Samsung finally lets you disable the Bixby button

If you can’t stop them, join them… reluctantly.

That seems to be Samsung’s attitude towards users complaining about the dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, and Galaxy Note 8. The company is finally allowing users to disable the “tap to open Bixby Home” function on these devices.

First spotted by SamMobile, the latest update to the Bixby app brings a new toggle that lets you disable the reviled Bixby button, at least partially. The toggle, found at the top of the Bixby app interface, will stop Bixby Home from opening when you tap the button.

Bixby Voice will continue to be accessible by long-pressing the button.

It’s a small concession made to a user base that, in its vast majority, cannot even use Bixby Voice, six months after Samsung launched the service with great pomp. The crucial voice component of Bixby is still only available in English and Korean, leaving tens of millions of users out in the cold.

While the issue seems small enough to be classified as a “first world problem,” the fact that you couldn’t disable the Bixby button – or at least remap it to another app – prompted someone to (unsuccessfully) crowdfund a special case that hid the button completely.

Users are reporting mixed results with the update – while many say that the toggle works as expected, some reported that the toggle is not visible in the updated app. It looks like this might be a server-side switch.

The botched release of Bixby shows just how difficult AI can be, even for the largest smartphone maker in the world. While Samsung’s hardware prowess is indisputable, the Korean giant company is still years behind Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft when it comes to offering its own AI-powered virtual assistant.

Will you disable the Bixby button on your device?