It looks like a simple enough puzzle, but this mind-bending trick is causing mass confusion!

The puzzle shows a screenshot from an iPhone displaying the calling keypad and a series of numbers.

The puzzle asks people to list how many times they see the number 3 on the screen.

(Take a look at the picture below and see how many you find before you read on. The answer is posted underneath!)

After a quick count, most people answered 15, 19 or 21 but when they went back to check again they invariably came up with a different answer.

Upon closer inspection the number 3 can be found hidden throughout the picture.

It appears underneath the ‘4’ on the keypad and the ‘8’ has been replaced with a ‘3’.

The puzzle makers say the correct answer is 21.

The puzzle has been shared across social media with thousands of confused commenters venting their frustration at not being able to solve it.

“This thing annoyed the hell out of me!” said Twitter user Dani.

Athene Whitfield eventually said the answer was 19 but had made so many previous guesses she wrote: “I got to that in the end but thought – I can’t send an answer through again!!? Was getting embarrassed!”

Others went to extreme lengths to try to find threes wherever they could.

One enthusiastic commenter wrote: “28 if it’s saying to count everything that resembles to 3 including the network signal which is 3 dots the page info on left which is 3 the buttons having 3 letters ABC.”

How many did you find? Let us know in the comments!

Did you manage to solve the puzzle? Are you usually pretty good at solving brain teasers?

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Shirley

The question was how many times can you see the number 3 the first 2 are not the number 3 but signs representing the number 3. Correct answer is 19.

John Brants

Completely correct Shirley. Succinctly explained.

Sree kumar

19 is correct

Amy

I agree! There are only 19 number 3 ‘s . 3 dots are not a number!!

Helen B

Actually the symbol 3 is the numeral for the number three! Therefore the answer is 21.

Here here, completely agree with you ! the question stipulates the number3, not symbols

Ivan Steers

Logically it has to be 19 where you physically see the number 3.

Frank

to say you should count groups of 3 items such as 3 dots or 3 curves is nonsense – there are many items on the screen that could be grouped

didn’t see the original – but if as stated here the question is ‘how many times they see the number 3’ – then I assert my original finding – the correct answer is 19

JB

19 is the only correct answer. The question was: how many times you see the NUMBER 3 – NOT representing the number 3 as well.

How many times do you see the number three? You only see it once. (Depending upon how many times you look at the puzzle) The first time you look at the puzzle.
The question is not … How many times does the number 3 appear on the sheet/picture?

marilyn willson

the question is not specific enough, it states the number 3, not how many sets of 3 and yes 21 is the answer combining the number and the groups of

Elaine Omdahl

Definltely 19, the question was to find the number three, not sets of three symbols

MARGARET DEL RE

THE TOTAL 3′ ARE 21, IT IS TRICKEY BUT 21 IS THE RIGHT NUMBER.

The question was how many times can you see the number 3 the first 2 are not the number 3 but signs representing the number 3. Correct answer is 19.

Completely correct Shirley. Succinctly explained.

19 is correct

I agree! There are only 19 number 3 ‘s . 3 dots are not a number!!

Actually the symbol 3 is the numeral for the number three! Therefore the answer is 21.

Here here, completely agree with you ! the question stipulates the number3, not symbols

Logically it has to be 19 where you physically see the number 3.

to say you should count groups of 3 items such as 3 dots or 3 curves is nonsense – there are many items on the screen that could be grouped

didn’t see the original – but if as stated here the question is ‘how many times they see the number 3’ – then I assert my original finding – the correct answer is 19

19 is the only correct answer. The question was: how many times you see the NUMBER 3 – NOT representing the number 3 as well.

21 threes were found by me. Am I correct?

I agree with you Joan!

I agree with all the comments above except Joan Marshall. The correct answer is 19.

COUNTING ALL 3″ I CAME UP WITH 21, THAT IS THE ANSWER.

The question was “how many times can you see the number 3 … ”

There are 19 number 3s on the screen.

What’s so hard about that?

19 is correct

How many times do you see the number three? You only see it once. (Depending upon how many times you look at the puzzle) The first time you look at the puzzle.

The question is not … How many times does the number 3 appear on the sheet/picture?

the question is not specific enough, it states the number 3, not how many sets of 3 and yes 21 is the answer combining the number and the groups of

Definltely 19, the question was to find the number three, not sets of three symbols

THE TOTAL 3′ ARE 21, IT IS TRICKEY BUT 21 IS THE RIGHT NUMBER.

Yes of course it is nineteen. It does not state that symbols are to be added in. Stupid really.

19 and agree it the others it states number 3

The Correct Number is 19 the Others are just Representing the Number 3