If you’ve spent any length of time with an Android smartphone, you’ve probably figured out by now that the menu button, one of the four below the screen, should be your first step when you’re trying to figure out how to do something in an app on the phone. And most of the time, that button works as advertised in Google’s operating system to reveal the command or option you wanted. In that sense, it’s exactly like the menu bar or toolbar in a Mac or Windows application. 

But just as Mac OS X and Windows feature “contextual” menus, available with a right-click of the mouse, Android programs often have an equivalent “long press” menu. As the name suggests, you simply have to tap an item (an app icon, an e-mail message, a calendar event) for about one second to show relevant functions. You can select one you want, or press the back button to exit the menu. This doesn’t always work — sometimes, an app is just badly designed — but it’s usually worth trying.

(About the “PostPoints tip” title: I archive each tip-of-the-week e-mail we send to PostPoints members under this blog’s “Tips” category. Today’s item went out on March 22.)

In other news...

* Sunday’s column compared four Android smartphones running on the “4G” networks of the nationwide wireless carriers: AT&T’s HTC Inspire, T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy S, Sprint’s HTC Evo Shift and Verizon’s HTC Thunderbolt. (In its first few hours online, the piece referred to the AT&T phone as the “HTC Infuse,” confusing it with an upcoming Samsung model. I’m still trying to figure out how I screwed that up.)

* Help File related a workaround for Bluetooth reconnection issues I’ve seen with my own Mac’s wireless mouse. Don’t forget to check out the comments for the steps I had to go through to force a reconnect using only keyboard commands.