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On, off, on, off… that’s pretty much all your power button does. You press it to switch your Android device into standby, you switch it back on again… and occasionally you switch it off or reboot by long pressing and tapping the appropriate menu option.

As hardware button goes, the power button is redundant most of the time, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Let’s take a look at how the power button can be adjusted.

Changing How You Use the Power Button

Before proceeding, however, spend a few moments just thinking about this. You’ve spent years using a smartphone with a power button that turns the screen on and off. We’re now suggesting that you should demand — and get — more from the button than this.

It may take a little bit of getting used to, but this small pivot in how you use your smartphone’s (or tablet’s) power button can prove to be a considerable benefit. Steps are speeded up, and you save time and effort performing what should already be simple tasks.

One thing to note: you cannot remap the power button on Android without first rooting your device Take Control: Android Rooting Guide Take Control: Android Rooting Guide As of the writing of this guide, approximately 80% of the world's population owns their own cellphone. Out of those, 1.08 billion are smartphones. Read More .

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Easy Power Button Remapping for Rooted Devices

Making the power button more useful depends on exactly how you feel it can be reused. For instance, you might use your Android smartphone as a camera regularly, and the power button can be remapped as a focus button.

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You’ll need the Button Remapper app from XDA-Developers.com to do this, and you’ll also need to enable Unknown Sources in Settings > Security before installing it (this will enable you to install an app that has been downloaded How to Download an APK from Google Play to Bypass Restrictions How to Download an APK from Google Play to Bypass Restrictions Need to get your hands on the installable APK file for an app from Google Play? We got you covered. Read More from a source other than Google Play). We also recommend using your custom recovery to make a NAND backup What Is A Nandroid Backup and How Exactly Does It Work? What Is A Nandroid Backup and How Exactly Does It Work? You need that backup at the ready. Read More .

After downloading, install the APK file and grant Superuser permissions to Button Remapper. Once opened, you’ll have the option to configure four functions. Tap the first to open it, and set the Action and State options using the drop-down menu.

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For instance, to launch the camera, set the Action to Camera and the State to Wake.

When you’re done, click Apply. Your phone will perform a “hot reboot” and once done, you’ll be able to use the power button as specified. Should your intended change not work, you should reopen the app and disable it. As long as you have made a NAND backup, you should be able to tweak and adjust these button mappings as much as you like until you find a configuration that suits you.

Make the Power Button Useful with Xposed

For the best results tweaking the Android power button, you’ll need to install the Xposed framework Customize Your Phone Without Flashing a ROM With The Xposed Framework Customize Your Phone Without Flashing a ROM With The Xposed Framework It is common knowledge that the best way to customize your Android device is to flash it with a new ROM. It is also wrong. Read More . With this setup, you can then install the APM+ module.

APM+ enables you to totally rewrite the power button menu. Rather than seeing options such as Power off and Restart, you can add things like Flashlight, Settings, Screen record and even set a Quick dial number.

If you’ve just got started with Xposed after following our tutorial, you can install APM+ by opening the Xposed Installer, and tapping Download. Use the search tool to find APM+, open the description, swipe across the Versions and tap Download. You’ll need to restart your phone to apply the package, but wait until a Notification appears instructing you to do this.

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With APM+ now installed, open the app drawer and launch it. Here you’ll find a list of menu items that can be long-tapped and dragged into position, as per your preference. You can also click the + button to add items, long-press and select Remove to discard them, and click Reset to revert your changes to a post-installation state.

When you’re happy, tap the check button to confirm and back out of the app. Hold the power button and you’ll see the quick access menu options available. Being able to quickly toggle connectivity or ring your significant other with minimum taps and swipes is really useful, and it makes the power button relevant.

Is the Power Button Becoming Obsolete?

Now, as useful as having the power button display all of those options is, doing so is kind of going against trend. Over the past few years, smartphone manufacturers have been reducing our reliance on the power button, using sensors to wake the phone when we open the case or take the device out of our pocket, and employing user interface tricks to wake the phone when the display is tapped or swiped.

Such apps are also useful when the power button is broken Lock/Unlock Your Android Device Without The Power Button – No Root Required! Lock/Unlock Your Android Device Without The Power Button – No Root Required! Whether your power button is broken or you just don't want to press it constantly, there is a way to turn your Android smartphone or tablet on and off without using it. Read More . In fact, we’re getting to the stage where the only real reason for a power button is to restart the phone or boot into safe mode Dealing with System Problems in Android: Safe Mode, Factory Reset & Restoring Backups Dealing with System Problems in Android: Safe Mode, Factory Reset & Restoring Backups If you've run into a problem on your Android phone or tablet, this method just might help you save it. Read More .

What do you think? Do you want to make better use of the power button, or are you happy to see it phased out? Tell us in the comments.

  1. Daniel Escasa
    October 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    On my stock, non-rooted ASUS FonePad running 5.x, I can long-press on the power button to power off (du'h!), reboot, or put the phone in airplane mode. The last option is particularly useful to me

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