Samsung has finally started allowing the Bixby button on the S8 lineup and the new Note8 to be disabled… well, partially at least. Bixby is Samsung’s assistant built into these phones and one of the biggest complaints about the Galaxy S8 lineup when it was released this summer was the fact that the dedicated hardware button for the assistant could not be disabled or remapped (to say Google Assistant). Samsung stood by their decision and despite numerous hacks to get around this (which Samsung subsequently closed with software updates), pretty much forced the issue with users. Until this past weekend.
A small software update for the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus and Note8 is allowing the button to be partially disabled. In the Bixby settings, you can disable to button although it will still fire up if you long press the button. The software update does not allow for remapping of the button.
Part of the problem with Bixby is that it is still widely unavailable for users. It took months after the release of the S8 phones for it to come to the US and, frankly, it just isn’t that good. Amazon (Alexa) and Google Assistant are far superior to Bixby simply because they have been around much longer and have more user data.
Ultimately, the best move for consumers would be for Samsung to natively allow this hardware button to be remapped but, given their investment into the assistant solution, that is unlikely. This disabling of the button is probably the closest we will get.
The ability to disable the button is found in the Bixby settings.