Android Easter Eggs: The Best Software Surprises Over the Years
Google has hidden Easter eggs inside its Android operating systems for many years. Our favorite OS has brought surprises with each of its iterations and we've gathered them here in a retrospective running from Android Gingerbread all the way up to Android 12.
How to activate Android Easter Egg on your phone
It is worth remembering that Easter Eggs on Android can be activated by opening the Settings app and going into About Phone > Android version > and tapping quickly the Android version option (up to 10 times or keep pressing it for a few seconds, depending on the system version). As for the mini-game Easter Eggs, they are activated when you press the version logo for a few seconds.
- Download Easter Egg Collection in Android from Google Play Store
Without big visual changes, Android 13 even recycled the previous version's Easter Egg. After following the instructions above, turn the clock to 1h (or 13h, or 1 pm, you get it...) and you will get a screen very similar to the one from Android 12 (see below).
However, if you slide your finger or long-press on the screen, the Easter Egg will switch between different emoji showcases. We selected a couple of them in the gallery above. Another feature inherited from Android 12 is the Easter Egg widget, which displays a color palette based on your phone's current wallpaper.
Still rolling out to some devices, Android 12's Easter Egg highlights one of the biggest changes in the system, the Material You design language. After being activated, the hidden surprise displays a clock widget. Take the clock to 12h00 (noon/midnight) and the screen will display the version number using colors from the wallpaper or color palette defined by you.
And it doesn't stop there! After opening the regular Android 12 Easter Egg, you will find a new widget called Android S Easter Egg that displays a big matrix of colors derived from your current phone wallpaper or color palette. Tap on the individual colors to share them, or simply copy them to use on apps that were not adapted to Material You.
The hidden Easter Egg game within Android 11 is called "Android Neko". This, however, is not an entirely new game and it has appeared before, back in Android Nougat. Here, you will have to find the so-called "Cat Controls" and feed your kitten. It's almost a contemporary Tamagotchi.
Android 10 is a milestone in the history of the operating system. It was also the first occasion where Google decided to no longer name the version of Android with the names of popular desserts. However, the good news is that despite this, the tenth version of the OS did not give up the famous Easter Egg.
Google presents a seemingly trivial screen that shows the wording android 10, with the numbers in the foreground. But interactivity is not lacking: you can, in fact, move the numbers and the word android to any point on the screen.
Android 9.0 Pie
Android 9.0 Pie was released by Google in October 2018 together with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones. The easter egg of this version hides something interesting. In addition to displaying the Android Pie logo with hypnotic colors, it is possible to find a fun Microsoft Paint-style drawing program. Just press and hold the "P" button several times to get access to it!
Android 8.0 Oreo
When the first Developer Preview of Android 8.0 was made available, one of the first things we checked for was the presence of an Easter egg. There was, indeed, an Easter egg in the first three Developer Previews of Android Oreo, but it wasn't anything new. It was the same Easter egg as from Android 7.0 Nougat, allowing you to leave food out in an empty dish to attract cats. Now that the fourth preview is out, we find that there's a new Easter egg.
The new Easter egg features a blue screen with a black octopus floating around. The octopus has an (Easter) egg-shaped head, which you can drag around the screen if you want to, and his eight (think Android 8.0) legs will follow. While this isn't the most engaging little feature, it's a nice addition.
Android 7.0 Nougat
Android 7.0 Nougat features an Easter egg where your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to attract cats to eat plates of food you serve up. Yes, it's actually true - we couldn't make this stuff up if we wanted to. You can set this up as follows:
- Go to the Settings menu.
- Scroll to About phone.
- Tap on the Android version until the N appears on the screen.
- The cat emoji should appear directly underneath the N.
- When the cat's head appears, this means you've successfully activated the Nougat Easter egg. You're not finished yet, as there are a few more steps to complete:
- Open your quick settings menu (drag down from the top of your display twice).
- Tap on Edit.
- Drag the new icon Empty dish to your notifications bar.
Now you'll be able to attract cats. To do this, tap on Empty dish to select the bait of your choice, and wait. When a cat comes to the dish, you'll be notified. You can even give the cat a name and share it with your friends. The cats will disappear after a while.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Android 6.0 Marshmallow features another Flappy Bird-inspired mini-game as its Easter egg, only this time, you must navigate through the lollipops to get the marshmallows at the end of them. It's still a frustratingly difficult game; access it by tapping your device's software version until a Marshmallow appears and then long-press it.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
For the Android 5.0 Lollipop Easter egg, Google took inspiration from a pop culture phenomenon of the time, which was Flappy Bird. Tapping the software version will produce a flying Bugdroid that you must guide between Lollipop obstacles. It's an infuriating game that plays very similar to Flappy Bird.
Android 4.4 KitKat
Android 4.4 KitKat's Easter egg paid homage to all of the past versions of Android. Go to Settings > About phone and tap the Android version several times. A spinning letter K will appear which you can tap and hold to reveal the KitKat logo. Tap and hold that and a board of colored tiles featuring the logos of past Android versions will be revealed.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be greeted by a huge smiling red jelly bean in this version's Easter egg. Access it the same way as the others and long press on the giant jelly bean to flood your displays with more beans. Swipe these to fling them in any direction.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Do you remember Nyan Cat? The pixelated cat who travels to outer space on a rainbow? Well, Android paid tribute to the Internet's favorite feline friend with the Easter egg for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
After tapping on the Android version number several times, a pixelated Bugdroid will appear. When you tap and hold on to this, a Nyan Cat-inspired animation will begin featuring 8-bit Nyandroids shooting up into space. Nice.
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
Android 3.0 Honeycomb's Easter egg is far less scary than Gingerbread's but it's nonetheless strange. Go through the same steps as mentioned above to activate it, and what you will see is a neon bee. A square box will appear underneath the bee's stinger housing the word 'REZZZZZ'.
In the Tron universe – which the bee appears to be part of – ‘Rezzing’ is the term used for generating a person or object in its game grid. Quite why Google is riffing on Tron, we don't know.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
The Easter egg found in Android 2.3 Gingerbread is frightening. Featuring a hand-painted picture of a demonic, bow-tie-wearing, yellow-eyed gingerbread man, a disconcerted Bugdroid, and zombies, this first Easter egg is not only unsettling but strikingly different from Google's later attempts. Thankfully.
To view this – as well as all of the other Easter eggs on our list – go into your device's Settings, choose About phone, and tap on the Android version until the Easter egg appears.
And you, have you found your Android's little surprise? Which Easter Egg was your favorite so far? Let us know what you think in the poll below.
This article was updated in April 2023. Old comments have been preserved.
Am I the only one who thought that Android 11 's easter egg was an amplifier 's volume knob?
All these names just made me hungry :)
With the Android 10 Easter Egg, if you keep tapping "Android" it slowly spins around. If you tap a few times then hold, "Android" will spin around quickly at first, then slow down.. Me thinks some Google Devs have too much time on their hands..
I am on 9. Missed some of them in the past. Nice to know
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Never knew you could do this! nice one