AH Android Logo 2014

AH Primetime: The Low-Down On Some Of Android’s Built-In Secret Codes

September 16, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

Android is most well-known, by some of the more ‘poke around to find the nifty things’ people for the easter eggs and secrets.  The most viewed secret is the special animation that is accessed by repeatedly and quickly tapping on the build number (for example 4.4.4, 4.2.1, or 4.0.4) in the settings menu.  You get to see an included animation that is based on and around the version’s dessert name (Kit Kat for 4.4-4.4.4, Jelly Bean for 4.1-4.3.1, Ice Cream Sandwich for 4.0-4.0.4, Honeycomb for 3.2-3.2.6, Gingerbread for 2.3-2.3.7, Froyo for 2.2-2.2.3, Eclair for 2.0-2.1, Donut for 1.6, and Cupcake for 1.5) and the animations have gotten increasingly fun and detailed, since there has been marked improvement in software and hardware capabilities.

But those secrets are too well-known to really be considered secrets or easter eggs, so what else is there?  Well, there is the dialer.  The dialer, you say?  How could anyone possibly put a secret into the dialer, where you make and receive phone calls?  It’s actually not the dialer itself, but how the dialer functions.  It functions as an input method.  Yes, an input method for numbers and the * and # symbols.  For a fun fact, the * is known as an asterisk and the # sign (known sadly today as a hashtag) is actually referenced as the ‘pound sign’ or simply just ‘pound’.  Now, with the fact that the dialer is great for secrets, lets get to the list of what some of them are.  NOTE: some of these may be dangerous to your device, and the usability of it, so use at your own risk.  Avoid any that you don’t understand the name or function for, as a safe rule.

To access some of the physical diagnostic tests, like testing the touchscreen and various hardware functionality, here are some to know and possibly play with.  Some of these are specific to certain devices, or certain manufacturers.

*#06# – IMEI number

*#0*# – Enter the service menu on newer phones like Galaxy S III

*#*#4636#*#* – Phone information, usage statistics and battery

*#*#34971539#*#* – Detailed camera information

*#*#273282*255*663282*#*#* – Immediate backup of all media files

*#*#197328640#*#* – Enable test mode for service

*#*#232339#*#* – Wireless LAN tests

*#*#0842#*#* – Backlight/vibration test

*#*#2664#*#* – Test the touchscreen

*#*#1111#*#* – FTA software version (1234 in the same code will give PDA and firmware version)

*#12580*369# – Software and hardware info

*#9090# – Diagnostic configuration

*#872564# – USB logging control

*#9900# – System dump mode

*#301279# – HSDPA/HSUPA Control Menu

*#7465625# – View phone lock status

*#*#7780#*#* – Reset the /data partition to factory state

*2767*3855# – Format device to factory state (will delete everything on phone)

##7764726 – Hidden service menu for Motorola Droid

*#*#7594#*#* – Enable direct powering down of device once this code is entered

*#*#273283*255*663282*#*#* – Make a quick backup of all the media files on your Android device

*#*#232338#*#* – Shows Wi-Fi MAC address

*#*#1472365#*#* – Perform a quick GPS test

*#*#1575#*#* – For a more advanced GPS test

*#*#0283#*#* – Perform a packet loopback test

*#*#0*#*#* – Run an LCD display test

*#*#0289#*#* – Run Audio test

*#*#2663#*#* – Show device’s touch-screen version

*#*#0588#*#* – Perform a proximity sensor test

*#*#3264#*#* – Show RAM version

*#*#232331#*#* – Run Bluetooth test

*#*#232337#*# – Show device’s Bluetooth address

*#*#7262626#*#* – Perform a field test

*#*#8255#*#* – Monitor Google Talk service

*#*#4986*2650468#*#* – Show Phone, Hardware, PDA, RF Call Date firmware info

*#*#1234#*#* – Show PDA and Phone firmware info

*#*#2222#*#* – Show FTA Hardware version

*#*#44336#*#* – Show Build time and change list number

*#*#8351#*#* – Enable voice dialing log mode, dial *#*#8350#*#* to disable it

##778 (+call) – Show EPST menu

These codes are specific to HTC devices only:

*#*#3424#*#* – Run HTC function test program

*#*#4636#*#* – Show HTC info menu

##8626337# – Run VOCODER

##33284# – Perform field test

*#*#8255#*#* – Launch Google Talk service monitor

##3424# – Run diagnostic mode

##3282# – Show EPST menu

##786# – Reverse Logistics Support

So, with that massive list out of the way, and sorry for having it be a massive chunk of numbers and words you may not recognize, let’s get down to some key ones, because they are worth knowing, or worth noting as an Android smartphone user.  When you want to sell your Android phone, you should, for the listing of however you aim to sell it, provide information about the phone to make sure it is able to be activated on a carrier by a different user.  The first code checks the IMEI (standing for International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is unique to a device and is used to label a device on a network.  It’s nice to have access to it, since it is necessary to activate a device. When a new device gets leaked, we often get to see some benchmarks showing off the statistics and internal specifications, but sometimes, the more tech-savvy leaker or developers make a system dump of the device and release it before the device actually goes on sale or gets announced.  It’s most useful when a device housing the first taste of a new version or re-skinning (Nexus 5 for Kit Kat, the Galaxy S5 with Touchwiz on top of Kit Kat, and the Galaxy Note III for the first Galaxy Gear compatibility).  To get to that menu, go ahead and use *#9900#, and look around.

Some of these may be great to show off, but one you do not want to use lightly or misuse is the full wipe code, which is *2767*3855#, and reset it to the way it was when it was first used by a consumer/customer.  If you plan to sell the device, it might also be recommended to use this code to make sure nothing you had on your phone is easily found by the next owner(s). If you get a used device, and want to make sure everything works on it physically, use the service menu code (*#0*#) to test things like dead pixels of any color, sound output, vibration, and a good few other things.  It’s also great for a person who has recently replaced parts on/in or repaired a smartphone to make sure all things are going well.  It’s really rather useful.

Last thing we’re going to go into detail involves the code *#*#7780#*#*, which resets all content in the /data partition.  When you download and install an app from Google Play, and also the Internet, the apk (the file that is installed, so it’s sort of like an exe file on Windows) is put there for the system to reference and interact with.  If you erase it, you delete all apps you installed from the Play Store and other places, as well as deleting any updates you downloaded that weren’t included in the stock, untouched-from-factory device.  It’s great if you want to give the phone to a friend or family member for a short time to use as a backup or interim device.