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The first 5 things to turn off in the Galaxy S9's software

Samsung's software on the Galaxy S9 and S9+ is super-powerful and filled with features, but it needs a little tweaking to harness that power for good rather than annoyance. There are lots of things turned on by default on these phones that isn't very useful or only appeals to a small set of users — and that's why we have a list of the first things you should turn off as soon as you get your Galaxy S9 or S9+ out of its box.

Disable parts (or all) of Bixby

Bixby

Look, Bixby has improved a lot since it was first announced. But it still has a long way to go before it's going to be considered as something you use every day. Thankfully Samsung has realized this, and given you several options for disabling part, or all, of Bixby on your Galaxy S9.

The one thing most people will want to do is disable the Bixby button on the side of the phone, which is very easy to accidentally hit and is always distracting when you do. Open Bixby Home by swiping over to it on your home screen, tap the gear icon in the top-right corner and tap the toggle for "Bixby Key." Now, pressing the Bixby button does nothing — but if you want, you can still press-and-hold it for Bixby Voice commands.

If you also want to disable Bixby Voice, you can stay in the Bixby Home settings and look for the toggle next to "Bixby Voice" — tap that, and now even long-pressing the Bixby button on your phone will do nothing.

If you don't want anything to do with Bixby at all on your Galaxy S9, make the two above tweaks and then turn off Bixby Home entirely. To do this, long-press on an empty spot of your home screen, swipe to the right to reveal the Bixby Home panel and tap the toggle in the top-right corner. Now, Bixby is off for good.

How to completely disable Bixby

Replace Samsung's keyboard

Samsung's keyboard has prediction and swiping algorithms that just feel antiquated, which may lead to lots of mistakes when you first get your phone. Don't worry, it's not just you! Longtime Samsung keyboard users have undoubtedly gotten used to how its stock keyboard works, and maybe you will over time also. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't look at your other options, because there are great replacement keyboards out there.

Our short list of great keyboards includes Google's own Gboard, another big-name player SwiftKey, and a couple of lesser-known choices from Chrooma and Fleksy — give one, or all four, a try and see if any work better for you than Samsung's keyboard.

You can manage and switch keyboards by going into Settings, General management and Language and input. You can also quickly switch keyboards anytime you have a keyboard open in an app by tapping the small keyboard icon in the navigation bar.

Best Keyboard for Android

Turn off the Edge screen

Samsung's curved displays are gorgeous and provide a functional benefit in that they make the phone narrower. But the "Edge screen" software is ... questionably useful. It's also turned on by default. If you like the utilities it offers, that's great — but much of what it does is either a gimmick or easily duplicated somewhere else on the home screen. If you don't find it all that useful, here's how you turn it off:

  1. You can recognize it as the small grey tab, roughly two-thirds up the side of the screen.
  2. Tap the gear icon in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Tap the blue toggle switch in the top-right corner, so it turns grey.
  4. Press the home button and the Edge screen has been turned off.

  1. To turn the Edge screen back on, enter your Settings, Display, Edge screen and tap the toggle for Edge panels.

Hide apps you don't use but can't uninstall

Going to call this "one" thing to turn off, but really it's a lot of things. Samsung's launcher lets you "hide" apps from view, which can help you manage the several duplicate and unwanted apps that Samsung bundles that you can't uninstall or even disable in most cases. Even though they stay installed, you don't have to look at them in your app drawer. This way you could hide Samsung's Calendar, Email and Contacts apps, for example — leaving just whatever apps you installed to replace them instead. Here's how it works:

  1. Long-press on a blank area of your home screen.
  2. Tap Home screen settings on the right side.
  3. Scroll down and tap Hide apps.
  4. Any time you want to bring an app back to view, repeat these steps and uncheck those hidden apps.

You'll want to do this after you've fully set up your phone, selected default apps and made sure you've managed any settings you may need to change in the bundled apps. Otherwise you'll have to load up your home screen settings again and un-hide an app just to open it and change something. This is really a system designed to hide apps you never want to use.

Remove all of the quick settings you won't use

The quick settings toggles available in the notification shade are immensely useful, but that doesn't mean you have to keep them the way Samsung has it set up out of the box. By default you have very odd options like NFC, sync and mobile data in there, which aren't things that you're likely to toggle all the time. Instead, rearrange these quick settings so that you have access to the ones you do want and none of the ones you don't.

  1. Lower your notification shade, then swipe again to expand the quick settings.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner and tap Button order.
  3. On the top, you have your active icons; on the bottom are available icons.
  4. If you add more icons than can be held on one page, a second page will automatically be generated.
  5. Note that the first six icons in the list are the ones you can see with just a single swipe on the notification shade.
  6. When you're finished, just tap Done and your quick settings are set!

You can rearrange these icons at any time, and even set a different button grid if you want to see fewer or more icons in each panel. The choice is yours.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

60 Comments
  • I disable much of the Google apps that are duplicated and also go into developer options and turn off animations.
    I use Bixby often and enjoy the functionality of on device management that no other assistant comes close to. I understand though that if you have poor physical motor skills or maybe Parkinson's that accidently hitting the Bixby button may be a concern and a necessity to turn off...
  • Same here. Most of the Google apps are first to go. I never use Google Assistant. I rarely use Bixby. I use it when I want to change a phone setting and I don't know where it is in the settings. LMAO about the button. So true.
  • I dont see anything special about Bixby over other assistants?
    If you enjoy it great, if not, thats fine. It's not exactly special
  • Bixby lets you voice control almost every systemic setting on your phone and does well in opening most if not all third party apps.
    No other assistant goes as far.
    If you want assistance with the outside world though, Google is the route to take.
  • Yes! I'm trying out Google Assistant for a bit, and I asked it to restart my phone. GA told me that it can't do that, but Bixby surprised me and did it. Bixby's replies also seem a bit faster. Bixby is definitely not the best out there, but it does show some potential. I guess everyone else can wait for Google to invent these features in Android P lol. For as much as people dump on Samsung, they seem pretty excited when Google gifts them with features Samsung has had for years.
  • Just a point of clarity... GA does handle systemic function on the Pixel. I'm sure Samsung would want Bixby to handle these functions on the Galaxy line instead of GA. Makes natural sense.
  • GA: Turn off the edge screen.
    GA responds: To lock your phone, blah blah blah.. Bixby: Turn off the edge screen.
    Bixby responds: All right, I've turned the edge panels off.
  • So you're asking Google Assistant to turn off a Samsung specific setting so of course it's not going to work.
  • Good point. GA does work for common functions like "Turn down the brightness". But since Samsung phones have so many unique features, it's nice to be able to use Bixby instead of searching through the settings.
  • Die Bixby, Die. ......
    And take the Edge Screen with you.
  • Why not just buy a different phone?
  • No doubt. Stupid Bixby! Stupid Edge screen! Stupid small battery! Stupid Spen! Stupid Samsung! But the phone is so awesome!
  • I am seriously looking at the S9 Active for the larger battery and especially for the FLAT ________________ screen! No curves means it's much easier to find a good tempered glass screen protector. Glad Bixby can be turned off or the button remapped....but I would prefer that there were NO Bixby button at all....especially if I never intend to use it. So we will see when it is released.
  • Wierd enough, I use all these features almost daily. But most people might find useful to disable them
  • Edge Screen is one of my favorite features. I have 5 quick access apps, device management, and favorite contact sections. I guess this guide is for those that want a Samsung device and as close to the stock Android experience as they can get.
  • Mine too! So convent when you want quick access while you’re in another app.
  • I've got nothing against having a choice of apps and services.
    But it should be a choice.
    ALL apps should be deletable.
  • Agreed. I like that Samsung didn't force us into their services, but it is annoying that I can only disable unused apps and not uninstall them.
  • People still fall for this one? Uninstalling a system app will not help at all since the /system partition is read-only. Even app updates are stored in a separate partition, and those are deleted when you disable a built-in app. Unless you're rooting and are installing system-level apps (Viper4Android, for instance), there really is no benefit to uninstalling a system app vs disabling it. You won't gain any usable storage from uninstalling it as the /system partition is a fixed size.
  • Finally! Someone who understands how it works.
  • Yes since Android 4 I think this is the case.
    Still don't understand why some apps can't be deleted?
    As you stated there is no practical difference to the UI so why not let you delete the app?
  • One reason could be that it makes things more difficult to tell if the /system partition has been modified (which could affect SafetyNet, OTA update scripts, etc). Any app in the /system partition though would not be able to be uninstalled because that partition is read-only. Yeah, the easiest solution would be to make preinstalled apps part of the /data partition, but perhaps there's other reasons why that isn't the case currently.
  • Yes I wonder why some apps are in the system partition in the first place.
    Wouldn't it be easier to add them to the priv-app partion? App permission can be added after downloading.
    Wouldn't this make updating the UI simpler?
  • I hate to bring this up but that is EXACTLY how pre-installed manufacturer apps were on Windows Phones, it meant that they all apps bar a few core ones could be removed and reinstalled whenever the user wanted.
  • Thanks, I didn't really understand that. I should have assumed that was how it works, but I just assumed all the belly-aching was based on fact. That makes me feel better!
  • I agree about being able to remove apps you don't want...to a point...they should make default keyboards removable ONLY after you have installed another one and made it the default. Otherwise, you could sort of screw yourself.
  • The edge screen is great. I like to keep my home screen empty except for the google search bar. I keep my most used app in the edge panel.
  • Similar here. I have one row of folders and no Google search bar. I put the frequently used apps in the edge screen, and frequently used contacts.
  • Hide the apps you don't want to use? Did the S9 remove the ability to disable them? Disabling them is smarter, because they can't run.
  • The article said hide apps that you have disabled so that you don't see them in the drawer. I think that's great, I just can't seem to do it on my S7 though.
  • Well, considering the S6 I had for work had Peel Remote pre-installed, it would re-enable itself, having been disabled by me, after every update to the app. So it seems that disabling apps doesn't work, only rooting and freezing or uninstalling the apps seems to work.
  • I never had the S6. Disabling apps, including Peel Remote, always worked for me. The S6 was a funky phone, though, so I believe you. The S4 and S6 were both odd phones from Samsung.
  • Honestly, you don't need to follow any of these steps. Bixby has features Google assistant doesn't, so having both would be ideal. Use "hey google" for GA and a long press on the Bixby button for Bixby. You might be able to get voice activation to work for both, but it was hit/miss for me. Edge Screen is one of the best features on a Samsung phone. Keyboard is personal preference. I was new to Android with my S8+, so I wanted to give the stock features a try. I might try Gboard, but I don't feel like it's necessary at this point. Instead of hiding the apps you don't want on the home screen, you should go into the app's settings and disable it so it never runs in the background. Long press on the app icon, tap App Info, tap disable. I can understand not wanting to have a lot of toggles in your notification area, but if you use NFC (and you should start) the NFC toggle is a god send. Enable it only when you need it and conserve battery when you don't. The Sync button is an odd one though
  • Articles like this are so subjective even though I would do most of what the article recommend I don't see why anyone should do these things before they have tried them for themselves.
  • Why are you telling us what to do with our phone.
  • Just because you don't like certain things about the S9, doesn't mean other people won't. Stop projecting your opinion on others.
  • You will too right?
  • I'd turn off all of Samsung's features and keep most of the Google apps as I'm a Google lover and won't use any other apps and services but thankfully I won't ever have to do all these 5 things as I won't be buying an S9 or any other Samsung phone as I'm not only a lover of Google but a stock Android lover too so as much as I love the look of the S9, Samsung's gimmicks err features and their bloated software keeps me away and only Google can offer me what I want and that is a fast, clean, smooth and bloat free Android experience and Samsung's software just isn't my cup of tea.
  • Your comment seems to be the same on every Samsung article.
  • Yeah he loves reminding us about clean, pure Android, as if the rest of us couldn’t buy the same phone if we chose to. So pretentious. What these folks fail to get, is that if you don’t use Google apps and services, it also becomes bloatware.
  • TBH I also prefer stock Android but I won't try pushing that onto others, if you prefer Samsung and their launcher and apps who am I to tell you any different. However I do think that some of the things that Samsung adds is extremely useful.
  • I'm not trying to pushy opinion into others in just stating my preference for stock Android and Google apps and services and that I'll have pure Android and Google out of the box and wouldn't have to "turn off" or "disable" anything.
  • No, you just love to fill up comments with the same statements of Google and pure Android devotion over and over and over again -- almost always in really long run-on sentences.
  • Periods are free. Try using a few.
  • So your opinion is then irrelevant.
  • 1 - Disable 90% of Google's bloatware.
    2 - Install a Black Theme.
    3 - Install another launcher and keyboard
    4 - Install an app to remap the Bixby button (instead of disabling it).
    5 - Disable Samsung apps you won't use.
  • 1, 2, and 5 is what I do. The Samsung keyboard is fine for me. I switched back to it after Swiftkey got too bloated. And although I rarely use Bixby, I don't feel compelled to do anything else with the button. If I could remap it to launch Alexa, I'd do that.
  • Coming from the V20 I miss my second screen. So the Edge screen is a great replacement for that. Love it
  • Gboard prediction is horrendous!
  • I think Andrew Martonik and Beno51079 are the same person. Both Google cult members. If it's not from Google, it's inferior.
  • I've only looked at this article today and I somewhat agree with you.
  • I'm a member of the Google fan club yes but I'm not saying that anything outside of Google is inferior, I've already said how much I love the design of the current S9 and S8 and especially the Note 8, it's just I don't like Samsung's software which I've already said is too bloated and I won't use any of their gimmicks err features as they're not useful to me and yeah if its not Pixel software (pure Android and Google) them I'm not interested as update and all the other advantages of owning a Pixel 2 XL and Nexus before them are extremely important to me and only the Pixel 2 XL and Google can offer me those promises and I'll gladly pay a premium for it and I like the fact that the Pixel 2 XL isn't made of glass and is far more durable and the screen is not as bad as people make out and Google fixed most of the issues and unless you you go looking for it the blue tint isn't really an issue and wireless charging isn't essential and having 128GB of built-in storage is more than enough for me, both phones are great and most importantly they both run Android but my preference is Google apps, Google services and Google's vision of Android.
  • I can see one thing that isn't at all important to you: a period. I'm half convinced you're just faking being a Google fanboy, and you're only here to troll.
  • I'm a Google and Pixel fanboy just expressing my opinion, I never said Samsung's phones were bad, it's just I'm an Android and Google purist. It's not my problem if you have a problem with my opinion, and your "period" jibe doesn't bother me, I like what I like and you like what you like, let's leave it at that.
  • Perhaps he doesn't use periods because he genuinely talks like that, able to say it all in one breath?
  • Lol. Havent found the need to do any of this. I'd leave them all on. Edge screen is my most used feature as well.
  • Turn off as many google services as possible, most of them are just battery sucking do nothing apps.
  • Personally the title should really be renamed from "The first 5 things to turn off in the Galaxy S9's software" to "The first 5 things I turn off in the Galaxy S9's software" seeing as this is an opinion piece.
  • No thanks. I buy Galaxy phones for the Galaxy experience. This includes the hardware and software. Why would this site allow this opinion piece (written by someone who obviously prefers another phone) to be posted anywhere other than the forums?
  • Imagine the Sam-fckaz preinstalling Facebook n WhatsApp of all things 😏. Those two damn apps being considered as system apps, so gross. Disabled 1st time i hold the phone