Android bionic status

This document details libc/libm/libdl additions and behavior changes.

See also Android linker changes for NDK developers for changes related to native code loading in various Android releases.

Bionic function availability


You can see the current status with respect to POSIX in the form of tests:

Some POSIX functionality is not supported by the Linux kernel, and is guarded with tests for __linux__. Other functionality is not supported by bionic or glibc, and guarded with tests for __BIONIC__ and __GLIBC__. In other cases historical accidents mean 32-bit bionic diverged but 64-bit bionic matches POSIX; these are guarded with __LP64__.

Most bionic-only diversions should be accompanied by an explanatory comment.

Missing functions are either obsolete or explicitly disallowed by SELinux:

  • a64l/l64a
  • confstr
  • crypt/encrypt/setkey
  • gethostid
  • shm_open/shm_unlink
  • sockatmark
  • ualarm

Missing functionality:

  • <aio.h>
  • <monetary.h>. See discussion.
  • <wordexp.h>
  • Locales. Although bionic contains the various _l() functions, the only locale supported is a UTF-8 C/POSIX locale. Most of the POSIX APIs are insufficient to support the wide range of languages used by Android users, and apps should use icu4c (or do their i18n work in Java) instead.
  • Robust mutexes. See discussion.
  • Thread cancellation (pthread_cancel). Unlikely to ever be implemented because of the difficulty and cost of implementing it, and the difficulty of using it correctly. See This is why we can't have safe cancellation points for more about thread cancellation.

Run ./libc/tools/ in bionic/ for the current list of POSIX functions implemented by glibc but not by bionic.


Current libc symbols:

New libc functions in V (API level 35):

  • New android_crash_detail_register, android_crash_detail_unregister, android_crash_detail_replace_name, and android_crash_detail_replace_data functionality for adding arbitrary data to tombstones (see <android/crash_detail.h> for full documentation).
  • tcgetwinsize, tcsetwinsize, _Fork (POSIX Issue 8 additions).
  • timespec_getres (C23 addition).
  • localtime_rz, mktime_z, tzalloc, and tzfree (NetBSD extensions implemented in tzcode, and the “least non-standard” functions for avoiding $TZ if you need to use multiple timezones in multi-threaded C).
  • mbsrtowcs_l and wcsrtombs_l aliases for mbsrtowcs and wcsrtombs.
  • GNU extensions strerrordesc_np and strerrorname_np.
  • New system call wrappers: __riscv_flush_icache (<sys/cachectl.h>), __riscv_hwprobe (<sys/hwprobe.h>), epoll_pwait2/epoll_pwait2_64 (<sys/epoll.h>).

New libc behavior in V (API level 35):

  • Added LD_SHOW_AUXV to the dynamic linker to dump the ELF auxiliary vector if the environment variable is set.
  • The printf family now supports %#m to print the name of the errno constant (rather than the description printed by %m).

New libc functions in U (API level 34):

  • close_range and copy_file_range (Linux-specific GNU extensions).
  • memset_explicit in <string.h> (C23 addition).
  • __freadahead in <stdio_ext.h> (in musl but not glibc).
  • posix_spawn_file_actions_addchdir_np and posix_spawn_file_actions_addfchdir_np in <spawn.h> (in musl/glibc and macOS, but not iOS).

New libc behavior in U (API level 34):

  • Support for %b and %B in the printf/wprintf family, %b in the scanf/wscanf family, and 0b prefixes with base 0 in the strtol/wcstol family.
  • Support for wN length modifiers in the printf/wprintf family.
  • tmpfile() now respects $TMPDIR.

New libc functions in T (API level 33):

  • backtrace, backtrace_symbols, backtrace_symbols_fd (<execinfo.h>).
  • New system call wrappers: preadv2, preadv64v2, pwritev2, pwritev64v2.

New libc functions in S (API level 31):

  • New hooks for sanitizers for TLS access: __libc_get_static_tls_bounds, __libc_register_thread_exit_callback, __libc_iterate_dynamic_tls, __libc_register_dynamic_tls_listeners.
  • New helper to allow the zygote to give each zygote child its own stack cookie (currently unused): android_reset_stack_guards.
  • Non-inline symbols for ffsl, ffsll.
  • New system call wrappers: pidfd_getfd, pidfd_open, pidfd_send_signal, process_madvise.

New libc functions in R (API level 30):

  • Full C11 <threads.h> (available as inlines for older API levels).
  • memfd_create and mlock2 (Linux-specific GNU extensions).
  • renameat2 and statx (Linux-specific GNU extensions).
  • pthread_cond_clockwait/pthread_mutex_clocklock/pthread_rwlock_clockrdlock/pthread_rwlock_clockwrlock/sem_clockwait

New libc behavior in R (API level 30):

  • fdsan now aborts when it detects common file descriptor errors, rather than just logging.

New libc functions in Q (API level 29):

  • timespec_get (C11 <time.h> addition)
  • reallocarray (BSD/GNU extension in <malloc.h> and <stdlib.h>)
  • res_randomid (in <resolv.h>)
  • pthread_sigqueue (GNU extension)
  • getloadavg (BSD/GNU extension in <stdlib.h>)

New libc behavior in Q (API level 29):

  • Whole printf family now supports the GNU %m extension, rather than a special-case hack in syslog.
  • popen now always uses O_CLOEXEC, not just with the e extension.
  • Bug fixes to handling of UTF-8 U+fffe/U+ffff and code points above U+10ffff.
  • aligned_alloc correctly verifies that size is a multiple of alignment.
  • Using %n with the printf family is now reported as a FORTIFY failure. Previous versions of Android would ignore the %n but not consume the corresponding pointer argument, leading to obscure errors. The scanf family is unchanged.
  • Support in strptime for %F, %G, %g, %P, %u, %V, and %v. (strftime already supported them all.)
  • fdsan detects and logs common file descriptor errors at runtime.

New libc functions in P (API level 28):

  • aligned_alloc
  • __freading/__fwriting (completing <stdio_ext.h>)
  • endhostent/endnetent/endprotoent/getnetent/getprotoent/sethostent/setnetent/setprotoent (completing <netdb.h>)
  • fexecve
  • fflush_unlocked/fgetc_unlocked/fgets_unlocked/fputc_unlocked/fputs_unlocked/fread_unlocked/fwrite_unlocked
  • getentropy/getrandom (adding <sys/random.h>)
  • getlogin_r
  • glob/globfree (adding <glob.h>)
  • hcreate/hcreate_r/hdestroy/hdestroy_r/hsearch/hsearch_r (completing <search.h>)
  • iconv/iconv_close/iconv_open (adding <iconv.h>)
  • pthread_attr_getinheritsched/pthread_attr_setinheritsched/pthread_setschedprio
  • pthread_mutexattr_getprotocol/pthread_mutexattr_setprotocol (mutex priority inheritance)
  • <signal.h> support for sigaction64_t and sigset64_t allowing LP32 access to real-time signals
  • <spawn.h>
  • swab
  • syncfs

New libc behavior in P (API level 28):

  • %C and %S support in the printf family (previously only the wprintf family supported these).
  • %mc/%ms/%m[ support in the scanf family.
  • %s support in strptime (strftime already supported it).
  • Using a pthread_mutex_t after it's been destroyed will be detected at runtime and reported as a FORTIFY failure.
  • Passing a null FILE* or DIR* to libc is now detected at runtime and reported as a FORTIFY failure.

New libc functions in O (API level 26):

  • sendto FORTIFY support
  • __system_property_read_callback/__system_property_wait
  • legacy bsd_signal
  • catclose/catgets/catopen (adding <nl_types.h>)
  • ctermid
  • all 6 <grp.h>/<pwd.h> (get|set|end)(gr|pw)ent functions
  • futimes/futimesat/lutimes
  • getdomainname/setdomainname
  • getsubopt
  • hasmntopt
  • mallopt
  • mblen
  • 4 <sys/msg.h> msg* functions
  • <langinfo.h> nl_langinfo/nl_langinfo_l
  • pthread_getname_np
  • 2 new Linux system calls quotactl and sync_file_range
  • 4 <sys/sem.h> sem* functions
  • 4 <sys/shm.h> shm* functions
  • 5 legacy <signal.h> functions: sighold/sigignore/sigpause/sigrelse/sigset
  • strtod_l/strtof_l/strtol_l/strtoul_l
  • <wctype.h> towctrans/towctrans_l/wctrans/wctrans_l

New libc behavior in O (API level 26):

  • Passing an invalid pthread_t to libc is now detected at runtime and reported as a FORTIFY failure. Most commonly this is a result of confusing pthread_t and pid_t.

New libc functions in N (API level 24):

  • more FORTIFY support functions (fread/fwrite/getcwd/pwrite/write)
  • all remaining _FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 functions, completing _FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 support in bionic (8)
  • all 7 pthread_barrier* functions
  • all 5 pthread_spin* functions
  • lockf/preadv/pwritev/scandirat and off64_t variants
  • adjtimex/clock_adjtime
  • <ifaddrs.h> getifaddrs/freeifaddrs/if_freenameindex/if_nameindex
  • getgrgid_r/getgrnam_r
  • GNU extensions fileno_unlocked/strchrnul
  • 32-bit prlimit

New libc behavior in N (API level 24):

  • sem_wait now returns EINTR when interrupted by a signal.

New libc functions in M (API level 23):

  • <dirent.h> telldir, seekdir.
  • <malloc.h> malloc_info.
  • <netdb.h> gethostbyaddr_r, gethostbyname2_r.
  • <pthread.h> pthread_rwlockattr_getkind_np/pthread_rwlockattr_setkind_np.
  • <pty.h> forkpty, openpty.
  • <signal.h> sigqueue, sigtimedwait, sigwaitinfo.
  • <stdio.h> fmemopen, open_memstream, feof_unlocked, ferror_unlocked, clearerr_unlocked.
  • <stdio_ext.h> __flbf, __freadable, __fsetlocking, __fwritable, __fbufsize, __fpending, _flushlbf, __fpurge.
  • <stdlib.h> mkostemp/mkostemps, lcong48.
  • <string.h> basename, strerror_l, strerror_r, mempcpy.
  • <sys/sysinfo.h> get_nprocs_conf/get_nprocs, get_phys_pages, get_avphys_pages.
  • <sys/uio.h> process_vm_readv/process_vm_writev.
  • clock_getcpuclockid, login_tty, mkfifoat, posix_madvise, sethostname, strcasecmp_l/strncasecmp_l.
  • <wchar.h> open_wmemstream, wcscasecmp_l/wcsncasecmp_l, wmempcpy.
  • all of <error.h>.
  • re-introduced various <resolv.h> functions: ns_format_ttl, ns_get16, ns_get32, ns_initparse, ns_makecanon, ns_msg_getflag, ns_name_compress, ns_name_ntol, ns_name_ntop, ns_name_pack, ns_name_pton, ns_name_rollback, ns_name_skip, ns_name_uncompress, ns_name_unpack, ns_parserr, ns_put16, ns_put32, ns_samename, ns_skiprr, ns_sprintrr, and ns_sprintrrf.

New libc functions in L (API level 21):

  • <android/dlext.h>.
  • <android/set_abort_message.h>.
  • <arpa/inet.h> inet_lnaof, inet_netof, inet_network, inet_makeaddr.
  • <wctype.h> iswblank.
  • <ctype.h> isalnum_l, isalpha_l, isblank_l, icntrl_l, isdigit_l, isgraph_l, islower_l, isprint_l, ispunct_l, isspace_l, isupper_l, isxdigit_l, _tolower, tolower_l, _toupper, toupper_l.
  • <fcntl.h> fallocate, posix_fadvise, posix_fallocate, splice, tee, vmsplice.
  • <inttypes.h> wcstoimax, wcstoumax.
  • <link.h> dl_iterate_phdr.
  • <mntent.h> setmntent, endmntent, getmntent_r.
  • <poll.h> ppoll.
  • <pthread.h> pthread_condattr_getclock, pthread_condattr_setclock, pthread_mutex_timedlock, pthread_gettid_np.
  • <sched.h> setns.
  • <search.h> insque, remque, lfind, lsearch, twalk.
  • <stdio.h> dprintf, vdprintf.
  • <stdlib.h> initstate, setstate, getprogname/setprogname, atof/strtof, at_quick_exit/_Exit/quick_exit, grantpt, mbtowc/wctomb, posix_openpt, rand_r/rand/random/srand/srandom, strtold_l/strtoll_l/strtoull_l.
  • <string.h> strcoll_l/strxfrm_l, stpcpy/stpncpy.
  • <sys/resource.h> prlimit.
  • <sys/socket.h> accept4, sendmmsg.
  • <sys/stat.h> mkfifo/mknodat.
  • <time.h> strftime_l.
  • <unistd.h> dup3, execvpe, getpagesize, linkat/symlinkat/readlinkat, truncate.
  • <wchar.h> wcstof, vfwscanf/vswscanf/vwscanf, wcstold_l/wcstoll/wcstoll_l/wcstoull/wcstoull_l, mbsnrtowcs/wcsnrtombs, wcscoll_l/wcsxfrm_l.
  • <wctype.h> iswalnum_l/iswalpha_l/iswblank_l/iswcntrl_l/iswctype_l/iswdigit_l/iswgraph_l/iswlower_l/iswprint_l/iswpunct_l/iswspace_l/iswupper_l/iswxdigit_l, wctype_l, towlower_l/towupper_l.
  • all of <fts.h>.
  • all of <locale.h>.
  • all of <sys/epoll.h>.
  • all of <sys/fsuid.h>.
  • all of <sys/inotify.h>.
  • all of <uchar.h>.

New libc functions in K (API level 19):

  • <inttypes.h> imaxabs, imaxdiv.
  • <stdlib.h> abs, labs, llabs.
  • <sys/stat.h> futimens.
  • all of <sys/statvfs.h>.
  • all of <sys/swap.h>.
  • all of <sys/timerfd.h>.

New libc functions in J-MR2 (API level 18):

  • <stdio.h> getdelim and getline.
  • <sys/auxv.h> getauxval.
  • <sys/signalfd.h> signalfd.

New libc functions in J-MR1 (API level 17):

  • <ftw.h>.
  • <signal.h> psiginfo and psignal.
  • getsid, malloc_usable_size, mlockall/munlockall, posix_memalign, unshare.

New libc functions in J (API level 16):

  • the <search.h> tree functions tdelete, tdestroy, tfind, and tsearch.
  • faccessat, readahead, tgkill.
  • all of <sys/xattr.h>.

libc function count over time:

OSAPI levelFunction count
J MR117870
J MR218878

Data collected by:

ndk-r21$ for i in `ls -1v platforms/android-*/arch-arm/usr/lib/` ; do \
  echo $i; nm $i | grep -w T | wc -l ; done


Current libm symbols:

0 remaining missing C11/POSIX libm functions.

New libm functions in O (API level 26):

  • <complex.h> clog/clogf, cpow/cpowf functions.

New libm functions in M (API level 23):

  • <complex.h> cabs, carg, cimag, cacos, cacosh, casin, casinh, catan, catanh, ccos, ccosh, cexp, conj, cproj, csin, csinh, csqrt, ctan, ctanh, creal, cabsf, cargf, cimagf, cacosf, cacoshf, casinf, casinhf, catanf, catanhf, ccosf, ccoshf, cexpf, conjf, cprojf, csinf, csinhf, csqrtf, ctanf, ctanhf, crealf, cabsl, cprojl, csqrtl.
  • <math.h> lgammal_r.

New libm functions in L (API level 21):

  • <complex.h> cabsl, cprojl, csqrtl.
  • <math.h> isinf, significandl.

New libm functions in J-MR2 (API level 18):

  • <math.h> log2, log2f.

Target API level behavioral differences

Most bionic bug fixes and improvements have been made without checks for the app's targetSdkVersion. There are a handful of exceptions. (If in doubt, search the source for android_get_application_target_sdk_version().)

Destroyed mutex checking (targetSdkVersion >= 28)

If a destroyed pthread_mutex_t is passed to any of the mutex functions, apps targeting API level 28 or higher will see a “ called on a destroyed mutex” fortify failure. Apps targeting older API levels will just have the function fail with EBUSY (matching the likely behavior before we added the check).

Invalid pthread_t handling (targetSdkVersion >= 26)

As part of a long-term goal to remove the global thread list, and in an attempt to flush out racy code, we changed how an invalid pthread_t is handled. For pthread_detach, pthread_getcpuclockid, pthread_getschedparam/pthread_setschedparam, pthread_join, and pthread_kill, instead of returning ESRCH when passed an invalid pthread_t, if you‘re targeting API level 26 or above, they’ll abort with the message “attempt to use invalid pthread_t”.

Note that this doesn't change behavior as much as you might think: the old lookup only held the global thread list lock for the duration of the lookup, so there was still a race between that and the dereference in the caller, given that callers actually need the tid to pass to some syscall or other, and sometimes update fields in the pthread_internal_t struct too.

We can‘t check a thread’s tid against 0 to see whether a pthread_t is still valid because a dead thread gets its thread struct unmapped along with its stack, so the dereference isn't safe.

To fix your code, taking the affected functions one by one:

  • pthread_getcpuclockid and pthread_getschedparam/pthread_setschedparam should be fine. Unsafe calls to those seem highly unlikely.

  • Unsafe pthread_detach callers probably want to switch to pthread_attr_setdetachstate instead, or use pthread_detach(pthread_self()); from the new thread's start routine rather than calling detach in the parent.

  • pthread_join calls should be safe anyway, because a joinable thread won‘t actually exit and unmap until it’s joined. If you‘re joining an unjoinable thread, the fix is to stop marking it detached. If you’re joining an already-joined thread, you need to rethink your design!

  • Unsafe pthread_kill calls aren‘t portably fixable. (And are obviously inherently non-portable as-is.) The best alternative on Android is to use pthread_gettid_np at some point that you know the thread to be alive, and then call kill/tgkill with signal 0 (which checks whether a process exists rather than actually sending a signal). That’s still not completely safe because if you're too late the tid may have been reused, but your code is inherently unsafe without a redesign anyway.

Interruptable sem_wait (targetSdkVersion >= 24)

POSIX says that sem_wait can be interrupted by delivery of a signal. This wasn't historically true in Android, and when we fixed this bug we found that existing code relied on the old behavior. To preserve compatibility, sem_wait can only return EINTR on Android if the app targets API level 24 or later.


The _FORTIFY_SOURCE macro can be used to enable extra automatic bounds checking for common libc functions. If a buffer overrun is detected, the program is safely aborted as in this example.

Note that Android's FORTIFY has been extended to cover other issues. It can detect, for example, passing O_CREAT to open(2) without specifying a mode. It also performs some checking regardless of whether the caller was built with FORTIFY enabled. From API level 28, for example, calling a pthread_mutex_ function on a destroyed mutex, calling a <dirent.h> function on a null pointer, using %n with the printf(3) family, or using the scanf(3) m modifier incorrectly will all result in FORTIFY failures even for code not built with FORTIFY.

More background information is available in our FORTIFY in Android blog post, and there's more detail about the implementation in The Anatomy of Clang FORTIFY.

The Android platform is built with -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2. Users of ndk-build or the NDK‘s CMake toolchain file also get this by default with NDK r21 or newer. Users of other build systems need to manually enable FORTIFY by setting _FORTIFY_SOURCE themselves in whatever build system they’re using. The exact subset of FORTIFY available to NDK users will depend on their target ABI level, because when a FORTIFY check can't be guaranteed at compile-time, a call to a run-time _chk function is added.