How to customize the buttons on your Samsung Galaxy watch

customize and personalize home and back buttons on Samsung galaxy watch

Customizing the buttons on your Samsung Galaxy Watch is a great way to quickly access your favorite apps or settings. Unfortunately, not enough people know that you can personalize your buttons.

Your Galaxy smartwatch (most models) has two buttons: one is your home button, and one is the back button.

  • For older Tizen models like the Active 2 or Watch 3, the Home button is at the bottom, while the back button is at the top.
  • On the Wear OS 3 models like the Samsung Galaxy 5 and 4 watches, the button position changed: the home button is now the top, while the back button is at the bottom. Go figure!

No matter your Samsung watch model, you can personalize and change your watch’s button shortcuts for the Home and, for some models, the Back buttons. And the good news is that it’s pretty easy to do!

If you’re looking to swap your Galaxy 5/4’s button placement to match your older Galaxy watch, unfortunately, you cannot do that (at least not yet.)

So let’s get to it and change your button shortcuts on your Samsung Galaxy Watch!

Related reading

How to personalize and customize your Samsung Watch’s Home button Samsung Galaxy Watch personalize and customize Home Button

Your Samsung Watch allows you to change two parameters: what happens when you double press your watch’s Home button and what happens when your press and hold it.

You can set a double press of the home key to open up a particular app or your most recently used app (the default option is to open Samsung Pay.) Samsung Galaxy Watch home button double press personalization and customization

If you constantly use a particular app on your watch, changing this double-press setting is for you!

I often use the Settings app, so I set my double press to that app. Choose your favorite app so you, too, can access it quickly!

You can also set a press and hold of the home button to either wake up Bixby (Samsung’s voice assistant,) launch Google Assistant, or show you the power off options. Samsung Galaxy watch options to customize home button press and hold

The default setting is to wake Bixby, but if you don’t use Bixby, we recommend changing it to power off your watch quickly.

  1. To make changes, open the Settings app on your watch.
  2. Scroll down and tap Advanced features (or Advanced.)
  3. Swipe down and tap Customize keys (or Home.)
  4. Under the Home key, choose Double press and change which app it opens or set it to open your most recent app. Then, select Press and hold to update its settings.

While Samsung makes these options available on most of its smartwatches, they are not available on the Galaxy Fit or Fit2.

How to personalize and customize your Samsung Watch’s Back button Samsung Galaxy watch personalize and customize the back button short press

You can customize the Back button on the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 series. However, you can only customize the short press option of your Galaxy watch’s back button.

You cannot change the behavior of a long press to your back button–it’s set only to open up Samsung Pay (and cannot be changed, even to open Google Pay.)

Unfortunately, some models don’t allow any back button customization. And Samsung doesn’t allow much customization on models that do.

For models that don’t offer the option to customize the back button, it’s automatically set to Go back to the previous screen.

For supported models, there are only two options available for the back button–either Go back to the previous screen (the default setting) or Show all recently used apps as tiles on your watch’s screen. back button short press options for Samsung Galaxy Watch

  1. To make changes, open the Settings app on your watch.
  2. Scroll down and tap Advanced features.
  3. Swipe down and tap Customize keys.
  4. Under the Back key, choose Short Press and update its settings. Choose from Go to the previous screen (the default) or Show recent apps.

Additional gestures for Galaxy Watches 

Another overlooked and cool feature of the newer Samsung Watches is the gesture settings. These allow you to perform specific actions by moving your arm or wrist in a specified way. hand and wrist features on Samsung Galaxy Watch

Gestures are off by default, but it’s easy to turn them on!

  1. From Settings, tap Advanced features.
  2. Scroll down to Gestures.
  3. Tap each to turn them on or off. 
    1. Answer calls: Shake your arm twice, bending at the elbow, to answer calls.
    2. Dismiss alerts and calls: Rotate your wrist twice to dismiss alarms or decline incoming calls.
    3. Quick launch: Select an app or feature to quick launch.

FAQs FAQ frequently asked questions

Is there a way to have a long press of the back button open Google Pay instead of Samsung Pay?

Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot change what a long press of the back button does. It is reserved for Samsung Pay exclusively.

If you frequently use Google Pay, we recommend you set it to your Home button’s double press set Google Pay to open when you double tap your Home button.

Can I set my Home button’s double press to open a specific workout, playlist, or app function?

No, you can only set your Home key’s double press to open a particular app. You cannot set it to open a particular workout or any subset within an app.

I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives!

2 COMMENTS

    • It depends on what model you own. As the article mentions, on the WearOS 3 models like Watch 4 and Watch 5, the home button is at the top, and the back button is at the bottom.

      On older, Tizen models it’s the opposite (like the Watch 3 or Active 2)–the home button is the bottom and the back button is the top.

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