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Stopping and Restarting an Activity

Building Your First App

Supporting Different Devices
Managing the Activity Lifecycle
Starting an Activity
Pausing and Resuming an Activity

Properly stopping and restarting your activity is an

important process in the activity lifecycle that ensures
your users perceive that your app is always alive and
doesn't lose their progress. There are a few of key
scenarios in which your activity is stopped and
The user opens the Recent Apps window and switches from

Stopping and Restarting an Activity

your app to another app. The activity in your app that's

Recreating an Activity

currently in the foreground is stopped. If the user returns to

your app from the Home screen launcher icon or the Recent

Building a Dynamic UI with Fragments

Apps window, the activity restarts.

Saving Data

The user performs an action in your app that starts a new

activity. The current activity is stopped when the second

Interacting with Other Apps


This lesson teaches you to

Stop Your Activity
Start/Restart Your Activity

You should also read


Try it out

activity is created. If the user then presses the Back button,

the first activity is restarted.

Working with System Permissions

Building Apps with

The user receives a phone call while using your app on his or her phone.


Content Sharing

The Activity class provides two lifecycle methods, onStop() and onRestart(), which allow you to
specifically handle how your activity handles being stopped and restarted. Unlike the paused state, which

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Connectivity & the Cloud

identifies a partial UI obstruction, the stopped state guarantees that the UI is no longer visible and the user's
focus is in a separate activity (or an entirely separate app).
Note: Because the system retains your Activity instance in system memory when it is stopped, it's
possible that you don't need to implement the onStop() and onRestart() (or even onStart()
methods at all. For most activities that are relatively simple, the activity will stop and restart just fine and you
might only need to use onPause() to pause ongoing actions and disconnect from system resources.

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Figure 1. When the user leaves your activity, the system calls onStop() to stop the activity (1). If the user returns while
the activity is stopped, the system calls onRestart() (2), quickly followed by onStart() (3) and onResume()
(4). Notice that no matter what scenario causes the activity to stop, the system always calls onPause() before calling

Best Practices for

Interaction & Engagement


Stop Your Activity

Best Practices for

User Interface

Stop Your Activity

When your activity receives a call to the onStop() method, it's no longer visible and should release almost all

Best Practices for

User Input
Best Practices for
Background Jobs
Best Practices for
Best Practices for
Security & Privacy
Best Practices for
Permissions & Identifiers
Best Practices for
Using Google Play to
Distribute & Monetize

resources that aren't needed while the user is not using it. Once your activity is stopped, the system might
destroy the instance if it needs to recover system memory. In extreme cases, the system might simply kill your
app process without calling the activity's final onDestroy() callback, so it's important you use onStop() to
release resources that might leak memory.
Although the onPause() method is called before onStop(), you should use onStop() to perform larger,
more CPU intensive shut-down operations, such as writing information to a database.
For example, here's an implementation of onStop() that saves the contents of a draft note to persistent
protected void onStop() {
super.onStop(); // Always call the superclass method first
// Save the note's current draft, because the activity is stopping
// and we want to be sure the current note progress isn't lost.
ContentValues values = new ContentValues();
values.put(NotePad.Notes.COLUMN_NAME_NOTE, getCurrentNoteText());
values.put(NotePad.Notes.COLUMN_NAME_TITLE, getCurrentNoteTitle());
mUri, // The URI for the note to update.
values, // The map of column names and new values to apply to them.
null, // No SELECT criteria are used.
null // No WHERE columns are used.

When your activity is stopped, the Activity object is kept resident in memory and is recalled when the activity
resumes. You dont need to re-initialize components that were created during any of the callback methods
leading up to the Resumed state. The system also keeps track of the current state for each View in the layout,
so if the user entered text into an EditText widget, that content is retained so you don't need to save and
restore it.
Note: Even if the system destroys your activity while it's stopped, it still retains the state of the View objects
(such as text in an EditText) in a Bundle (a blob of key-value pairs) and restores them if the user
navigates back to the same instance of the activity (the next lesson talks more about using a Bundle to
save other state data in case your activity is destroyed and recreated).

Start/Restart Your Activity

When your activity comes back to the foreground from the stopped state, it receives a call to onRestart().
The system also calls the onStart() method, which happens every time your activity becomes visible
(whether being restarted or created for the first time). The onRestart() method, however, is called only when
the activity resumes from the stopped state, so you can use it to perform special restoration work that might be
necessary only if the activity was previously stopped, but not destroyed.
It's uncommon that an app needs to use onRestart() to restore the activity's state, so there aren't any
guidelines for this method that apply to the general population of apps. However, because your onStop()
method should essentially clean up all your activity's resources, you'll need to re-instantiate them when the
activity restarts. Yet, you also need to instantiate them when your activity is created for the first time (when
there's no existing instance of the activity). For this reason, you should usually use the onStart() callback
method as the counterpart to the onStop() method, because the system calls onStart() both when it
creates your activity and when it restarts the activity from the stopped state.
For example, because the user might have been away from your app for a long time before coming back it, the

onStart() method is a good place to verify that required system features are enabled:
protected void onStart() {
super.onStart(); // Always call the superclass method first

// The activity is either being restarted or started for the first time
// so this is where we should make sure that GPS is enabled
LocationManager locationManager =
(LocationManager) getSystemService(Context.LOCATION_SERVICE);
boolean gpsEnabled = locationManager.isProviderEnabled(LocationManager.GPS_PROVIDER);

if (!gpsEnabled) {
// Create a dialog here that requests the user to enable GPS, and use an intent
// with the android.provider.Settings.ACTION_LOCATION_SOURCE_SETTINGS action
// to take the user to the Settings screen to enable GPS when they click "OK"
protected void onRestart() {
super.onRestart(); // Always call the superclass method first

// Activity being restarted from stopped state


When the system destroys your activity, it calls the onDestroy() method for your Activity. Because you
should generally have released most of your resources with onStop(), by the time you receive a call to
onDestroy(), there's not much that most apps need to do. This method is your last chance to clean out

resources that could lead to a memory leak, so you should be sure that additional threads are destroyed and
other long-running actions like method tracing are also stopped.

Next: Recreating an Activity

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