How to Use Bixby on a Samsung Galaxy

Never heard of Bixby? It's your Samsung phone's virtual assistant

Hand holding Samsung phone with Bixby on the screen

 Samsung

Having a personal assistant may be impossible for many people, but with Samsung's Bixby, you have a virtual assistant that lives right inside your Android phone or tablet. To use the Bixby app, you must have a Samsung phone since it isn't available through the Play Store

Information in this article applies to the following versions of Samsung Galaxy devices: Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, S9+, S10, S10+, S10e, Note 8, and Note 9.

What Is Bixby?

Bixby is Samsung's digital assistant. Like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google's Google Assistant, Bixby is an app on your phone\tablet that is there to make your life easier. By talking or typing to Bixby, you can open apps, take pictures, check your social media, double-check your calendar, and plenty more.

Released with the Galaxy S8 in 2017, Bixby is only available on Samsung devices running Android 7 (Nougat) and above. This means that if you're using an older Samsung phone or an older version of Android, you won't have access to it. Bixby is also available on some Samsung tablets, and it is the driving force behind the Galaxy Home smart speaker.

How to Set up Bixby

Before you can ask Bixby to look up movie times, you'll need to set it up. This should only take a few minutes. All you need to do is launch Bixby by hitting the Bixby button (the lower left button on your Galaxy phone) and then following the on-screen commands.

Screenshots of the Bixby initial setup.

After you've set up Bixby the first time you'll be able to launch it using the Bixby button, or by saying "Hey Bixby". 

If you don't already have one, you'll be prompted to set up a Samsung account. Altogether it shouldn't take more than five minutes, most of which is spent repeating phrases on the screen so that Bixby can learn your voice.

How to Use Bixby

Screenshots of setting up Bixby voice commands.

Using Bixby is pretty simple: You just talk to your phone. You can set it for voice wake up if you'd like to just launch the app by saying "Hi Bixby" or you can hold down the Bixby button while speaking. You can even type to Bixby if that's more your style.

In order for Bixby to complete a command, it needs to know what app you want to use, and what you need it to do; "Open Google Maps and Navigate to Baltimore" for instance.

If Bixby doesn't understand what you are asking, or if you're asking it to use an incompatible message, the app will tell you as much. While starting out with Bixby can be frustrating due to her not properly recognizing your voice, or getting confused, the more you use your digital assistant the more capable it becomes.

How to Disable the Bixby Button

While Bixby is a handy digital assistant, you may decide that you don't want the app to launch every time you hit the button. You might not use Bixby at all opting for Google Assistant or no digital assistant at all.

You can't completely disable Bixby, but you can make it more difficult to accidentally triggering it.

  1. Go to Settings > Advanced features > Bixby key.

  2. Select Double press to open Bixby.

    Screenshots to change Bixby key settings.

How to Customize the Sound of Bixby Voice

When you ask Bixby questions, it will answer back to you with the answer. Of course, if Bixby isn't speaking your language, or you hate the way it sounds, you're going to have a bad time.

Which is why it's handy to know how to change the language and speaking style of Bixby. You can opt between English, Korean, or Chinese. In terms of how Bixby speaks, you have four options: Stephanie, John, Julia, or Lisa.

  1. Launch Bixby Home by using the Bixby button on your Galaxy phone. 

  2. Tap the overflow icon in the upper righthand corner of the screen. (It looks like three vertical dots).

  3. Tap Settings.

    Navigating to Bixby language settings.
  4. Tap Language and voice style

  5. Tap Language to select what language you prefer.

  6. Select your desired language then go back to previous screen.

  7. Under Voice style, choose the voice you prefer. (Stephanie, John, Julia, or Lisa)

    Setting up voice and language for Bixby.

How to Customize Bixby Home

Bixby Home is the main hub for Bixby. It's from here that you can access Bixby's settings, Bixby History, and everything Bixby Home can connect with.

You can get updates from a variety of apps by enabling cards. This means you can customize exactly what is shown in Bixby Home like upcoming events on your schedule, the weather, local news, and even updates from Samsung Health about your activity level. You can also display cards from connected apps like Linkedin or Spotify.

  1. Open Bixby Home on your phone. 

  2. Tap the Overflow icon (it looks like three vertical dots)

  3. Tap Cards.

  4. Tap the toggle to enable the Cards you want to display in Bixby Home. 

    Screenshots on adding card to Bixby.

Awesome Bixby Voice Commands to Try Out

Bixby Voice gives you access to great commands that you can use to ask your phone to complete a variety of tasks. These include things like taking a selfie or opening up navigation while you are driving so that you can stay hands-free. 

Various commands that Bixby can understand.

Trying to figure out exactly what Bixby can, and can't do can be a bit of a hassle and it is a learning experience. With this in mind, we've got a few suggestions so you can see what Bixby can do. 

  • Camera: Say "Take a Selfie," "Set a timer for X seconds," or "rotate the camera."
  • Calendar: Ask what is on your schedule, or say "Add an event to my calendar."
  • Directions: Navigate to x location, or change destination to location. 
  • Music: Say "Play Music," "Stop Music," or "Play x song."
  • Calls: Say "Call 911," "Accept the call with speaker," or "Call X."