Android 13 Easter egg shows Google's fascination with cats taken to its extreme

Google Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Future / Google)

After several beta iterations, the Android 13 Easter egg has been rolled out to eligible phones - and let us tell you now, that if you like cats, you're in for a treat. This update finally gives us a first look at what weird addition Google has thrown into its latest operating system update.

Some of the best Google Easter eggs are found in Android. Sometimes there are several ones per update – lots of them involve cats, like Android 11's cat collection game.

Android 12 had both a color spot one so you could work out the background colors on your phone, and also a clock-based one that crowded the screen with bubbles in the Material You theme of your choice.

The Android 13 Easter egg takes after that second one, including with the way you activate it, but instead of bubbling up the screen it fills it with... emoji. Yep, your display quickly looks like a group text full of 50-plus-year-olds.

For a few generations, the Android Easter egg was a little game, like Android 10's nonogram, but that hasn't been the case for a while now.

If you want to see what the emoji apocalypse looks like, we've written up this quick guide on how to see the Android 13 Easter egg.

How to see the Android 13 Easter egg

Android 13 Easter egg

(Image credit: Google)

Bear in mind before you start this guide, that you need to be using a phone that has the Android 13 beta installed - if you don't know whether you do or not, you likely don't, as it's something you need to install yourself. 

Once you're on Android 13, head over to the Settings app, then scroll down to About Phone, which you should press. Then find the Android Version option which, again, you should press on. You'll know you're on Android 13 if the top option now says... well, 13.

Next, tap this 13 a few times until the settings app closes, and you're back on your phone's home screen - except with a giant clock taking up most of the display, To progress, you now have to drag the minute hand of this around the clock a few times until the time is set as 1 o'clock. 

This is a reference to Android 13, as in 13:00, or 1pm.

Now, the clock will turn into the Android 13 logo, and loads of spots will appear around it - congratulations, you've just trigged the... Android 12 Easter egg (well, save for the '13' instead of '12' in the middle).

What you need to do now is pretend the minute hand is still there, and drag your finger in a circle around the '13'. Once you've done a full rotation, the spots will change into emoji on a certain theme - doing more circles will change up the emoji.

Some of the themes include monkeys, cats, astrological symbols or space and aliens - there are 14 in total, which feels like one too many for obvious reasons.

You can't keep this theme viewable on your phone while you do other things - it's purely a fun little emoji surprise. Given its similarities with the first Android 12 Easter egg, we could see another when Android 13 has its full release toward the end of the year - we'll have to wait and see. And at least, this is a fun way to make Android 13 distinct from the otherwise-similar iOS 16.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.