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Did you know about this IT Crowd-inspired Android Easter egg?

One of the more curious Google Easter eggs is hidden within the Android dialer. Here's how to trigger it.

Published onMarch 18, 2024

0118 999 881 999 119 725 3 easter egg feature
Andy Walker / Android Authority

With each version of Android, Google introduces a new Android Easter egg — a software surprise hidden within the operating system. However, Android isn’t the only Google property to harbor such a delight. One notable Easter egg lurking within the Android dialer was first discovered in 2016, and you can still experience it today. The inspiration for it? Cult UK TV show The IT Crowd and its imaginary emergency services number, 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3.

Why does The IT Crowd have an Android Easter egg?

If you’re not familiar with the show, here’s some context. It first aired in 2006 and followed the antics of two inept IT department workers, Moss and Roy, and their manager, Jen, who knows nothing about IT.

In the episode “Calamity Jen,” Moss watches an ad announcing the new emergency service number. The ad reads:

From today, dialing 999 won’t get you the emergency services. And that’s not the only thing that’s changing. Nicer ambulances, faster response times and better-looking drivers mean they’re not just the emergency services — they’re your emergency services. So, remember the new number: 0118 999 881 999 119 725… 3.

The context of the joke is that a few years before, in 2003, the UK changed another of its famous direct dial numbers. Until 2003, you could call directory enquiries (to find out the phone number of someone if you knew their name and address) by dialing 192. That system was privatized, and you had to dial 118 NNN, where the NNN was the number assigned to a commercial service provider, the most famous of which became 118 118. You can probably see where this is going.

As a result, the preposterous emergency number became a popular joke among The IT Crowd fans, and it looks like there were fans at Google, too.

How to activate the 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3 Easter egg

0118 999 881 999 119 725 3 easter egg
Andy Walker / Android Authority

Although the Easter egg was discovered on Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s stock dialer, it still works on modern Android phones, provided you use the Phone by Google app. To activate the Easter egg:

  1. Open the Phone by Google dialer on your device.
  2. Punch in 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3 like a phone number.
  3. After entering the “3” the Call button will flash blue and red, like a police car. Your phone should also vibrate rapidly.

Remember that the feature only works on the Phone by Google app or the stock Android dialer. We tried triggering the Easter egg on several OEM dialers with no joy. Although the Easter egg isn’t as exciting as the Android 14 Easter egg, it’ll no doubt get a giggle from fans of the show.

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