If you, for some reason have been living under a rock and don’t know what Bixby is, it’s the virtual assistant that Samsung has been trying to shove down your throat for a while now. But fortunately, with their latest smartphones, the Galaxy Note 10 series, they’ve given the option to silence Bixby forever, with the “Side Key” option. Today, we’re not going to talk about how horrible or awesome the virtual assistant is, rather, how some features of Bixby are actually very useful, and work as expected. We’re going to talk about Bixby Routines.
On my Galaxy Note 9, I was using a third party app to map the Bixby key to open up the Google app, and had mapped Bixby to the double press of the key. But with my new Galaxy Note 10 Plus, I have the option to completely remove Bixby integration with any physical key. It’s a bummer that the Korean smartphone maker decided to get rid of the power key on the right and conveniently renamed the Bixby button on the left to the “Side Key.” Fortunately again, the key’s long press event can be mapped to something other than Bixby, which is the configuration by default. Even though there are only a handful things which you can map to the long press event, showing the power menu is one of them, and that’s what I’ve configured it to do. So basically, the power button has been moved to the left. And it’s very easy to get used to it. Enough of this though, let’s get to the fun part.
If you don’t know what Bixby Routines is, it is basically Samsung’s version of IFTTT. But this doesn’t mean you can completely replace IFTTT with Bixby Routines. It only has a subset of the capabilities of IFTTT. But whatever it promises to do, it does it so very reliably. I have been using IFTTT for so many years now, and I use it to automate a lot of things on my phones. But one thing that has never worked with IFTTT, at least for me on any of my phones, is switching on and switching off WiFi when I enter and leave my home. It just never worked properly, even with all the necessary permissions and not killing the app.
When I was setting up my Note 10+, I got the Bixby Routines notification and started exploring it. I figured out that I could automate the WiFi on/off routine with it, and set it up. I monitored it for a few weeks. And now, I’m so happy that I tried it out, because it just works, and is very reliable.
Some of you might point out that leaving WiFi on all the time is no problem. And it might not be. But I just prefer to keep things off when I’m not using them. It’s an obsession of some sort (OCD). In this post, I’ll try to explain how you can set up your own Bixby Routines and make your OCD happy.
Setting up Bixby Routines
To setup a routine, you first need to find Bixby Routines on your phone. For this, head over to Settings, and then to Advanced Features. You’ll find the menu similar to the following screenshot:
The third option is Bixby Routines. Go in there and you’ll be able to setup your routines. You’ll see a + button on the top right corner of the screen. Tap that and you’ll be taken to the “If” screen, which should look something like this:
Here, you can setup the If part of the automation. What this means is, if an event occurs, then do trigger some other event. So here, we specify what event has to occur to trigger something else. Click on the massive + button in the centre of the screen, you’ll be shown a list of things which can trigger an event. The following is that list:
As you can see, it’s a pretty long list. But what’s more longer, is the “Then” part, but we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s assume that we’re trying to automate the sound mode of the phone. We want to put our phone to vibrate mode when we’re connected to a smartwatch. And you connect smartwatches using Bluetooth. So let’s tap the Bluetooth option in the list.
Next, you’ll be shown a list of all the Bluetooth devices you’ve connected your phone to. Select the device of your choice. In my case, I want to my phone to switch to vibrate mode whenever I connect my Galaxy Watch to it. So I’ll select my Galaxy Watch from the list. After this step, the setup should look something like this:
Notice here that you can add multiple “If” conditions. So for example, let’s say I want to my phone to go to vibrate mode when my watch is connected to it, but this should happen only if I’m in the office. If I’m anywhere else, I want my phone to be in same sound mode. In this case, I can add another “If” condition here with my work address, and make it qualify only when I enter the office building. But we’re going to keep things simple here and move to the next screen.
Next, you’ll get the “Then” screen, again with a massive + button in the centre of the screen. Tap that and you’ll see the long list of triggers I was talking about:
As you can see, it’s just long. But anyway, we’re going to select the “Sound mode” option here. Once you do that, you’ll be shown the sound mode options – Sound, Vibrate, and Mute. Here, I’ll select the Vibrate option and tap on Done. The “Then” part will look like this now:
We’ll now give it a name. I prefer descriptive names for my routines. So I’ll name this something like “Put phone to vibrate when connected to watch.” Save this and you’re done. The Bixby Routines home screen lists all your routines. I have setup four, all of them only to switch on/off my WiFi when I enter or leave my home, and when I enter or leave my parents’ house. So mine looks like this:
As you can see form the screenshot above, it is only showing My Routines. Next to that button at the top, there’s a Recommended button as well. If you go there, you’ll get a bunch of pre-setup routines. You’ll only have to fill up a few configuration gaps, such as your home address and work address. You can enable any routine you want from this as well.
Another cool feature I like about this is that phone shows what routines are running right now on the lock screen, like this:
So yeah, that’s pretty much it. I’m just happy that this thing actually works. Try it out for yourself and let me know how it works.