Modern phones currently have so many different shortcuts for all kinds of things. My current phone lets me double push the home key to get to the camera. Prior to that, I had a phone where you only had to twist your wrist twice to open the camera, and if I did a chopping motion I could turn on my flashlight. These are great tricks to get to what you need quickly, but most of the time, the buttons on our phones are regulated to just opening the camera or adjusting volume. Button Mapper looks to change all that by providing a way to change how the physical buttons on your phone behave.
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Setup for Button Mapper is pretty simple, but it does have a long list of permissions needed. The developer is pretty transparent in saying why they are needed (if you make the long press of your home key call home then permission is needed, for example). You are presented with a pretty extensive list of options, however customization beyond a physical home key (if you have one) and volume keys are locked in the free version.
Your options for customization are extensive. To start, you have to chose which key to customize, and then which shortcut you want: single tap, double tap, or long press. After that, you have to decide what you want each shortcut to do. The options are extensive. You can set shortcuts to open apps, or you can choose from a bunch of different options including:
- Home, back or recent apps
- Last app
- Execute any task in Tasker
- Turn screen off
- Toggle flashlight
- Quick settings
- Show notifications
- Power dialog
- Take screenshot
- Music: previous track, next track, and play/pause
- Adjust volume
- Mute volume
- Toggle do not disturb
- Adjust brightness
- Toggle WiFi
- Toggle orientation mode
- Now on tap (requires root)
- Menu button (require root)
- Kill foreground app (requires root)
It’s a pretty impressive list. There are a few root-only options, but a majority of the options are available for rooted and unrooted users. Additional options include swapping the “Back” and “Recent Apps” buttons, disabling Button Mapper on certain apps to not interfere with things like camera zoom, and adjusting long press and double tap timing.
How well does it work?
I struggled at first figuring out exactly what I wanted to customize, not because I didn’t like the idea, but because there are just SO MANY options. I started with making double tap of volume up skip to the next track on Spotify, and volume down goes to the previous song. It works really well and lets me jump around my playlist a little while keeping my phone in my pocket. Most headphones are able to do similar, but my headphones are inconsistent with doing this, so I much prefer this way. The only problem with this is that button mapper doesn’t work if the phone screen is off, so I have to tap the phone on first before double tapping. I don’t mind this because it means that I don’t accidentally trigger any shortcuts pulling my phone out. Another of my favorite uses is to press and hold my home button to quickly check messages on my lock screen, then have it turn the screen off when you release it. I have to disable my fingerprint unlock for that one to work (otherwise my phone just unlocks) but its functionality is almost worth it. I haven’t experienced any glitching or failure to launch when using actions or app shortcuts. After using this app for about two weeks not, I can safely say that the level of functionality that it adds to my phone is well worth the price.
As I mentioned before, there are a number of features that are locked behind the Pro version of the app. You won’t be able to adjust your back or recent keys, and there are several other minor options that are locked. Personally, after using it to be able to set my long press “Recent” key to switch back to the last app uses, and long press back to open Spotify, I’m pretty hooked on the Pro settings and would say it’s well worth the $2.99 price tag. The best thing you could do is download it, mess around with the volume keys and home keys and see how you like it. For me, it’s a no-brainer must-buy.
Button Mapper is a quick and easy way to add massive amounts of customization and shortcuts to any phone. It allows you to set up your volume keys, home button, and recent and back keys to do whatever you want at a simple push or two. There are a few options locked behind the Pro version, but that added functionality is easily worth the price tag. If you are always looking for a quick way to launch apps, or even to add some shortcuts to your flashlight or music player, this app is your best bet.