What you need to know
- Readers on the XDA forums spotted a bug report complaining that menu button support had ceased.
- Google responded, saying that the feature had been phased out.
- Menu button support has been waning since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The original Android device, the T-Mobile G1 in the U.S., shipped with a number of hardware buttons adorning its chin, including Home and Back buttons and a centered Menu button. The Menu button made Android stand out against iOS at the time, as developers could offer access to eclectic features when the user pressed the button.
With Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google offered a software version of the Menu button onscreen. By the time Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich rolled around, Google was telling developers to rethink the Menu button organization scheme.
Phones haven't shipped with Menu buttons in some time, and app developers have found more intuitive ways to offer features to users. Only legacy apps that somehow still run on the newer versions of Android made use of the Menu, but the time has come for those apps to ride into the sunset. With Android 10, Google will no longer support the legacy feature of the Android Menu.
Readers on our own forums spotted the issue back in September when the first Android 10 devices fired up. The folks at XDA relayed a post from the Google Issue Tracker complaining of the problem. Google officially responded, saying that the removal of the Menu functionality was the culmination of deprecation of the feature over the last few generations and constituted expected behavior.
While this likely won't affect most users, it is stil a sad day as we officially bid farewell to one of Android's old staples.