Did you know that Google Android has been hiding Easter Eggs in every version of Android released since Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)?
If you’re not familiar with Easter Eggs, they aren’t actual eggs, but hidden messages or features in a computer program, movie, book or crossword. Sort of like all the Hidden Mickeys in Disney movies, or the funny thing that happens when tried to get (old) Google Maps to show you the way from “The Shire” to “Mordor”.
Google is a big fan of these hidden gems. If you’re on your laptop/desktop, search for “Zerg Rush” in the search box and you should be in for a nice surprise. You could also try searching “tilt” to get your results tilted to a slight angle, “Do a barrel roll” to get your results to rotate 360 degress, and, my personal favourite, “Atari Breakout” on Google image, which lets you play a game of breakout using the image results as bricks.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Google has been hiding these fun Easter eggs in Android’s mobile operating systems for smartphones and tablets since Gingerbread. A sneak peek of the soon-to-come Android 5.0 Lollipop can already be found in the developer preview.
How to Access Android’s Easter Eggs
The way to access the Easter Egg in your version of Android is actually pretty straightforward and consistent across the different Android versions. All you have to do is go to Settings > About Phone/Tablet > Find your Operating System and tap rapidly on it multiple times until the Easter Egg appears! Each version has a different theme that complements their cute names!
We’ll bring you through all of Android’s Easter Eggs, start with the oldest and move onto the newest.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
This is the oldest version of Android available with an Easter Egg. After going through the simple steps of finding your operating system on your phone, you will be rewarded with a painting of a green nonchalant Android mascot surrounded by smartphone welding zombies and a creepy-looking gingerbread man.
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
The Android 3.0 Honeycomb Easter Egg is – you’ve guessed it – a honeybee! The electric blue honeybee is a tribute to Tron: Legacy, a movie released in 2010. The speech bubble “REZZZZ” actually means to create.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
If you had access to the internet sometime in 2011, you would have had suffered through the popular internet meme Nyan Cat. The YouTube video uploaded in April 2011 had gathered 113,860,201 views at the time this article was written. The Nyan Cat phenomenon is a half cat, half toaster pastry flying across a starry sky with a trail of rainbows behind it.
The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has a similar concept, with a half android, half ice cream sandwich creature, affectionately dubbed “Nyandroid”, flying across the screen. After repeating the steps mentioned above, press and hold the Nyandroid to get the animation of flying Nyandroids.
Android 4.1 – 4.3 Jelly Bean
With this Android OS, you’ll get a giant smiling jelly bean candy! By pressing on the jelly bean (like for the Nyandroid), a never-ending mini game will follow. A cluster of jelly beans will appear on your screen and you can move the jelly beans around with your finger until the end of time you get bored of it , which took around 10 seconds for me.
Android 4.4 Kitkat
With the latest Android update, you’d see a circling “K” on a familiar Kitkat red and white screen that disappears when you touch it. It will be replaced with an Android Logo which will also disappear if you press and hold it. This is replaced by a customizable page with moving tiles illustrating the previous Android mascots like donuts, ice-cream sandwiches, and that same smiling jelly bean.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
The soon-to-come Android 5.0 Lollipop looks to be an Android version of the viral mobile app “Flappy Bird”. It’s projected to be included in all Android 5 devices for free but actual confirmation will have to wait until the new Nexus is released in the next few weeks!
You don’t actually have to download the different Android Operating systems to try them. This fun app, Mr Easter lets you download all the available hidden Easter Eggs from Gingerbread to Kitkat for those of you curious enough to want to try the different versions on your phone!
Other Fun Easter Eggs
If you’re still hungry for more Easter Eggs, here are some other clever ones from Google.
If you search for “Google in 1998“, you will get your search results in the way it looked like in 1998 (When Google was first founded). There’s an option to take you back to 2014 though, so worry not, it’s not permanent.
If you’re an avid gamer, you would be familiar with the “Konami Code”, a special cheat code made popular with Contra that allowed players to unlock 30 extra lives during the game. The code sequence “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start” have been used by Google for a few of it’s products.
If you have Google Play Games, swipe the Konami Code directions “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right” and you will be showed a pop up so you can finish off the code sequence “B, A, Start”. This grants you access to all the games to Google. Just kidding! It just unlocks the achievement. The achievement isn’t displayed on your profile, but it’s fun nevertheless!
You can also try this same code in Google Docs to reverse your entire document! If you try the code in the Google Now app, it will respond with, “Cheat mode unlocked! Unlimited free Google Searches.” Yay?
Google’s own chat and messaging app, Google Hangouts, has some Easter Eggs of its own, which you can activate by typing in particular words in a Google Hangouts dialogue box! For example, if you type “/Ponies” or “/Ponystream”, you will a pony or a stream of ponies from My Little Pony: Friendship in Magic to run across your chat window. Typing in “/Pitchforks” will get you a stream of angry townspeople with pitchforks! Apparently, “/ShyDino” will get you a green dinasour while “Bikeshed” will change the background color, but I couldn’t get either of these to work. Try it out and report back to me!
If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, you’re going to love this next one. If you look for “Police Telephone Box” in Google Map, you should find yourself outside of Earl’s Court tube station in West London with Doctor Who’s TARDIS in view!
For those unfamiliar with Doctor Who, the Tardis is a machine that can transports it’s passengers into any point and any where in time and space. And it’s bigger on the inside. If you zoom into the TARDIS on the map, you will be rewarded with a 360 degree panoramic view of the interior of the Doctor’s TARDIS! Pretty cool right? This feature was introduced last year as a part of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary.
If you have anything Easter Eggs to add to this, leave us a comment! We’d love to hear about it and try it out!