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page.title=Keeping Your App Responsive
page.tags=threads,asynctask
page.article=true
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<h2>In this document</h2>
<ol class="nolist">
<li><a href="#anr">What Triggers ANR?</a></li>
<li><a href="#Avoiding">How to Avoid ANRs</a></li>
<li><a href="#Reinforcing">Reinforcing Responsiveness</a></li>
</ol>
<h2>You should also read</h2>
<ul>
<li><a href="/topic/performance/background-optimization.html">Background Optimizations</a>
<li><a href="/topic/performance/scheduling.html">Intelligent Job-Scheduling</a>
<li><a href="/training/monitoring-device-state/manifest-receivers.html">Manipulating Broadcast Receivers On Demand</a>
<li><a href="/guide/components/intents-filters.html">Intents and Intent Filters</a>
</ul>
</div>
</div>
<div class="figure" style="width:280px">
<img src="{@docRoot}images/anr.png" alt=""/>
<p class="img-caption"><strong>Figure 1.</strong> An ANR dialog displayed to the user.</p>
</div>
<p>It's possible to write code that wins every performance test in the world,
but still feels sluggish, hang or freeze for significant periods, or take too
long to process input. The worst thing that can happen to your app's responsiveness
is an "Application Not Responding" (ANR) dialog.</p>
<p>In Android, the system guards against applications that are insufficiently
responsive for a period of time by displaying a dialog that says your app has
stopped responding, such as the dialog
in Figure 1. At this point, your app has been unresponsive for a considerable
period of time so the system offers the user an option to quit the app. It's critical
to design responsiveness into your application so the system never displays
an ANR dialog to the user. </p>
<p>This document describes how the Android system determines whether an
application is not responding and provides guidelines for ensuring that your
application stays responsive. </p>
<h2 id="anr">What Triggers ANR?</h2>
<p>Generally, the system displays an ANR if an application cannot respond to
user input. For example, if an application blocks on some I/O operation
(frequently a network access) on the UI thread so the system can't
process incoming user input events. Or perhaps the app
spends too much time building an elaborate in-memory
structure or computing the next move in a game on the UI thread. It's always important to make
sure these computations are efficient, but even the
most efficient code still takes time to run.</p>
<p>In any situation in which your app performs a potentially lengthy operation,
<strong>you should not perform the work on the UI thread</strong>, but instead create a
worker thread and do most of the work there. This keeps the UI thread (which drives the user
interface event loop) running and prevents the system from concluding that your code
has frozen. Because such threading usually is accomplished at the class
level, you can think of responsiveness as a <em>class</em> problem. (Compare
this with basic code performance, which is a <em>method</em>-level
concern.)</p>
<p>In Android, application responsiveness is monitored by the Activity Manager
and Window Manager system services. Android will display the ANR dialog
for a particular application when it detects one of the following
conditions:</p>
<ul>
<li>No response to an input event (such as key press or screen touch events)
within 5 seconds.</li>
<li>A {@link android.content.BroadcastReceiver BroadcastReceiver}
hasn't finished executing within 10 seconds.</li>
</ul>
<h2 id="Avoiding">How to Avoid ANRs</h2>
<p>Android applications normally run entirely on a single thread by default
the "UI thread" or "main thread").
This means anything your application is doing in the UI thread that
takes a long time to complete can trigger the ANR dialog because your
application is not giving itself a chance to handle the input event or intent
broadcasts.</p>
<p>Therefore, any method that runs in the UI thread should do as little work
as possible on that thread. In particular, activities should do as little as possible to set
up in key life-cycle methods such as {@link android.app.Activity#onCreate onCreate()}
and {@link android.app.Activity#onResume onResume()}.
Potentially long running operations such as network
or database operations, or computationally expensive calculations such as
resizing bitmaps should be done in a worker thread (or in the case of databases
operations, via an asynchronous request).</p>
<p>The most effective way to create a worker thread for longer
operations is with the {@link android.os.AsyncTask}
class. Simply extend {@link android.os.AsyncTask} and implement the
{@link android.os.AsyncTask#doInBackground doInBackground()} method to perform the work.
To post progress changes to the user, you can call
{@link android.os.AsyncTask#publishProgress publishProgress()}, which invokes the
{@link android.os.AsyncTask#onProgressUpdate onProgressUpdate()} callback method. From your
implementation of {@link android.os.AsyncTask#onProgressUpdate onProgressUpdate()} (which
runs on the UI thread), you can notify the user. For example:</p>
<pre>
private class DownloadFilesTask extends AsyncTask&lt;URL, Integer, Long> {
// Do the long-running work in here
protected Long doInBackground(URL... urls) {
int count = urls.length;
long totalSize = 0;
for (int i = 0; i &lt; count; i++) {
totalSize += Downloader.downloadFile(urls[i]);
publishProgress((int) ((i / (float) count) * 100));
// Escape early if cancel() is called
if (isCancelled()) break;
}
return totalSize;
}
// This is called each time you call publishProgress()
protected void onProgressUpdate(Integer... progress) {
setProgressPercent(progress[0]);
}
// This is called when doInBackground() is finished
protected void onPostExecute(Long result) {
showNotification("Downloaded " + result + " bytes");
}
}
</pre>
<p>To execute this worker thread, simply create an instance and
call {@link android.os.AsyncTask#execute execute()}:</p>
<pre>
new DownloadFilesTask().execute(url1, url2, url3);
</pre>
<p>Although it's more complicated than {@link android.os.AsyncTask}, you might want to instead
create your own {@link java.lang.Thread} or {@link android.os.HandlerThread} class. If you do,
you should set the thread priority to "background" priority by calling {@link
android.os.Process#setThreadPriority Process.setThreadPriority()} and passing {@link
android.os.Process#THREAD_PRIORITY_BACKGROUND}. If you don't set the thread to a lower priority
this way, then the thread could still slow down your app because it operates at the same priority
as the UI thread by default.</p>
<p>If you implement {@link java.lang.Thread} or {@link android.os.HandlerThread},
be sure that your UI thread does not block while waiting for the worker thread to
complete&mdash;do not call {@link java.lang.Object#wait Thread.wait()} or
{@link java.lang.Thread#sleep Thread.sleep()}. Instead of blocking while waiting for a worker
thread to complete, your main thread should provide a {@link
android.os.Handler} for the other threads to post back to upon completion.
Designing your application in this way will allow your app's UI thread to remain
responsive to input and thus avoid ANR dialogs caused by the 5 second input
event timeout.</p>
<p>The specific constraint on {@link android.content.BroadcastReceiver} execution time
emphasizes what broadcast receivers are meant to do:
small, discrete amounts of work in the background such
as saving a setting or registering a {@link android.app.Notification}. So as with other methods
called in the UI thread, applications should avoid potentially long-running
operations or calculations in a broadcast receiver. But instead of doing intensive
tasks via worker threads, your
application should start an {@link android.app.IntentService} if a
potentially long running action needs to be taken in response to an intent
broadcast.</p>
<p>
Another common issue with {@link android.content.BroadcastReceiver} objects
occurs when they execute too frequently. Frequent background execution can
reduce the amount of memory available to other apps.
For more information about how to enable and disable
{@link android.content.BroadcastReceiver} objects efficiently, see
<a href="/training/monitoring-device-state/manifest-receivers.html">Manipulating
Broadcast Receivers on Demand</a>.
</p>
<p class="note"><strong>Tip:</strong>
You can use {@link android.os.StrictMode} to help find potentially
long running operations such as network or database operations that
you might accidentally be doing on your main thread.</p>
<h2 id="Reinforcing">Reinforce Responsiveness</h2>
<p>Generally, 100 to 200ms is the threshold beyond which users will perceive
slowness in an application. As such, here
are some additional tips beyond what you should do to avoid ANR and
make your application seem responsive to users:</p>
<ul>
<li>If your application is doing work in the background in response to
user input, show that progress is being made (such as with a {@link
android.widget.ProgressBar} in your UI).</li>
<li>For games specifically, do calculations for moves in a worker
thread.</li>
<li>If your application has a time-consuming initial setup phase, consider
showing a splash screen or rendering the main view as quickly as possible, indicate that
loading is in progress and fill the information asynchronously. In either case, you should
indicate somehow that progress is being made, lest the user perceive that
the application is frozen.</li>
<li>Use performance tools such as <a href="{@docRoot}tools/help/systrace.html">Systrace</a>
and <a href="{@docRoot}tools/help/traceview.html">Traceview</a> to determine bottlenecks
in your app's responsiveness.</li>
</ul>