Android Easter Eggs and secret features

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By Peter Cruickshank 13 Apr 2018

Easter eggs have been a part of Android since 'Gingerbread', the code-name for Android version 2.3. Every release of Android since then has had a hidden surprise for those that know how to find them, and while some are quite simple others are far more interactive.

Each of these hidden Easter eggs can be found in the same way on every phone, for every Android version. Read on to find out how to discover your phone's secrets, and check out our list of hidden Easter eggs for the current generation of Android phones.

How to find Easter Eggs in Android

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There's an Android surprise for nearly every phone, and fortunately you can find them using exactly the same steps. Follow the guide below to discover the Easter egg hidden on your smartphone.

 
 
 
 
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1.

Open the Apps list and tap on the Settings icon.

2.

Scroll down to the bottom of the Settings menu and tap About.

On some phones, you might have to tap System, then About phone instead.

3.

Find the Android version and tap on it repeatedly, until the screen changes to show a new logo.

4.

Depending on which 'flavour' or version of Android you're using, you'll see a different screen appear. You can tap, swipe or hold your finger on these screens to get different results.

To find out what happens for your particular phone, check out the section below for even more information.

A History of Android Easter Eggs

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Each version of Android has had its own unique Easter egg, ranging from themed wallpaper images to minigames and animated graphics. We've gone through all the hidden gems from past phones to showcase the things you may have missed.

Android Oreo (8.0)

The most recent version of Android has a hidden octopus you can play with, tucked away in the Settings menu. Once you've followed the Easter egg steps listed above, press and hold your finger on the Oreo logo for a few seconds to unlock the octopus.

To interact with the octopus, all you have to do is press your finger on it to drag it around the screen. While you won't get any exciting new features out of it, you will get a cool new interactive screensaver you can show off to your friends.

Android Nougat (7.0)

Phones and tablets running Android Nougat can discover one of the best smartphone Easter eggs - a cat collecting mini-game. To unlock the game, follow the steps in the first part of this guide then tap the Nougat logo five times and hold your finger down on it for a few seconds. A small cat face will appear at the bottom of the screen, indicating the game has been unlocked.

Playing the game is very simple. To begin, you'll have to open your phone's Quick Settings by dragging your finger down from the top of the screen a couple of times. Press the Edit button to change your Quick Settings shortcuts, then find and drag the icon for Android Easter egg into the Quick Settings panel. This icon will look like a cat food bowl, and tapping on it from Quick Settings will ask you what type of food you want to add.

Once you've picked your cat food, the rest of the game is played passively. Every so often you'll get a new notification of a cat visiting you, which you can check out by holding your finger down on the food bowl. All you need to do next is make sure to keep the food bowl topped up!

Android Marshmallow (6.0) & Android Lollipop (5.0)

Android Marshmallow and its predecessor, Android Lollipop took inspiration for their Easter egg from the game Flappy Bird, a now extinct smartphone game which took the world by storm on its release. The game is easy to play but hard to master, and requires patience and timing to get right.

The concept is quite simple - you have to help the little Android bounce its way across the screen, avoiding posts and trying to get a new high score. Each tap of the screen will make the robot bounce in the air, so you'll have to time your taps to help keep your Android alive for as long as possible.

The Marshmallow version of this Easter egg added some small improvements to the Lollipop original, changing the art style and giving us a multiplayer mode which can be activated by tapping the + symbol to add up to six players.

Android's secret features

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There are some features of Android that aren't necessarily hidden, but are unknown by a lot of users. Whether it's a quicker way to do simple tasks or a hidden menu that gives you more control over your handset, there are plenty to discover - and some are unique to particular models of phone.

We've picked our favourite features to get the most from your smartphone, so read on to find out more.

Oreo's Picture-in-Picture mode

 
 
 
 

If your phone has Android 8.0 installed, you can enjoy picture-in-picture mode with the touch of a button. This means you can watch a video in Chrome or YouTube, press the Home key and your video will appear in a floating box on your screen.

This frees you up to browse other sites or open a different app and still enjoy the video you were watching, although this only works in the YouTube app if you subscribe to the YouTube Red service. If you're watching full screen YouTube in desktop mode in your browser, you should still be able to take advantage of picture-in-picture.

When your phone updates to Android 8.1, you can also enjoy this feature in apps like Netflix, so you can watch your favourite shows while browsing the internet, all on the same device.

Overview split screen mode

 
 
 
 

Nougat introduced a pretty big improvement to Android's Overview feature, which normally is used to switch between your open apps at the tap of the Overview button. Just double-tap the Overview key (shown in the image to the right) to quickly flip between your most recently used apps.

The new update to Overview lets you split your screen in half, so you can enjoy two apps on-screen at once. This is perfect for those times you need WhatsApp and Chrome open at the same time, or you want to compare two different websites side by side.

Press and hold the Overview key while you have an app open to start the split-screen view. Tap on a second app to open it in the other half of your screen. To quit, press and hold the Overview key again to exit.

While in split-screen view, it's very easy to copy and paste text between your two open apps. Press and hold your finger on the text you want to copy, then drag it to the other app to 'drop' it into the new text box.

If you're trying split-screen mode in Chrome, you can have two different tabs open at once by open a new tab, holding the Overview key and pressing Chrome's menu icon (the three dots in the top-right corner). Press Move to other window to get your two browser windows open.

There you have it, some of our favourite Android features that tend to slip under the radar. There are plenty more hidden gems to discover in Android, so why not share your favourites with us on Twitter or Facebook?

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