Not everyone likes that Samsung uses hardware buttons on their phones so let’s talk about how we can disable these buttons on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.
Google has been trying to get people to use software navigation buttons in Android for a while now and if they had their way, I think they would force Samsung to get rid of the capacitive buttons. Sure, Google could get rid of the ability but then they burn their bridge with Samsung and that’s not something they want to do right now.
Google also wanted to move Android away from micro SD card slots and removable batteries as well and Samsung has finally started to do this. So it’s possible that the South Korean tech giant might get rid of their capacitive touch buttons one of these days.
Until then, we have to make the tweaks ourselves and thankfully Google makes Android so customizable that it is possible for us to remove the functionality of these buttons. I do want to give a little warning though. . .if you disable the functionality of the buttons then you’ll want to have an alternative in place. I advise that you set something up(like software nav buttons or pie controls) beforehand and if you don’t know how to do this then check out this tutorial here. Right now I have pie controls set up with the hardware buttons disabled and I love it. Not everyone likes this though and you might enjoy the traditional software buttons instead.
Either way, I’ll go over all of these options but for now, let’s talk about how to disable the functionality of the hardware buttons on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.
Note – Due to software issues, this will likely only work with Marshmallow (and not Nougat).
Galaxy S6 Disable Capacitive Buttons
- Root the Galaxy S6
- Download and Install ES File Explorer
- Launch ES File Explorer
- Swipe in From the Left Side of the Screen
- Scroll Down to the Tools Section
- Enable Root
- Grant Root Access to ES File Explorer
- Browse to /system/usr/keylayout
- Tap on the Generic.kl File
- Tap on Text(to open as a text file)
- Then Select Your Text Editor of Choice(I edit with ES Note Editor)
- Tap the 3-Dot Menu at the Top Right
- Tap on the ‘Edit’ Option
- Locate Any Keys Labeled “Menu”, “Back”, “Home” and “App Switch”
- Put a Pound Sign( # ) and a Space in Front of Each of Those Lines
- Tap the ‘Back’ Arrow at the Top Left
- Tell ES File Explorer to Save the File
- Reboot the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge
So you will need to have root access to the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge so follow those tutorials if you need help with that. If you can’t root it with CF AutoRoot then PingPong Root is the tool that will help. So, once you root, I would recommend that you install a custom recovery on the Galaxy S6. Once you have that setup, then I would recommend that you create your first Nandroid backup of the Galaxy S6 with TWRP or whatever custom recovery that you chose to go with. I just want you to have a backup that can be restored from just in case something goes wrong or if you don’t like the changes we’re making here today.
I’ve tested this and it works for me, but it might be slightly different on your variant or you might make a mistake during the edit of the file. Either way, you should always have a Nandroid backup before you make tweaks like this to your Galaxy S6. So once all that has been done, go ahead and install a root explorer application. I recommend ES File Explorer because it’s the one I’ve been using for years and it has all of the features that I need out of a file explorer. After you install it though, you’ll need to enable the root feature and after you enable it, you’ll be prompted by SuperSU asking whether or not you want it to have root access. Confirm this and then we can proceed.
You’ll want to browse to the /system/usr/keylayout directory from within ES File Explorer(or your root explorer of choice). When you get here, you’ll see a file toward the top called Generic.kl and we want to edit it. So in ES File Explorer, you need to tap on that file and then tell the application that you want to view it as a text file. Once you are viewing the contents of this file, go into edit mode as I mentioned in the guide above and then you’ll want to read through the file contents. For me, I found the following keys that I needed to comment out(by comment out, I mean to put a pound sign in front of the line) – 127, 139, 158, 172 and 254. Each of these keys had the name Home, Back, Menu or App Switch labeled so I commented all of them out. However, these could be different for you, just make sure that you read through the file and get them all.
Once those keys are changed, then you can tap the back arrow button at the top left of the screen and ES File Explorer will ask if you want to save this file. Confirm the save and then reboot your Galaxy S6/S6 Edge. However, be ready to not have any functionality out of those buttons when you reboot. Pressing the Back button, the Home button or the Recents/Multitasking buttons will not do anything here. You could leave the keys that say “Home” alone and then the home button would still have functionality if this is something that you would be interested in.
If you notice that the lights still activate then head over to a tutorial I wrote about how to disable the backlight for the Galaxy S6’s capacitive buttons.