What is Bixby? A guide to Samsung's digital voice assistant

  • Bixby is a voice assistant similar to Apple’s Siri that’s been exclusive to Samsung devices since 2017. 
  • You can start Bixby several ways, including by pressing the Bixby key on the side of your device. 
  • If there’s no Bixby key, you can also configure your device to launch Bixby from the side or power button.
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If you are using a Samsung device for the first time, you might be surprised to learn that Samsung has its own voice assistant similar to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. It’s called Bixby and is built into many Samsung devices. It works like any of those other voice assistants, so you can use it to answer questions, perform common commands, and automate tasks that you frequently perform with your phone. 

What to know about Bixby

While Bixby is similar to Google Assistant (which is also available on Samsung devices), Bixby is found exclusively on Samsung devices โ€” it’s unavailable on any other Android brand. Samsung has included it on every new Samsung device, starting with the Galaxy S8 in 2017. In addition to phones and tablets, it’s built into the Samsung Galaxy Watch and is the voice assistant in the Samsung Galaxy Home, a smart speaker that Samsung announced in 2018 but has still not been released.  

Bixby modes

Bixby has four primary modes, which you can use depending upon what you want to do. 

  • Bixby Home is a landing page intended to help you use Bixby better. It displays common commands, divided into categories and offers tips and advice on using Bixby. 
  • Bixby Voice is the most common way you’ll probably interact with Bixby. After using the wake word, you can simply tell the assistant what you want to do. 
  • Type to Bixby displays a keyboard. Rather than speaking, you can type commands to Bixby. It’s accessible from Bixby Home.
  • Bixby Vision combines your device’s camera with artificial intelligence to give you advanced features like real-time translation of printed text. You can easily get to Bixby Vision from the Camera app. 

Bixby Home is a landing page filled with Bixby commands and tips for using the service.Dave Johnson/Insider

How to set up Bixby for the first time

Bixby setup is almost effortless and only takes a couple of steps. If you’ve never used Bixby before, do this:

  1. Press the Bixby button, side button, or Power button to start it.
  2. If you’re not already signed into your Samsung account, you’ll need to do that next. 
  3. Tap the Next button and agree to Samsung’s terms of use for the service. 
  4. You’ll be shown a short tutorial on how to use Bixby. 

That’s it โ€” now you can use Bixby by launching it from the appropriate button or using the wake word “Hi, Bixby.”

How to activate Bixby

How you start Bixby depends upon what device you own and how it’s configured. There are four main ways to start Bixby.

Use your voice

You can use the wake word “Hi, Bixby” to start the assistant from any screen or even if the phone is in standby with the screen off. 

If you use the wake word, Bixby Voice will appear at the bottom of the screen.Dave Johnson/Insider

Use the Bixby button 

Many Samsung devices have a dedicated Bixby button below the volume buttons. By default, press it once to open Bixby Home or press and hold the button to start Bixby Voice. 

To enable or reconfigure the Bixby button, do this:

1. Start the Settings app, then scroll down and tap “Advanced features.”

2. Tap “Bixby key.”

3. Choose which option you want to use to start Bixby โ€” a single press or a double press.

You can start Bixby from a single or double press of the Bixby button.Dave Johnson/Insider

You can also use the Bixby key to launch a favorite app. There are two ways to do this: If you set up the Bixby button to start Bixby with a single press, you can launch your favorite app with a double press. Conversely, you can single-press to start a favorite app if you launch Bixby with a double press.

1. On the Bixby key settings page, choose whether you want to start Bixby with a single press or a double press. 

2. If you choose “Single press to open Bixby,” turn on “Use double press” by swiping the button to the right.

3. Tap “Use double press.”

You can choose to run your favorite app from the Bixby button.Dave Johnson/Insider

4. On the “Use double press” page, tap the Settings icon to the right of “Open app.”

5. Choose the app you want to open.

6. If you prefer, tap “Run quick command” and choose a command you want to run with a double tap.

7. If you are running Bixby with a double tap, follow the same procedure to set up a favorite app with a single tap of the Bixby button.  

Use the side button

Many newer Samsung devices have a multi-purpose side button instead of a dedicated Bixby button. To start Bixby from the side button, do this:

1. Start the Settings app, then scroll down and tap “Advanced features.”

2. Tap “Side key.”

3. Choose which option you want to use to start Bixby. You can choose to start Bixby with a double-press of the side button or by pressing and holding the side button. 

Use the power button

On some Samsung devices you can press the power button to start Bixby. To enable that, press and hold the power button to see the power-off screen. Tap the Settings icon at the top right of the screen and then turn on the option to wake Bixby with the Power key. 

How to set up a Bixby routine 

You can also create automated routines using Bixby. Similar to the commands you can create with the popular web automation tool IFTTT, you can create routines to automatically change your device’s settings, run apps, and more. 

To explore Bixby routines, do this: 

  1. Start the Settings app, then scroll down and tap “Advanced features.”
  2. If it’s not already on, turn on “Bixby Routines” by swiping the button to the right.


    Turn on Bixby Routines to be able to launch complex, multi-step commands with your voice.Dave Johnson/Insider

  3. Open the routines by tapping Bixby Routines.
  4. On the Bixby Routines page you should see a large number of existing routines. You can start that routine by asking Bixby to run it (for example, saying “Hi Bixby, morning music” will launch the morning music routine, which starts playing music on Spotify). 
  5. To create a new routine from scratch, tap the plus symbol, give the routine a name, and then specify the trigger (“If”) and the action (“Then”) you want to occur. You can tap any existing routine to see how they are structured to get pointers on making your own.

If you have used IFTTT then you should have little trouble making routines in Bixby.Dave Johnson/Insider

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