The surprisingly handy accessory opens up a new world of hardware actions

Many of us with Android devices have tasks we would like to accomplish without looking at our screens, but which may not have a dedicated or customizable hardware button (and some devices don't have any hardware buttons at all). Many of us also have headphone jacks on our devices we rarely (if ever) use, particularly given the vast number of Bluetooth audio solutions. If you're in both categories, Pressy, a new Android-only accessory originally funded through Kickstarter and now shipping (first to backers and pre-orders), may be exactly what you're looking for.

Pressy looks like the metal end of a 3.5mm audio plug with a rubbery button attached to the top, and essentially that's what it is. It fits snugly into an open headphone jack on your Android device, and the button end is small enough in diameter to work even with tightly fitted cases like the Otterbox Defender case I have on my Samsung Galaxy S3. Pressy is configured via a free app available through Google Play and activated via a QR/alphanumerical code on the package in which Pressy ships.

To use Pressy, install and run the app, which prompts you to activate it and then insert the Pressy. It takes a bit of fingernail dexterity to seat the Pressy without actually depressing the button, but eventually you get the hang of it. From there, the app prompts you to make it the default app for presses (it can be triggered with both long and short presses), and then leads you into configuration, a tutorial and your customized Pressy triggers. There are a few known issues with Samsung devices (S-Voice and Google Search may need to be disabled before installing Pressy; they can be re-enabled later) and some other brands, so check the FAQ on the Pressy Web site ( for more information.

The Pressy app comes with a number of standard features that can triggered by one or more long or short button presses, including turning on the LED flash as a flashlight, taking a photo or video, recording audio, adjusting system settings, and others, and can be set to work even if the screen is off. In addition to being able to launch any installed app, Pressy can also work with "Connected Apps," those already compatible with Pressy, to perform specific actions. You can set up to nine separate Pressy triggers, using one, two or three long or short presses plus three additional combinations. When you remove the Pressy, the app gives you additional Settings options (via the menu popup) to turn on/off notifications, vibrate when pressed, and alter the response time (like the double-click rate on a mouse). When you reinsert your Pressy, a box pops up so you can tell the app if you're using Pressy, headphones, or both in the jack.

If you have multiple Android devices, you can use one Pressy with both, switching it back and forth as needed; once the app is activated, it installs onto your second device without needing a new code. You'll want to keep Pressy in place as much as possible, though; not only is it more convenient that way, but it's very small and easily lost. (It does come with a rubberized keychain holder for storage out of your device, but I'm not sure how long its loop will last before it falls off your keychain, Pressy and all.)


I was a Kickstarter backer for Pressy and love mine so far. I have it set to play/pause audio on a single short press, and turn on the LED flashlight with two short presses, and even on the fastest response time, I have no problem triggering either at will. While the price (currently $27 U.S. for one in your choice of colors, with discounts for multiple purchases) may seem high for this tiny device that looks like an audio jack dust cover, the convenience and customizability (with more promised) may well encourage you to press the purchase button for Pressy.


Reader comments

Pressy review: The little 3.5mm plug that could


Interesting little device. I wish it was more flush (kinda like the way the S-pen sits on the Note 3) but I might give it a try.

How do you think this would work as an accessibility device for those with handicaps and/or arthritis?

It does not have to be perfectly flush, leave enough room to get a fingernail in, not what appears to be a few MM

It could be a little more flush, but I don't think it will be cumbersome at all. I am definitely going to get one of these. Love the idea. I wish it was more around the $20 area. But for its uniqueness I will gladly pay.


I am no so worried about cumbersome, I am worried about snagging it and popping it out somewhere

That photo in the article and the reflections in it make it look like it protrudes more than it really does... Actually, it doesn't look like it's seated all the way in at all unless all 3.5mm connectors on that Samsung stick out way more than they do on my Nexus 5.

I'm seeing two distinct sections visible from the front there, on my Nexus I don't see the bottom section or barrel at all except from the backside (because the Nexus' back slopes down and away from the jack, thank God too or it'd be a pain to remove).

From the front/sides I only see one continuous chamfer and the black button atop (which doesn't stick out from the metal). It barely protrudes past my thin Diztronic TPU case. I can post some pics later when I get to my camera, hard to get a decent shot of it while on the phone with the phone.

Got mine thru the Kickstart, thinking of getting a second for tablet, maybe a two pack so I have one stocking stuffer ready for Christmas. :p Might hold off on that until the app is refined tho, I can work around it's kinks but it might put off a giftee.

Worth noting that the button part itself is hard plastic or metal, not rubbery at all, feels like any other power button on a phone (only round)... More solid than most power buttons actually, no wiggle, not sure why Jonathan calls it rubbery.

It's got very positive action/click and it's literally hard/flat (can't prick it with a finger nail or anything like you could say, rubber buttons on TV remotes). I'm very satisfied with the hardware, the app could use some work but it's also not hard to replace with an alternative (it's most important function does work flawlessly, audio routing to speakers).

The silicon keychain holder also has a slit for attaching it to headphone cords rather than a keychain, won't work with thicker cords tho. Works fine with my V-moda & Etymotic cables but not some of the other thicker cables I have (nor my Beyerdynamics, not that I use those outside).

Yes, Tasker integration is already in there. Not tried it yet. Other connected apps are Waze, Viber, Automateit, Tiny flashlight, barcode scanner, maps, chrome, lastpass, dolphin.

This is in addition to things like mute, pictures, video, open an app etc.

I don't think this review tells the whole story. For that, take a look at the comments on the Pressy Kickstarter page where what seems to be a majority of backers are expressing disappointment, if not outright rage, towards the product and its creator, Nimrod. I am a Kickstarter backer and received two Pressy units yesterday -- they don't work at all with my LG G2. They are a total bust for me. So buyer beware, I guess.

On my Verizon LG G2, the phone thinks there is a headset plugged in and the Pressy won't function. And yes, I set the action to default to Pressy and select the Pressy icon when plugged in. Still nothing. Completely non-responsive.

Same here. Does not work on my att LG g2 either. It thinks headphones are plugged in. I am beyond annoyed.

Well, it is no fault of Pressy- it is just that the LG version of Android is already doing something when it sees "headphones" plugged in. I am going to guess that LG Android won't be the only one with issues either...

The app could use some work, but it works fine on my Nexus 5, the Kickstarter saw some delays (what KS campaign doesn't?) but otherwise it's like the 4th or 5th KS I'm glad to have backed.

Interesting, and obviously very similar looking. I'm curious about the build quality and especially the software needed, since the comments on that page don't convey a lot of confidence about the source. Thanks. {Jonathan}

The Pressy app isn't anything special, it bugs out at times, the UI is nice tho... The crucial thing it does accomplish tho (beyond setting shortcuts thru the button) is routing audio over speakers despite having Pressy plugged in.... Most phones would decide to send audio thru the jack when they sense something there, duh. I imagine there's other apps or ways of accomplishing that tho.

The Pressy app isn't anything special, it bugs out at times, the UI is nice tho... The crucial thing it does accomplish tho (beyond setting shortcuts thru the button) is routing audio over speakers despite having Pressy plugged in.... Most phones would decide to send audio thru the jack when they sense something there, duh. I imagine there's other apps or ways of accomplishing that tho.

I'm a Kickstarter backer of Pressy as well and think the device is very well constructed but the app is kinda buggy. It's responsiveness to button presses is either great or very slow, and you never know which it will be, so sometimes it turns on the flashlight (for example) instantly, other times nothing happens so you press it again, then a minute later both actions occur and the light goes on then off. On my Nexus 5 using it to play/pause audio is also very hit or miss. At one point it also started insisting the camera wasn't available, even though I wasn't using Pressy to control the camera at all - and the action I was trying to perform was turning on the flashlight. Since it wasn't 100% reliable I've removed my Pressy for now, but figure all of this will get fixed over the next couple of months as all the user feedback pours in. It's a great concept and will be a great device once the software works reliably.

One additional note: Pressy sits a lot flusher on my Nexus 5 than it does in the picture here on the Galaxy phone.

Since the "flashlight" is in reality the camera flash I expect it's accessed thru the camera API ... so if the camera API is non responsive ... the "flashlight" isn't going to work and the software will report the camera as being unavailable.

Yeah the app needs some work. My main issues are delayed reactions and/or my programmed action getting overridden by music controls when I've been using a music playback widget on the home screen (single press will all of a sudden do play/pause instead of flashlight etc).

I've been thinking of disabling all programmed actions on the Pressy app (using it solely for routing the audio to speakers when Pressy is present) and just programming shortcuts thru other apps that recognize headphone buttons (Tasker, Headset Button Control, etc). I'm betting it'll be smoother, just haven't had time to mess with it.

I'm also a Kickstarter backer. The functionality as of right now is extremely limited and it somehow disabled my proximity sensor while using the phone.
As of right now, it's sitting on top of my dresser collecting dust.

Loving mine. Works perfectly and has proven quite handy.

FYI, there's no effort involved in inserting it without hitting the button, as the button doesn't do anything until it's fully inserted anyway. Just push it into place and you're done. By the time it can recognize the button press, you've already removed your finger from the button.

Not on mine. If you press the button while inserting it, the app gives you an error message telling you to start over. It is a huge PITA to get it inserted without accidentally pressing the button. Then again, it does me no good anyway since it won't respond to presses on my Verizon LG G2.

Same here again. If you press it in and the button gets pressed it will ask you to insert it again.

If the button gets pressed AFTER you insert it. If it gets held down WHILE inserting it, no problem. I just tested this a bunch of times. Only got that error if I let go and then pressed it again.

I've taken it out a dozen times and never got that error, I did push it in from the edge each time tho, using a fingernail or pen not to press the button... It's not that hard unless you have a thick case.

I just did it five times in a row, with varying speeds, while firmly pressing down on the button. Never once did it ask me to reinsert it or even indicate that there was a problem. The only way I finally got that to happen was to let go, then press the button AGAIN while the pop-up was on screen asking me whether or not it was a Pressy.

Exactly, which is by far the easiest way to insert it. I think people are only having problems because they're overthinking it.

"Pressy is configured via a free app available through Google Play and activated via a QR/alphanumerical code on the package in which Pressy ships."

At least they backtracked when everyone flipped shit because they weren't going to put it in Google Play. The "DRM" is still stupid.

What DRM? You think the app should be free for everyone? Even people that didn't buy Pressy? That would mean they can use it with knockoffs... They've stated you can have it on multiple accounts etc. Seems perfectly fine to me, and the intention was always to have it at Play.

One of their guys misspoke on FB at some point, and Android Police took that and ran with it in their usual inflammatory way... I never even found out about the whole thing until after I had it, all their emails etc always said it'd be available on the Play store.

It is "OK," but I was disappointed to learn that I had to make a choice between touchless control and pressy on my Moto X. So for now I have it in my Nexus 7 (2013) tablet but can't say I'm using it that much.

My situation is the exact same. Pressy can't hold a candle to the Touchless Control feature of the Moto X (and variants). I was pretty disappointed when I received mine and it set my phone into a prompt loop asking to disable TC over and over. Now it just sits in my Nexus 7 (2013), barely used.

It's worth noting that the Kickstarter was TERRIBLY handled. Pressy was hugely delayed and went through multiple, significant, iterations between the campaign closing and actual product shipping. Communication to the Kickstarter backers about what was going on was almost non-existent and often raised more questions than answers. I decided it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to get refunded but if I had to do it all again, I'd skip it.

I agree it sucks that it disables TC (even tho I don't even have a Moto X). I disagree that the campaign was mismanaged. It was delayed like twice, and they sent out a whole bunch of emails over the months. The only major change was the design of the keychain/cord holder (an improvement in every way over the original one they showed). Delays are par for the course with Kickstarter campaigns, but at no point did I feel like they had disappeared. /shrug

I completely agree, I don't understand the criticism about lack of updates as they always sent out emails and updated their blog explaining what was going on and why. If people opted out of email updates or couldn't be bothered to visit the Pressy blog then that's on them.

It was delayed a couple of times so what? Non Kickstarter projects are constantly being delayed.

They also improved the design over this period, oh how dare they.

I accept the app does need some tweaking, but I'm sure that will come over time.

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It would be a very limited use to me. I think if I could do it seamlessly I would use it as like a save state button on a tablet while using emulators or something like that.

Mine works fine on my Nexus 4. Getting used to the responsiveness; haven't tweaked the sensitivity setting. Because of the beveled top edge of the Nexus 4, Pressy protrudes pretty dramatically from the device. But it hasn't been an issue so far.

I was a kickstarter backer as well and Pressy is working great for me. To those who say the functionality is limited right now, install AutomateIt and the Pressy extension for AutomateIt and you can perform a much wider range of functions.

The Pressy app right now lacks some of the functionality that was promised for the stretch goals, such as the Pressy to Talk or Pressy Sketch, but overall seems to work as advertised.

The campaign promised custom trigger recording with the AutomateIt plugin but that function was removed in the final release. AutomateIt says they decided to simplify things with pre-defined patterns. The custom trigger recording was the only reason why I backed Pressy in the first place, so I'm very disappointed.

Pressy also disables Touchless Controls on the Moto X which are actually pretty useful. The inconsistency with the app/button pushes makes losing Touchless controls a no go for me.

I'm very happy for the review. I pre-ordered one months ago and was beginning to think it was a scam. Hopefully, I'll get mine soon.

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I am still waiting to receive mine in the mail. but I want to know how I can have both Pressy !AND! a headset connected at the same time. That would be great.

I'm pretty impressed with how small it is. I was expecting much bigger. I wouldn't want it any smaller with a case. So far it has turned on in my pocket quite a few times but I'm still trying to figure out the settings. I though I set it to be less responsive but since I switched to the opposite I've had fewer problems with it. There is an option when you plug it in to choose Pressy only or Pressy with headphones. I'm still trying to figure out why that's an option unless they are talking about Bluetooth or something being used at the same time but I'm not sure what else an image of a pair of headphones would mean.

Sounds like a neat device, but it also seems that you need to disable (or surrender) features to add one. Not sure if the trade off is worth it to most consumers. In my case, I wouldn't use it mainly because it wouldn't mesh well with my otterbox. Plus from the comments above, it appears I would need to give up my oh-so-precious Touchless Controls on my Moto X. No way.

Props to these guys for the effort, though. Hopefully they can respond and fix people's issues in a timely manner. Especially with the extra dough funded beyond the stretch goals.

Pressy on my Nexus 5 does ok, though I have to only do the long button press patterns. If I do the short one it takes the first short button press as the whole pattern. Even with the limited functionality, being able to turn on bluetooth and dial my wife with pressy is really nice when trying to be a more responsible driver (at least not having to look at the phone).
I have also run into the issue with the camera not being available for turning on the flashlight (it seems that in order to use the led as a flashlight they system also has to activate something with the camera). Though I've run into the same issue with TeslaLED occasionally. For that issue I think that occasionally when turning off the flashlight it just doesn't shut down the process properly and so you have to restart before it will work again.

I am a kickstarter backer for this and have been disappointed at just about every step of the way.
I went ahead and disabled s-voice like it said, then I had to go disable google now, all to get the pressy to be the default action. So I have basically removed all of the voice controls that my phone came with, which I do use frequently, so I can have a hardware button that works some of the times? I re-activated the apps once the default was set, but things got weird with the default not sticking, so I had to turn them off again.
I ended up playing with it for a couple of hours and finally decided that it was not worth the loss of google now and s-voice. Maybe if they can find out how to fix that I'll check it out again, but probably not.

That's very disappointing. I don't guess I'll be ordering one, then. Although to be honest, the price would probably keep me away. $27 is outrageous for a 3.5mm plug, a pushbutton, and some relatively straightforward software, even if it wasn't buggy.

I'll have to agree - even $5 would have been a stretch IMO, but $27 is ludicrous.
I would have bought one at the aforementioned price point just to fiddle around with, but $27 buys a lot of great apps.

I never had to disable Google Now on my Nexus 5, never even touched it... I can still say Ok Google at the home screen ands invoke it with Pressy in. Not sure why it's causing a conflict for ya unless Samsung is changing the stock behavior when adding S Voice into the mix.

Same here with my Nexus 5; I don't understand why people with LG and Samsung phones are having such a hard time.

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Doesn't work at all on my Moto X, even when I disable Touchless Control. I'm going to try it on my N7, but as of now I'm extremely disappointed.

I got it to work on my Moto X. The Pressy device and software worked as promised. The configuration process on the Moto X was a pain. Since I value the Touchless Control capability of the X I removed Pressy and reinstalled TC.

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I am a Kickstarter backer as well. Went for the gusto and got the gold (x2). Looks great and works fine for the most part on my HTC M8. Some delays from time to time, but that probably has more to do with how Android handles memory management. I have had to restart the phone once or twice when the Pressy app decides to vapor lock.

Have not tried the second one with the wife's Samsung S5 yet. Might not from what I an hearing about S-Voice and Google Now, though she does not use those.

All I had to do was disable Svoice and it started working. I don't use it anyway. Now if it had been Google Now, I would have just been like forget it.

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Note to mobile device manufacturers, stick a programmable extra button on your devices and these things won't be needed :)

Posted From My Awesome Moto G

The functionality out of the box is not worth the entry price unless you really hate having to turn on your screen to do things. The only reason this is worth it is because of the Tasker integration. With that you can basically accomplish anything that you can do with your phone and trigger it with a few presses of the button. That being said, I have been having an issue with mine where I attempt 1 long press and it immediately registers as a short press instead. This is intermittent, but more often than not the short press is immediately triggered instead of waiting to see how long the button is held down, which has nothing to do with the setting for response time. Essentially preventing me from being able to reliably use any trigger that starts with a long press. I'm fairly dissapointed that it's not more reliable after the delays due to quality issues. Otherwise using it on my Nexus 5 works as expected and again, it's extremely useful if used with Tasker.

Any delayed responses when using it with Tasker? I've been meaning to clear out the Pressy app actions and try Tasker instead, Pressy app seems to get lost in limbo sometimes... It's like they didn't set priorities right on it or something.

My Tasker actions seem to be fine, however, I have the Tasker ones set to only run if the screen is on. I've noticed the issue with the long press being registered as a short press when the screen is off. This may or may not be related, as I haven't done any testing to see if it happens when the screen is on the way it does when it's not, so I can't really speak to that. I did mention above about kicking off actions with the screen off, but with the type and complexity of what I'm doing with the Tasker tasks that I'm executing I thought it best to only allow them to trigger when the screen was on and I can trigger them without looking at the phone or having shortcuts to asks all over my home screen. So I still like it and continue to use it mainly for triggering those tasks.

Can you use it to mute all sounds with a button press, and unmute them with a second? I don't mean muting the current call or notification, I mean turning all sounds off until I decide to turn sounds back on.

The Palm Treo had the capability to mute / unmute with an simple, external switch 10 years ago, and I'm pretty sure the iPhone has always had it. It's ridiculous that no (or at least no major) Android phone offers the feature. And to those who are going to attack me, no, turning on the phone, and then using the volume button or an on-screen icon isn't nearly the same thing. With an external switch, I can reach into my pocket and mute the phone without even taking it out of my pocket, which can be very useful in certain social situations.

Yes it does have a toggle mute option though from what I can see it only toggles the ringtone and notifications, not the media or alarm volumes.

Like every other toggle/widget that invokes silent/vibrate modes, that's how it's supposed to work... Makes sense logically, that way alarms (like to get up) are never missed if you forget to kick it out of silent, and you don't have to fiddle with the volume if you're in silent mode but using headphones etc.

Got mine and tried it with my Galaxy 5S. Never got it to work properly. Had to turn off S Voice and Google Search, and it still doesn't recognize Pressy, it thinks it's headphones, or pops up the dialog to select between the 3 choices. So it's pointless. Wanted to be able to access thinks from the press of a button, but it hasn't happened after spending an hour installing, deleting, reinstalling, turning off other apps which deletes their updates... PAIN. So disappointed.

Buahaha, these are finally shipping? I've had my Chinese knockoff for almost 4 months. Bought two for less than 1 pressy and I really only use the one on my tablet. Works great.

Purely a personal view, but this is the kind of product made for late-night shopping channels. It solves a problem that never existed.

I played with mine, and actually had less problems than expected, given everything I read on Google Play and elsewhere. I also found out that the when you connect it, or any headset, on the prompt for the three options, the "Pressy on Headphones" option ( in the middle) makes you use the headset/headphone button as the Pressy one. It also seems to work well. I tried it on a Nexus 5 phone as well as on my Galaxy Note 10.1 (Original one, running CyanogenMod 10.2)

This allows for functionality without needing to power on or look at the display. No need to even remove it from your pocket.

Everything here, except for the last paragraph, just sounds like PR copy.
Anyway, using a Galaxy S5 this works....usually. I had to disable S Voice, but not Google Now to get it work in the first place. I have set it to turn on the flashlight with one short press, camera with two short presses, and toggle Wifi and Bluetooth (one long, one short). When the screen is off, if I press it one short for the flashlight, this is successful about half the time. After pressing the button everytime, long or short, the phone vibrates to indicate that the button was pressed. This doesn't always happen.
Long story short, the initial excitement for this wore off quickly and it's just not all that useful if it's not going to work 100% of the time.

I thought at fist that this was a spoof or hoax. But apparently it does exist. Presumably it uses the mic input to do a morse code like input which is decoded along the lines of speech recognition. Ingenious!