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Circuit Breaker

You can remap the squeeze functionality on Google’s Pixel 2

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How’s this for a wheeze? Remap that squeeze

Google Pixel 2 Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

The squeeze functionality on HTC’s U11 and Google’s new Pixel phones is undeniably odd, but HTC’s implementation has the advantage for one reason: the U11 lets you map the squeeze to different functions, while the Pixel 2 only silences calls or summons Google Assistant. Well, not any more, as an app named Button Mapper now lets you remap the squeeze feature in the new Pixel handsets.

XDA brought the app to our attention, and points out that you’re not really re-mapping the function. Instead, the app is intercepting the instruction to launch Assistant and dropping in another command in its place. It’s hacky, but it works.

As the video below shows, you can change the function to do all sorts of useful things, including returning to the home screen, turning on Do Not Disturb, launching the flashlight, or starting up an app of your choice. Handy!

Some caveats, though. One, Google could close this loophole if they wanted to. Two, you have to grant Button Mapper some sensitive permissions to get the thing working (XDA has more details on the steps you need to take). And three, the workaround may create lag.

Still, this is a reminder that companies like Google and others should be allowing custom key mapping in the first place. It’s just such a stupid and ham-fisted way to force users into taking certain actions; like Samsung not letting you do anything with the Bixby Button but launch its also-ran assistant. It’s an annoying state of affairs to be in in the first place. Much better to free the squeeze.