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How to use Android's Menu Button

Android is very flexible and it evolves fast. Manufacturers can decide to change layout and behaviour of the system. So users may experience different ways of doing things. One such example is the handling of the Menu button. Google changed the design from Android 3 (for tablets) and Android 4 (for phones). So some Android devices may have a dedicated menu button, others don't. This make it a bit challenging to write a guide like this for Android beginners. We also have the situation when older Android devices get the Android 4 upgrade, they of course already have the dedicated menu button. Even some new devices (for example Samsung Galaxy S3) has the old style with a dedicated menu button, while for example the HTC One series doesn't have a menu button. But don't worry, it's very easy to get the hang of it by looking at an example!

In our example, we'll go to the Play Store. You go there by tapping its icon on a home-screen or in the app drawer. That takes you to the left screen below. For phones with a physical or capacitive Menu button you tap it, then you'll get to the right screen, in which your choices (My Apps, Accounts, Settings, Help) pop-up at the bottom of the screen:

1 Tap Play Store Icon 2 Press Menu button 3 Select a menu item

Let's look at the same scenario for all Android tablets and newer phones (for example the Galaxy Nexus, HTC One) without a menu button. To get to the menu in an app, a context sensitive button will appear. It means that if there aren't any menu choices for that particular screen or app you will not see that choice. It is shown as 3 vertically stacked dots:

Here's how the Play Store looks on devices without a menu button. You can see the on-screen menu selection in the top-right corner of the screen, where you have the 3 stacked dots. To see the choices you tap the menu symbol and the same menu choices as above (My Apps, Accounts, Settings, Help) will appear as a pull-down menu.

1 Tap Play Store Icon 2 Tap Menu dots 3 Select a menu item

So in any case, the way we'll describe this is as follows:

Play Store -> Menu -> ...

That means from the Play Store you press the menu button if you have one, or you tap the on-screen 3-dot symbol.