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page.title=Taking Photos Simply
parent.title=Capturing Photos
next.title=Recording Videos Simply
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<h2>This lesson teaches you to</h2>
<li><a href="#TaskManifest">Request Camera Permission</a></li>
<li><a href="#TaskCaptureIntent">Take a Photo with the Camera App</a></li>
<li><a href="#TaskPhotoView">Get the Thumbnail</a></li>
<li><a href="#TaskPath">Save the Full-size Photo</a></li>
<li><a href="#TaskGallery">Add the Photo to a Gallery</a></li>
<li><a href="#TaskScalePhoto">Decode a Scaled Image</a></li>
<h2>You should also read</h2>
<li><a href="{@docRoot}guide/topics/media/camera.html">Camera</a></li>
<li><a href="{@docRoot}guide/components/intents-filters.html">Intents and Intent
<h2>Try it out</h2>
<div class="download-box">
<a href=""
class="button">Download the
<p class="filename"></p>
<p>This lesson explains how to capture photos using an existing camera
<p>Suppose you are implementing a crowd-sourced weather service that makes a
global weather map by blending together pictures of the sky taken by devices
running your client app. Integrating photos is only a small part of your
application. You want to take photos with minimal fuss, not reinvent the
camera. Happily, most Android-powered devices already have at least one camera
application installed. In this lesson, you learn how to make it take a picture
for you.</p>
<h2 id="TaskManifest">Request Camera Permission</h2>
<p>If an essential function of your application is taking pictures, then restrict
its visibility on Google Play to devices that have a camera. To advertise
that your application depends on having a camera, put a <a
href="{@docRoot}guide/topics/manifest/uses-feature-element.html"> {@code
&lt;uses-feature&gt;}</a> tag in your manifest file:</p>
<pre style="clear:right">
&lt;manifest ... >
&lt;uses-feature android:name=""
android:required="true" /&gt;
<p>If your application uses, but does not require a camera in order to function, instead set {@code
android:required} to {@code false}. In doing so, Google Play will allow devices without a
camera to download your application. It's then your responsibility to check for the availability
of the camera at runtime by calling {@link hasSystemFeature(PackageManager.FEATURE_CAMERA)}.
If a camera is not available, you should then disable your camera features.</p>
<h2 id="TaskCaptureIntent">Take a Photo with the Camera App</h2>
<p>The Android way of delegating actions to other applications is to invoke an {@link
android.content.Intent} that describes what you want done. This process involves three pieces: The
{@link android.content.Intent} itself, a call to start the external {@link},
and some code to handle the image data when focus returns to your activity.</p>
<p>Here's a function that invokes an intent to capture a photo.</p>
static final int REQUEST_IMAGE_CAPTURE = 1;
private void dispatchTakePictureIntent() {
Intent takePictureIntent = new Intent(MediaStore.ACTION_IMAGE_CAPTURE);
if (takePictureIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
startActivityForResult(takePictureIntent, REQUEST_IMAGE_CAPTURE);
<p>Notice that the {@link
startActivityForResult()} method is protected by a condition that calls
{@link android.content.Intent#resolveActivity resolveActivity()}, which returns the
first activity component that can handle the intent. Performing this check
is important because if you call {@link
startActivityForResult()} using an intent that no app can handle,
your app will crash. So as long as the result is not null, it's safe to use the intent. </p>
<h2 id="TaskPhotoView">Get the Thumbnail</h2>
<p>If the simple feat of taking a photo is not the culmination of your app's
ambition, then you probably want to get the image back from the camera
application and do something with it.</p>
<p>The Android Camera application encodes the photo in the return {@link android.content.Intent}
delivered to {@link onActivityResult()} as a small {@link} in the extras, under the key {@code "data"}. The following code retrieves
this image and displays it in an {@link android.widget.ImageView}.</p>
protected void onActivityResult(int requestCode, int resultCode, Intent data) {
if (requestCode == REQUEST_IMAGE_CAPTURE && resultCode == RESULT_OK) {
Bundle extras = data.getExtras();
Bitmap imageBitmap = (Bitmap) extras.get("data");
<p class="note"><strong>Note:</strong> This thumbnail image from {@code "data"} might be good for an
icon, but not a lot more. Dealing with a full-sized image takes a bit more
<h2 id="TaskPath">Save the Full-size Photo</h2>
<p>The Android Camera application saves a full-size photo if you give it a file to
save into. You must provide a fully qualified file name where the camera app should
save the photo.</p>
<p>Generally, any photos that the user captures with the device camera should be saved on
the device in the public external storage so they are accessible by all apps.
The proper directory for shared photos is provided by {@link
android.os.Environment#getExternalStoragePublicDirectory getExternalStoragePublicDirectory()},
with the {@link android.os.Environment#DIRECTORY_PICTURES} argument. Because the directory
provided by this method is shared among all apps, reading and writing to it requires the
{@link android.Manifest.permission#READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE} and
{@link android.Manifest.permission#WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE} permissions, respectively.
The write permission implicitly allows reading, so if you need to write to the external
storage then you need to request only one permission:</p>
&lt;manifest ...>
&lt;uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" />
<p>However, if you'd like the photos to remain private to your app only, you can instead use the
directory provided by {@link android.content.Context#getExternalFilesDir getExternalFilesDir()}.
On Android 4.3 and lower, writing to this directory also requires the
{@link android.Manifest.permission#WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE} permission. Beginning with
Android 4.4, the permission is no longer required because the directory is not accessible
by other apps, so you can declare the permission should be requested only on the lower versions
of Android by adding the <a
href="{@docRoot}guide/topics/manifest/uses-permission-element.html#maxSdk">{@code maxSdkVersion}</a>
&lt;manifest ...>
&lt;uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE"
android:maxSdkVersion="18" />
<p class="note"><strong>Note:</strong> Files you save in the directories provided by
{@link android.content.Context#getExternalFilesDir getExternalFilesDir()} are deleted
when the user uninstalls your app.</p>
<p>Once you decide the directory for the file, you need to create a
collision-resistant file name. You may wish also to save the path in a
member variable for later use. Here's an example solution in a method that returns
a unique file name for a new photo using a date-time stamp:</p>
String mCurrentPhotoPath;
private File createImageFile() throws IOException {
// Create an image file name
String timeStamp = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyyMMdd_HHmmss").format(new Date());
String imageFileName = "JPEG_" + timeStamp + "_";
File storageDir = Environment.getExternalStoragePublicDirectory(
File image = File.createTempFile(
imageFileName, /* prefix */
".jpg", /* suffix */
storageDir /* directory */
// Save a file: path for use with ACTION_VIEW intents
mCurrentPhotoPath = "file:" + image.getAbsolutePath();
return image;
<p>With this method available to create a file for the photo, you can now
create and invoke the {@link android.content.Intent} like this:</p>
static final int REQUEST_TAKE_PHOTO = 1;
private void dispatchTakePictureIntent() {
Intent takePictureIntent = new Intent(MediaStore.ACTION_IMAGE_CAPTURE);
// Ensure that there's a camera activity to handle the intent
if (takePictureIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
// Create the File where the photo should go
File photoFile = null;
try {
photoFile = createImageFile();
} catch (IOException ex) {
// Error occurred while creating the File
// Continue only if the File was successfully created
if (photoFile != null) {
startActivityForResult(takePictureIntent, REQUEST_TAKE_PHOTO);
<h2 id="TaskGallery">Add the Photo to a Gallery</h2>
<p>When you create a photo through an intent, you should know where your image is located, because
you said where to save it in the first place. For everyone else, perhaps the easiest way to make
your photo accessible is to make it accessible from the system's Media Provider.</p>
<p class="note"><strong>Note:</strong> If you saved your photo to the directory provided by
{@link android.content.Context#getExternalFilesDir getExternalFilesDir()}, the media
scanner cannot access the files because they are private to your app.</p>
<p>The following example method demonstrates how to invoke the system's media scanner to add your
photo to the Media Provider's database, making it available in the Android Gallery application
and to other apps.</p>
private void galleryAddPic() {
Intent mediaScanIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_MEDIA_SCANNER_SCAN_FILE);
File f = new File(mCurrentPhotoPath);
Uri contentUri = Uri.fromFile(f);
<h2 id="TaskScalePhoto">Decode a Scaled Image</h2>
<p>Managing multiple full-sized images can be tricky with limited memory. If
you find your application running out of memory after displaying just a few
images, you can dramatically reduce the amount of dynamic heap used by
expanding the JPEG into a memory array that's already scaled to match the size
of the destination view. The following example method demonstrates this
private void setPic() {
// Get the dimensions of the View
int targetW = mImageView.getWidth();
int targetH = mImageView.getHeight();
// Get the dimensions of the bitmap
BitmapFactory.Options bmOptions = new BitmapFactory.Options();
bmOptions.inJustDecodeBounds = true;
BitmapFactory.decodeFile(mCurrentPhotoPath, bmOptions);
int photoW = bmOptions.outWidth;
int photoH = bmOptions.outHeight;
// Determine how much to scale down the image
int scaleFactor = Math.min(photoW/targetW, photoH/targetH);
// Decode the image file into a Bitmap sized to fill the View
bmOptions.inJustDecodeBounds = false;
bmOptions.inSampleSize = scaleFactor;
bmOptions.inPurgeable = true;
Bitmap bitmap = BitmapFactory.decodeFile(mCurrentPhotoPath, bmOptions);