Oops. Pixel 2's secret menu button was a mistake

Turns out an invisible menu button was actually a bug.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read
Josh Miller/CNET
Watch this: Pixel 2 and 2 XL: Better camera but no headphone jack

This week a few people who got their hands on the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL discovered that a secret menu button lives in the Pixel's navigation bar. The hidden button was spotted by Android Police and later confirmed by CNET, but when we reached out to Google, a spokesperson made it clear that this was actually a bug, not an intended feature. Google also said that it will "fix" the bug soon, meaning that the secret menu isn't long for this world.

If you've been an Android user since the early days, you may remember when your phone had a dedicated menu button in its navigation bar. So, if you have the Pixel 2, you may want to play around with the retro button before it vanishes. See it in action here:

Launching the secret menu

The hardest part about using the menu button is finding an app it works with. As demoed in the video, you can use the button while in the phone's Settings app. The button was also found to work with Google Chrome. We found that it works successfully in Settings, Chrome, Messages, Calendar, Docs, Calculator and even YouTube. Basically, almost every app made by Google. 

If you want to test out the button on your Pixel 2, open up an app like Settings and tap the lower right corner of the navigation bar. There is no icon, but there should be a tactile response and the menu will pop up if done successfully. Right now, the feature seems to mimic any upper-right corner menu button. 

The button currently only works on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, not the original Pixels -- so it's not a new feature of Android Oreo. Since Google considers this a bug, it's unlikely that other phones will get the secret button. Still, if you get your hands on a Pixel 2, it could save you from reaching the top of the screen -- especially the Pixel 2 XL's. Just don't expect it to stick around.

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are now available in stores.

This story originally posted Oct. 18 and was updated Oct 19 at 10:04 a.m. PT to include Google's comment.

Pixel 2 and 2 XL photos: Feast your eyes

See all photos