT phone. I didn’t see any roots that matched my model number. Any ideas?

  4. Rocky Rail Road

    It works great for my Galaxy S6 5.1.1 however there is one problem. When I touch the capacitive keys, the screen still reacts to it. Like when I was watching Youtube and touched the capacitive keys, the video pause/play popped up. It’s like when your laptop is about to fall asleep so it dims the display then you move the track pad/mouse and the screen lights up again.

  5. I reached to step 6 and when i click to run root explorer it shows message Unfortunately this function can`t work on your device

  6. Does this also affect the usage of the home button? I want to keep just the home button due to the fingerprint scanner. :)

    1. If you change all of the entries for the home button, then it will affect it. However, you have the choice to not touch those entries. If you ignore all the home button entries then the Home button will continue to function

      1. Nice one, thanks.

        Also, I’m actually using an S5 rather than S6, I assume the same principles apply to this device?

    1. I can’t test to be 100% certain,but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Just be sure to create a Nandroid backup via a custom recovery (or be prepared to factory reset) just in case it doesn’t work for you.

  7. Seriously though how the fuck do I fix System UI has stopped I have spent 3 hours on this fucking horse shit and don’t want the shitty fucking temp fix that only stops the messages.

  8. Hi AE I have been having problems with my menu button (its keeps randomly clicking) so I have followed this and the function has been disabled. However, my phone still makes a click noise when it thinks the button is pressed, and doesn’t respond perfectly while the button is being pressed. Is it possible to disable the buttons on a lower level?

    1. Sadly no. I mean, it sounds mechanical or something so they would have to be disabled on a hardware level or something. Which would require opening up the phone (which is way beyond my expertise)

      Sorry to hear about that issue :( I wish I could help more

  9. Martin Himmelbauer

    Thanks for this fix. The recent apps button of my international S6 was self-pressing after a heat or water damage and I was able to get rid of that problem. I rooted, installed pie-buttons and disabled all the capacitive buttons (left home-button function on).
    Unfortunately my camera is not working anymore. error message “failed to initialize camera” keeps popping up after reboot. Any idea how to fix that issue?

    Thanks for all the help!

      1. Martin Himmelbauer

        The function for adjusting the screen brightness is not working either.
        My SM-G920F is running on android 7.0 – could there be a compatibility issue with the CF-root version i used?

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