Every Android device has physical hardware buttons, and these hardware buttons can be remapped to perform almost any task. This article presents three Android applications that will remap the hardware buttons of your smartphone or tablet.
1. Button Mapper: Android’s most popular remapping application
With nearly 11,000 reviews on Google Play, Button Mapper is one of Android’s most popular remapping apps.
You can use this free app to assign a new action to any physical hardware button. This includes the Home, Previous and Recent application keys, as well as volume controls. If you have a Samsung device, you can also use Button Mapper to customize the Bixby button. It is located under the volume keys on the left side of new Samsung devices.
If you have a device connected to your smartphone, such as a joystick, you can also use Button Mapper to customize these peripheral buttons.
When you launch Button Mapper for the first time, it requests access to the Android accessibility framework. This framework allows Button Mapper to customize physical hardware keys. If you don’t see this prompt or accidentally reject it, you can also grant Button Mapper the necessary permissions via the Android “Settings” app:
- Launch the “Settings” application.
- Select “Accessibility”.
- Scroll down to “Button Mapper” and press it.
- Drag the slider to the “On” position.
You can now remap physical hardware keys using Button Mapper.
Launch the Button Mapper application. You will see a list of all the hardware buttons on your device.
Find the button you want to customize and press it. On the next screen, drag the slider to the “On” position.
You can now assign different actions to this button, depending on how you interact with it, such as a double press or a long press.
2. Ultra Volume: a more powerful volume slider
Android lets you assign different volume levels to different categories of sounds. This includes ringtones, media, notifications, and system sounds. However, these volume sliders are deeply buried in the Android “Settings” application. If you want to change them, you need to go to “Settings -> Sounds and vibrations -> Volume”.
Ultra Volume is a free app that replaces the original Android volume slider with five separate volume sliders. Each is dedicated to a different sound category.
Using these sliders, you can quickly and easily assign different volume levels to different sound categories. It’s perfect for cutting everything outside of your alarm or setting the media to play at maximum volume while minimizing all those annoying system sounds.
To configure the Ultra Volume application:
- Download Ultra Volume from Google Play.
- Launch the application.
- Press the “Start” button. Ultra Volume must request access to the Android accessibility framework. This allows it to react each time you press one of the volume keys. When prompted, tap the slider, which will launch the Android “Accessibility” menu.
- In the “Accessibility” menu, find “Ultra Volume” and press it.
- Move the cursor to the “On” position.
- Read the warning, and if you agree, press “OK”.
Press one of the volume keys. You should now see your new volume slider!
Expand the Ultra Volume slider by pressing the accompanying arrow button.
Drag the different sliders to assign a different volume level to each category.
If you want to restore the stock volume slider for Android at any time, simply relaunch the Ultra Volume application and press “Stop”.
3. Skip tracks at the touch of a button
Do you regularly listen to music on your Android device and want it to have a dedicated “skip track” button?
Long press volume is an app that adds this missing functionality, allowing you to go forward and backward by long pressing the volume keys while the screen is off. According to user feedback, this free app works with most major music apps. However, it is not available via Google Play, which makes installation of Long Press Volume longer.
To configure Long Press Volume, you must configure ADB on your computer.
Installation of Long Press Volume
- Assuming you have already set up ADB on your computer, download the Long Press Volume APK from its GitHub page on your phone.
- Tap the last file “skipTrack.apk”, and when prompted, tap “Download”.
- On your Android device, launch a file management application. Go to your “Downloads” folder and press the “skipTrack.apk” file that you just downloaded.
- When prompted, press “Install”.
- Launch the Long Press Volume app and you will immediately be prompted to execute an adb command. That means it’s time to move on to your laptop or computer.
- Connect your Android device to your laptop or computer using a USB cable.
- Launch a terminal / command prompt on your computer.
- You must now change direction (
cd) so that the Terminal / Command prompt points to the adb folder. Type the following command:
Long press on volume is now able to monitor volume keys and can respond whenever you long press any of these keys.
Skip tracks with Long Press Volume
You are now ready to activate the Long Press Volume app:
- Launch the Long Press Volume application and press “Activate service”.
- Select “Skip Track Settings”.
- Read the warning on the screen, and if that suits you, press “OK”.
Launch your favorite music playback application, turn off the screen and press the “Volume up / Volume down” buttons. You should now be able to skip tracks.
Note that if this application does not work as expected, you can get positive results by activating and deactivating “Activate the service” or by trying another music application.
If you have a broken button, such as the Home or Power button, you can either use these apps to replace the Home button on your hardware, or use these methods to turn the phone on / off.
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