With all the recent interface updates on Android, you would think that physical home buttons and capacitive keys are already considered archaic or even obsolete on Android devices. But it seems even the latest flagships have retained this feature, particularly those from Samsung. The S5, after all, has the familiar home button and capacitive keys as its predecessors, instead of the navigation bar common among most other newer handsets.
One thing has changed, however, and that’s the functionality of the left capacitive button. On the S5, tapping on the capacitive button to the left of Home gets you the multitasking switcher, in which you can switch across recently-used apps.
If you have a device with a capacitive menu button — and assuming you have the Xposed Framework installed — you can install the MenuBeGone module, which does two things:
- Convert the menu button into the multitasking button
- Force the three-dot menu on all apps, so you still have access to contextual menus
For many power users, the Xposed Framework actually negates the need to install custom ROMs, because many of the customizations previously found in custom ROMs, such as the popular CyanogenMod, AOSP, Carbon and ParanoidAndroid, can be done even on stock ROMs. The only requirement is for the phone to be rooted and for the Xposed Framework to be installed. Xposed does not work on the new Android Runtime (ART) yet, however, so KitKat users will have to revert to the just-in-time Dalvik engine in order to implement these tweaks.
Xposed Framework vs. Custom ROMs?
The existence of Xposed has actually put into question the need to flash custom ROMs in the first place. Sure, installing a custom ROM gets you a more extensive array of tweaks and new functionalities. However, for most users, an occasional tweak here or there would suffice.
Note that in some custom ROMs like CyanogenMod, users don’t necessarily need this tweak, since that particular ROM (and those based on it) includes the ability to change the mapping of the capacitive buttons out of the box. It does not include the ability to force the action overflow button, however.
Head to the source link for the MenuBeGone module, plus other Xposed modules for download.
Just out of curiosity, do you think physical and capacitive buttons are still useful, or should manufacturers like Samsung ditch these for the navigation bar? Also, which is more useful: a capacitive menu button, or a capacitive multitasking button?