Google kills the hardware menu key with Android 4.4 KitKat


Google killed the hardware menu button with the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. However, OEMs like Samsung and LG have been reluctant in killing the button and till this day provide a hardware menu key on their devices, instead of the much more useful multitasking key. 

However, that might change since Google has hit the final nail in the coffin to kill the hardware menu key with the Android 4.4 KitKat update. Post the KitKat update, the on-screen overflow menu button that replicates the function of the hardware menu key will be present on every device, irrespective of the fact whether it has a menu button or not.

Below is the comment on the commit from the author of the code, Adam Powell -:

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 9.14.37 pm

This means that Galaxy S4 owners should be seeing the overflow menu button in all apps, even though the device already has a hardware menu button. Since this change has been committed in core Android, Samsung or any other OEM cannot change this functionality.

It will be interesting to see if Samsung and other OEMs will map the menu key to function as the multitasking button or still let it act as a menu button. The menu button has always been a headache for users that keep jumping from one Android device to another, and developers who have to make sure the overflow menu shows up properly on these devices.

While this change might not be appreciated by some lovers of the menu button, it will ultimately benefit the developers and end users in improving the usability of Android OS across the various devices.

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  • GrammarNazi

    Interesting and a very welcome change. This will also mean less plastic in future Samsung, LG phones.

    • iOS7_User

      Yeah… It’s rumoured that the Samsung Galaxy S5 isn’t plastic… Very curious on the look…

      • Sheeple will nonetheless wrap flagship phones in neoprene or worse: not only an affront to thermal engineering but also self evident sense.

  • James Power

    “Since this change has been committed in core Android, Samsung or any other OEM cannot change this functionality.”

    This is inaccurate. However if this is part of the CTS then maybe Google won’t allow vendors to go to market with the broken ass buttons in place.

  • Forside

    Am I the only one who likes having a hardware menu button?

    • Isak stex√•

      nope! i love it as well and miss it on my sony xperia z2

    • XposedMe


      Xposed to revert