Activity, Intent, Bundle

An Android app could contain one or many activities. An activity has its own lifecycle and we can launch a new activity by using intents. In order to send data from an activity to another we could use a Bundle.


Activity lifecycle

  1. onCreate() :
    1. When: it is called when an activity is first created
    2. What: all the necessary UI elements should be initialized
    3. Is activity visible: not yet
  2. onStart():
    1. When: an activity becomes visible to the user
    2. What: code that maintains the UI, start async tasks (get data from API or database), register listeners
    3. Is activity visible: yes
  3. onResume():
    1. When: is called before the user starts interacting with the activity
    2. What: start animations
    3. Is activity visible: yes
  4. onPause():
    1. When: user is leaving the activity
    2. What: stop animations
    3. Is activity visible: partially invisible
  5. onStop():
    1. When: the activity is no longer visible to the user
    2. What:  unregister listeners and all resources allocated in onStart()
    3. Is activity visible: no
  6. onRestart():
    1. When: the activity in the stopped state is about to start again (on back click)
    2. What: the cursor should be requeried
    3. Is activity visible: no
  7. onDestroy(): 
    1. When: the activity is destroyed from the memory
    2. What:  should never be overridden
    3. Is activity visible: no

To get data back from a launched activity, start that activity with the startActivityForResult() method instead of startActivity().

Let’s say we have 2 activities: Activity1 and Activity2 and we want to validate the message sent from Activity1 to Activity2 and just get the result after validation.

Steps to implement this behaviour:

  1. Activity1 => startActivityForResult() applied to an Intent with putExtra containing a String
  2. Activity2 => get the String from the bundle and validate data
  3. Activity2 => setResult() and finish current activity
  4. Activity1 => get the result from Activity2 by overriding onActivityResult()

The response codes are defined by the Activity class, and can be

  • RESULT_OK: The request was successful.
  • RESULT_CANCELED: The user canceled the operation.
  • RESULT_FIRST_USER: For defining your own result codes.

Official documentation:


Code sample:

public class Activity1 extends AppCompatActivity {
public static final int REQUEST_CODE = 255;
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
public void sendMessageToActivityOnClick(View view) {
Intent intent = new Intent(Activity1.this, Activity2.class);
intent.putExtra(MESSAGE, "Are you there?");
startActivityForResult(intent, REQUEST_CODE);
protected void onActivityResult(int requestCode, int resultCode, @Nullable Intent data) {
super.onActivityResult(requestCode, resultCode, data);
if (requestCode == REQUEST_CODE && resultCode == RESULT_OK) {
String resultFromActivity2 = data.getStringExtra(RESULT);
// use the result

view raw

hosted with ❤ by GitHub

public class Activity2 extends AppCompatActivity {
public static final String RESULT = "result";
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
Bundle bundle = getIntent().getExtras();
if (bundle != null) {
String messageFromActivity = bundle.getString(MESSAGE);
if (messageFromActivity != null && messageFromActivity.length() >= 3) {
String response = "Yes, I'm here";
Intent intent = new Intent();
intent.putExtra(RESULT, response);
setResult(RESULT_OK, intent);

view raw

hosted with ❤ by GitHub


  • An Intent is a messaging object you can use to request an action from another app component
  • Although intents facilitate communication between components in several ways.

Intent types

Explicit Intent 

Starts a specific activity: an activity created by the developer 

Intent launchSecondActivity = new Intent(AboutIntentsActivity.this, SecondActivity.class);

Implicit Intent 

Asks system to find an activity that can handle the request: an activity created in the system (call, share, display a website, etc) 

public static final String TAG = "ImplicitIntentsActivity";
public void openUrlInBrowser(String url) {
// Parse the URI and create the intent
Uri website = Uri.parse(url);
Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, website);
// Find an activity to hand the intent and start that activity
if (intent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
} else {
Log.e(TAG, getResources().getString(R.string.can_not_handle_open_url));
public void openLocationInMaps(String location) {
// Parse the location and create the intent.
Uri addressUri = Uri.parse("geo:0,0?q=" + location);
Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, addressUri);
// Find an activity to handle the intent, and start that activity.
if (intent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
} else {
Log.e(TAG, getResources().getString(R.string.can_not_handle_open_location));


Used to transfer data using Intent.

// send data
String message = "just a text";
Intent lunchReceiveTextActivity = new Intent(BundleSampleActivity.this, ReceiveTextActivity.class);
lunchReceiveTextActivity.putExtra(BundleSampleActivity.TEXT, message);
// get data
Bundle bundle = getIntent().getExtras();
if(bundle != null) {
String message = intent.getStringExtra(SendTextActivity.CAROL);
if (!message.isEmpty()) {
// use the received message


One thought on “Activity, Intent, Bundle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s