Every time I switch to a new phone to start the review process, I realize Android is now doing this. thing to which I immediately shake my fist before returning to the original action. I’m talking about the power button, which according to Google (and Samsung) should activate Google Assistant (or Bixby) instead of opening the old power menu.
At some point in recent years, Google (and partners) realized that the power button was one of the few remaining physical buttons on a phone that could do anything other than what it was originally designed to do. With the disappearance of physical buttons on phones in favor of gestures or virtual buttons, I understand why companies have chosen to take risks with the button we use to turn our phones on and off. It doesn’t mean that I like it.
So these days, if you set up a new phone and decide it needs to be rebooted or turned off, you might get a pop-up message on the first try explaining that your power button no longer does that. Instead, pressing and holding the power button will open Google Assistant or Samsung Bixby and prepare for your requests. While this might be fine for those who don’t mind little helpers, it makes rebooting or shutting down an interesting task because you’ll probably never remember the replace button combination to do it.
Luckily, you can change what happens when you press and hold the power button on Pixel phones and the side key on Samsung phones.
How to change “press and hold the power button” on Pixel phones
- Open Settings > System > Gestures.
- Click on “Press and hold the power button”
- Select “Power Menu”
When you set up your Pixel phone this way, your power button is now the power button. With a long press, you will see the power menu, which allows you to access the emergency menu, put the phone into lock mode, restart the phone, or turn it off.
For those who prefer the same action to open Google Assistant, know that you can still open the power menu by pressing the power and volume up buttons at the same time. Good luck remembering this.
How to change the “press and hold” side key on Samsung phones
- Open Settings > Advanced Features.
- Tap “Side Key”
- In the “Press and hold” section, select “Power off menu”.
Now your Samsung phone’s power menu will stop waking up Bixby to do everything Bixby does or doesn’t do. It seems Bixby is still relevant.
If you want Bixby to take over your power button, you can still access the power menu on Samsung phones by pressing and holding the power button and volume up button together for a few sections. Yes, pressing and releasing power and volume down takes a screenshot, so enjoy this complication.
Okay, back to regular programming, now that I’ve said goodbye to this strange change in the Android world.