Android is fun. Its versions are named after desserts, and Google often sprinkles little Easter eggs throughout. None are more popular than the Easter egg associated with each Android version, however, so here’s a bit of history.
What Are These Easter Eggs and How Do You Find Them?
Starting with Gingerbread, Google put a hidden piece of art in the About Phone section. Since then, every version of Android has had its own little Easter egg—some related to the version, and others not so much.
To find the Easter egg on your phone, go to Settings > About Phone (or Settings > System > About Phone on some devices) and tap the Android version number a handful of times. Poof—a hidden screen shows up with a nifty little something-or-other there. On some versions, it’s just a picture. On others, it may be a game. Regardless of what’s there, it’s just fun.
Here’s a look at what Google has offered over the various versions of past years.
Android 2.3, Gingerbread: Zombies and a Zombie Cookie
This piece of art is puzzling, terrifying, and absolutely wonderful. Featuring a handful of zombies and a zombie gingerbread man next to a happy little Bugdroid leaves us all feeling utterly satisfied and completely confused at the same time. This is the best way to introduce a new feature.
Android 3.0, Honeycomb: Bzzzzz
Honeycomb’s logo is still, to this day, my favorite of all the Android logos. The bee form factor (are bees considered a form factor?) works so well for the Bugdroid, and the colorscheme is very becoming as well. This is a great Easter egg. Just look at him glow.
Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich: Nyan Ice Cream Sandwich
The Ice Cream Sandwich logo is a Bugdroid dressed like an ice cream sandwich. The Easter egg here appears to be nothing more than that—but this Easter egg in fact hides its own Easter egg. Long-pressing it makes the Bugdroid bigger and when he reaches full capacity, the screen fills with flying Ice Cream Sandwich Bugdroids, appearing to pay tribute to Nyan Cat. Good times.
This long-press feature turned out to be the start of many more Easter eggs hidden within Easter eggs.
Android 4.1-4.3, Jelly Bean: Beans, Beans, Everywhere, but Not a Bite to Eat
Entering Jelly Bean’s Easter egg exposes a huge, red bean. Boring, right? Tap that little guy. Suddenly it gets a face and antenna! But wait, there’s more: long-press it. A little Jelly Bean-based “game” appears, where you can fling beans all over the screen for no real reason. Cool.
Android 4.4, KitKat: Break Me Off A Piece Of That
Android KitKat marked the first time Google paired up with an actual confection manufacturer—in this case, Nestlé—to promote a version of Android. It was a pretty big deal at the time, and to date the biggest reveal Google has ever done when releasing a new version of Android. Everyone fully believed it would be called Key Lime Pie, so the misdirection was incredible.
The Easter egg itself, however, isn’t much—it starts with a simple “K” that spins when you tap it. A long-press reveals the “Android” in a KitKat-style logo, and a tribute to versions past when you long-press that logo. It’s like an Easter egg inside of an Easter egg inside of an Easter egg.
Android 5.x, Lollipop: Flappy Droid
The Lollipop Easter egg starts off with, well, a circle. Tapping it transforms it into a lollipop (it even says as much right there in the middle of it). But long-pressing this seemingly innocent little lollipop reveals a much darker game housed beneath.
You guys remember Flappy Bird? You know, the game that had people breaking their phones out of pure frustration, before the developer pulled it forever. Well, it’s that, but with a Bugdroid flying through lollipops instead. How “fun.”
Android 6.x, Marshmallow: Flappy Droid, Redux
Flappy Bird was really popular, so Google figured why not use it again? And that’s exactly what happened with Marshmallow. Only with marshmallows instead of lollipops. Oh, but this time it had multiplayer—tapping the + at the top allowed you to add up to six people. Sounds like absolute chaos.
Much like older versions of Android, you had to jump through a couple of hoops to get to this little game—first press the M logo, and then long-press the Marshmallow when it shows up.
Android 7.x, Nougat: Erm, Cats?
You know what goes hand-in-hand with nougat? Cats. At least that’s what Google thought, so Nougat’s Easter egg is arguably the strangest of all—it’s basically a cat collection.
The Easter egg is initially just an N; tap it and it flashes. Long-press it, and it displays a cat emoji at the bottom of the screen.
This basically made a new Quick Settings tile available that lets you place treats to attract cats. Then you can collect those cats. No clue why really, but when this version first dropped I was addicted to collecting those stupid cats. And I don’t even like cats.
Android 8.x, Oreo: Cookies and an Octopus
Oreo’s Easter egg is very interesting, because it makes about as much sense as, well, cats in Nougat. It starts off as just an Oreo cookie—the Oreo logo—but long-pressing it reveals…an octopus? He just floats around the screen looking all weird (though he does remind me of an Oreo), but you can grab him by the head and sling him all over the place. He stretches when you do that, which may be the weirdest thing about this Easter egg.
Android ?.?, P: ??
Since Android P is still in its developer build stages (and Google holds version numbers/code names close to its chest), we have no idea what this one will be. For now, it’s just a colorful P, which is arguably the best kind of P.
There’s no question that the Easter eggs have gotten more fun (and more interesting) over the years, and the one for Android P should hopefully keep the pace. Can’t wait to see what that it turns out to be.