In the midst of an otherwise unremarkable new build of Android’s 13 developer beta, 9to5Google discovered something nice: our annual Android Easter egg. This year’s hidden feature builds on the colorful boot screen of android 12, this time filling with emoji. Like, a lot of emojis.
The way it works in the current beta (13.3) is a lot like last year – start with the Easter egg by going to Settings > About phone > Android version, then three quick taps on the Android version. This reveals an analog clock widget; move the hands to 1 o’clock (that’s 1:00 p.m. military time – get it?), and you’ll see a colorful array of dots appear, representing Material You’s customizable color theme.
This is where it differs from last year: long press on any of the spots and they all turn into emoji. You can long press to scroll through screens with different emoji themes, such as sea creatures, cats, and moon phases. So many emoticons! Google isn’t alone in playing with emoji backgrounds either – one of the iOS 16 lock screens Unveiled at WWDC 2022 is a grid of user-selectable emoji. Emoji background: every now and then.
There is a practicality of the Android 12 Easter egg that also remains intact from last year. Once you find the easter egg, you will have a new home screen widget option called ‘Android S Easter Egg’. Adding it to your home screen will show color swatches for the different system colors the phone uses based on your wallpaper, ala Material You, so they can be saved or shared. Usable? Yes. As fun as a screen full of cat reaction emoji? Not really.