Understanding the Android UserManager.isUserAGoat() Method

Understanding the Android UserManager.isUserAGoat() Method

22 May 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

The Android API contains many useful methods, but occasionally, developers come across methods that seem peculiar or humorous. One such method is isUserAGoat() in the UserManager class. This article aims to clarify its purpose and usage, based on the latest information available.

Overview of the isUserAGoat() Method

The isUserAGoat() method was introduced in Android 4.2. Its original description suggested it determined whether the user making the call was subject to teleportations and whether the user was a goat. This led to considerable confusion and amusement within the developer community.

Behavior in Different Android Versions

The behavior of isUserAGoat() has evolved over different versions of the Android SDK:

  • Android 4.2 to 4.4: The method consistently returned false.
  • Android 5.0 (Lollipop): The method was updated to check if the “Goat Simulator” app was installed, returning true if it was.
  • Android R: The method again returns false, as a measure to protect “goat privacy.”

Practical Use Cases

Despite its whimsical nature, there have been discussions on potential use cases for the isUserAGoat() method:

  • Debugging and Testing: Some developers have suggested using isUserAGoat() as a dummy condition to test code blocks that should not be executed. This can help in debugging by creating unreachable code segments that are determined at runtime rather than compile time.
  • Breakpoints in IDEs: It may be used to hold breakpoints in an IDE, such as Eclipse, without triggering warnings about unreachable code.


In summary, while the isUserAGoat() method may seem like an Easter egg, it has been repurposed over time and can serve practical debugging purposes. However, it is essential to understand the potential changes in its behavior across different Android versions to avoid unexpected issues in your code.

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