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page.title=Ensuring Compatibility with Managed Profiles
page.metaDescription=Learn how to make sure your apps operate smoothly in a corporate environment by following some best practices.
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<h2>This lesson teaches you to</h2>
<li><a href="#prevent_failed_intents">Prevent Failed Intents</a></li>
<li><a href="#sharing_files">Share Files Across Profiles</a></li>
<li><a href="#testing_apps">Test your App for Compatibility with Managed
<!-- related docs (NOT javadocs) -->
<li><a href="{@docRoot}samples/BasicManagedProfile/index.html">BasicManagedProfile</a></li>
<p>The Android platform allows devices to have
<a href="{@docRoot}about/versions/android-5.0.html#Enterprise">managed
profiles</a>. A managed profile is controlled by an administrator, and the
functionality available to it is set separately from the functionality of the
user's primary profile. This approach lets enterprises control the environment
where company-specific apps and data are running on a user's device, while still
letting users use their personal apps and profiles.</p>
<p>This lesson shows you how to modify your application so it functions
reliably on a device with managed profiles. You don't need to do anything
besides the ordinary app-development best practices. However, some of these best
practices become especially important on devices with managed profiles. This
document highlights the issues you need to be aware of.</p>
<h2 id="overview">Overview</h2>
<p>Users often want to use their personal devices in an enterprise setting. This
situation can present enterprises with a dilemma. If the user can use their own
device, the enterprise has to worry that confidential information (like employee
emails and contacts) are on a device the enterprise does not control. </p>
<p>To address this situation, Android 5.0 (API level 21) allows enterprises to
set up <i>managed profiles</i>. If a device has a managed profile, the profile's
settings are under the control of the enterprise administrator. The
administrator can choose which apps are allowed for that profile, and can
control just what device features are available to the profile.</p>
<p>If a device has a managed profile, there are implications for apps
running on the device, no matter which profile the app is running under:</p>
<li>By default, most intents do not cross from one profile to the other. If an
app running on profile fires an intent, there is no handler for the intent on
that profile, and the intent is not allowed to cross to the other profile
due to profile restrictions, the request fails and the app may shut down
<li>The profile administrator can limit which system apps are available on the
managed profile. This restriction can also result in there being no handler for
some common intents on the managed profile.</li>
<li>Since the managed and unmanaged profiles have separate storage areas, a
file URI that is valid on one profile is not valid on the other. Any
intent fired on one profile might be handled on the other (depending on profile
settings), so it is not safe to attach file URIs to intents.</li>
<h2 id="prevent_failed_intents">Prevent Failed Intents</h2>
<p>On a device with a managed profile, there are restrictions on whether intents
can cross from one profile to another. In most cases, when an intent is fired
off, it is handled on the same profile where it is fired. If there is no handler
for the intent <em>on that profile</em>, the intent is not handled and the app
that fired it may shut down unexpectedly&mdash;even if there's a handler for the
intent on the other profile.</p>
<p>The profile administrator can choose which intents are
allowed to cross from one profile to another. Since the administrator makes
this decision, there's no way for you
to know in advance <em>which</em> intents are allowed to cross this boundary. The
administrator sets this policy, and is free to change it at any time.</p>
<p>Before your app starts an activity, you should verify that there is a
suitable resolution. You
can verify that there is an acceptable resolution by calling {@link
android.content.Intent#resolveActivity Intent.resolveActivity()}. If there is no
way to resolve the intent, the method returns
<code>null</code>. If the method returns non-null, there is at least one way to
resolve the intent, and it is safe to fire off the intent. In this case, the
intent could be resolvable either
because there is a handler on the current profile, or because the intent is
allowed to cross to a handler on the other profile. (For more information about
resolving intents, see <a
href="{@docRoot}guide/components/intents-common.html">Common Intents</a>.)</p>
<p>For example, if your app needs to set timers, it would need to check that
there's a valid handler for the {@link
android.provider.AlarmClock#ACTION_SET_TIMER} intent. If the app cannot resolve
the intent, it should take an appropriate action (such as showing an error
<pre>public void startTimer(String message, int seconds) {
// Build the "set timer" intent
Intent timerIntent = new Intent(AlarmClock.ACTION_SET_TIMER)
.putExtra(AlarmClock.EXTRA_MESSAGE, message)
.putExtra(AlarmClock.EXTRA_LENGTH, seconds)
.putExtra(AlarmClock.EXTRA_SKIP_UI, true);
// Check if there's a handler for the intent
<strong>if (timerIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) == null)</strong> {
// Can't resolve the intent! Fail this operation cleanly
// (perhaps by showing an error message)
} else {
// Intent resolves, it's safe to fire it off
<h2 id="sharing_files">Share Files Across Profiles</h2>
<p>Sometimes an app needs to provide other apps with access to its own files.
For example, an image gallery app might want to share its images with image
editors. There are two ways you would ordinarily share a file: with a <em>file
URI</em> or a <em>content URI</em>.</p>
<p>A file URI begins with the <code>file:</code> prefix, followed by the
absolute path of the file on the device's storage. However, because the
managed profile and the personal profile use separate storage areas, a file URI
that is valid on one profile is not valid on the other. This situation
means that if you
attach a file URI to an intent, and the intent is handled on the other profile,
the handler is not able to access the file.</p>
<p>Instead, you should share files with <em>content URIs</em>. Content URIs
identify the file in a more secure, shareable fashion. The content URI contains
the file path, but also the authority that provides the file, and an ID number
identifying the file. You can generate a content ID for any file by using a
{@link}. You can then share that content
ID with other apps (even on the other profile). The recipient can use the
content ID to get access to the actual file.</p>
<p>For example, here's how you would get the content URI for a specific file
<pre>// Open File object from its file URI
File fileToShare = new File(<em>fileUriToShare</em>);
Uri contentUriToShare = FileProvider.getUriForFile(getContext(),
<em>"com.example.myapp.fileprovider"</em>, fileToShare);</pre>
<p>When you call the {@link getUriForFile()} method,
you must include the file provider's authority (in this example,
<code>"com.example.myapp.fileprovider"</code>), which is specified in the
<a href="{@docRoot}guide/topics/manifest/provider-element.html"><code>&lt;provider&gt;</code></a>
element of your app manifest.
For more information about sharing files with content URIs, see
<a href="{@docRoot}training/secure-file-sharing/index.html">Sharing
<h2 id="testing_apps">Test your App for Compatibility with Managed Profiles</h2>
<p>You should test your app in a managed-profile environment to
catch problems that would cause your app to fail on a device with
managed profiles. In particular, testing on a managed-profile device is a good
way to make sure that your app handles intents properly: not firing intents that
can't be handled, not attaching URIs that don't work cross-profile, and so
<p>We have provided a sample app, <a
which you can use to set up a managed profile on an Android device that runs
Android 5.0 (API level 21) and higher. This app offers you a simple way to test
your app in a managed-profile environment. You can also use this app to
configure the managed profile as follows:</p>
<li>Specify which default apps are available on the managed
<li>Configure which intents are allowed to cross from one profile to
the other</li>
<p>If you manually install an app over a USB cable to a device which has a
managed profile, the app is installed on both the managed and the unmanaged
profile. Once you have installed the app, you can test the app under the
following conditions:</p>
<li>If an intent would ordinarily be handled by a default app (for example,
the camera app), try disabling that default app on the managed profile, and
verify that the app handles this appropriately.</li>
<li>If you fire an intent expecting it to be handled by some other app, try
enabling and disabling that intent's permission to cross from one profile to
another. Verify that the app behaves properly under both circumstances. If the
intent is not allowed to cross between profiles, verify the app's behavior both
when there is a suitable handler on the app's profile, and when there is not.
For example, if your app fires a map-related intent, try each of the following
<li>The device allows map intents to cross from one profile to the other, and
there is a suitable handler on the other profile (the profile the app is not
running on)</li>
<li>The device does not allow map intents to cross between profiles, but there
is a suitable handler on the app's profile</li>
<li>The device does not allow map intents to cross between profiles, and there
is no suitable handler for map intents on the device's profile</li>
<li>If you attach content to an intent, verify that the intent behaves properly
both when it is handled on the app's profile, and when it crosses between
<h3 id="testing_tips">Testing on managed profiles: Tips and tricks</h3>
<p>There are a few tricks that you may find helpful in testing on a
managed-profile device.</p>
<li>As noted, when you side-load an app on a managed profile device, it is
installed on both profiles. If you wish, you can delete the app from one profile
and leave it on the other.</li>
<li>Most of the activity manager commands available in the <a
href="{@docRoot}tools/help/adb.html">Android Debug Bridge</a> (adb) shell
support the <code>--user</code> flag, which lets you specify which user to run
as. By specifying a user, you can choose whether to run as the unmanaged or
managed profile. For
more information, see <a href="{@docRoot}tools/help/adb.html#am">Android Debug
Bridge: Using activity manager (am)</a>.</li>
<li>To find the active users on a device, use the adb package manager's
<code>list users</code> command. The first number in the output string is the
user ID, which you can use with the <code>--user</code> flag. For more
information, see <a href="{@docRoot}tools/help/adb.html#pm">Android Debug
Bridge: Using package manager (pm)</a>.</li>
<p>For example, to find the users on a device, you would run this command:</p>
<pre class="no-pretty-print">$ <strong>adb shell pm list users</strong>
UserInfo{0:Drew:13} running
UserInfo{10:Work profile:30} running</pre>
<p>In this case, the unmanaged profile ("Drew") has the user ID 0, and the
managed profile has the user ID 10. To run an app in the work profile, you
would use a command like this:</p>
<pre class="no-pretty-print">$ adb shell am start --user 10 \
-n "<em>com.example.myapp/com.example.myapp.testactivity</em>" \
-a android.intent.action.MAIN -c android.intent.category.LAUNCHER</pre>