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iOS and Mac Easter Eggs

Some of our favourite hidden features for iPhone, iPad and Mac

To keep you occupied over the bank holiday weekend we thought we would compile some of our favourite iOS and OS X Easter Eggs. From fun little in-jokes to interesting tweaks and hidden features we think you’ll find something in here that you didn’t know you could do with your device. And if you have a fun tweak, hidden feature or trick that you enjoy let us know about it by commenting, tweeting us or sending us an email.

iOS Easter Eggs

Tilt in Safari

Type “tilt” without quotation marks into safari and you get this jaunty screen as a reward. Worth noting that you can do a bunch of these sorts of things via Google such as barrel roll on a desktop computer.

Siri defends robots

Ask Siri “what is [insert movie name here] about?” with the name of a prominent movie involving robots of some kind and Siri will invariably make the mechanical characters both the stars of the film and their heroes. Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars are particular highlights.

Siri has an answer for everything

For even more geek-friendly answers from Siri, ask some riddle-style questions or begin famous exchanges from films. “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” for instance is a good one. The answer to life, the universe and the average flight speed of an unladen swallow will also yield excellent results.

Emoji keyboard

A pretty amazing Emoji keyboard can be added to iPhone and iPad through the Settings app. Go to Settings>General>Keyboard>Keyboards>Add New Keyboard>Emoji to activate it. Then tap the globe icon on the keyboard when typing up a message.

Map to Cupertino

Hardcore Apple fans will know this, but the Maps app icon is actually taken from Apple’s Cupertino base, One Infinite Loop. Check out the map comparison to see for yourself.

Take photo with volume

This actually started as a feature in the Camera+ app for iPhone before Apple added it as a proper function in iOS 5. Rather than tapping the capture button through the Camera app on iOS devices you can tap the Volume Up button on the side of your device. It’s a much more natural camera button and makes steady shots easier.


OS X Easter Eggs

Hold shift for slow motion

Just for fun if you fancy slowing down how your Mac moves things around, such as the speed at which your windows minimise, you can hold down Shift. Everything starts to move at more of a crawl. It was originally designed as a feature to show off the minimisation animation at an Apple conference, but the development team decided to leave it in.

Fun with Terminal

There are so many things you can do to have fun with Terminal and we couldn’t possibly list them all here, but here are some of the best:

Watch Star Wars – Open Terminal by going to Applications>Utilities and enter “telnet” without quotation marks to watch Star Wars animated with ASCii characters. It’s pretty fun.

On this day in history – With Terminal open enter “cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.history” to see a list of important dates through history for each day of the year.

Play games and interact – There are all sorts of retro games and strange call/response programs you can enjoy through Terminal. To access them type “emacs” without quotation marks when Terminal has loaded, then press Esc and X at the same time. This should bring up “M-x” at the bottom of the window. Type in one of the following game names after this to start playing:

  • 5×5
  • animate
  • blackbox
  • doctor
  • dunnet
  • gomoku
  • life
  • pong
  • snake
  • tetris


Blue screen of death

When connected to a shared network that includes PCs you can enjoy a sly dig at the expense of Windows. In Finder take a look at your Shared network and all the Windows-based machines will appear with a CRT monitor icon and the blue screen of death on the display. A little cheeky, but we like it.

Icon messages

If you zoom right into a number of Mac OS X icons you will see a repeating message, particular for apps involving text taken from Apple’s Think Different campaign. With some variation in places the message reads: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.”