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.
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.
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 from a source other than Google Play). We also recommend using your custom recovery to make a NAND backup.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.