Using Intents and Intent Filters in your apps: A tutorial

Android Intents and Intent Filters tutorial icon

Our tutorial app shows you how to use intents and intent filters in your apps.

Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll cover. We’ll show you how to:

  • use explicit intents to:
    • start a new activity
    • start an activity to get a result
    • start a service
    • broadcast an intent
    • start a new activity from within a broadcast receiver
  • use implicit intents to:
    • use other app’s components to:
      • send an email
      • pick a contact from the contacts list
      • make a phone call
  • use a pending intent to send a notification
  • use intent filters for:
    • a broadcast receiver
    • an activity

Intents and Intent Filters

Getting to know Intents and Intent Filters

Android Intents and Intent Filters icon

Intents are messages that you can pass around between your app components. You can also send them to components in other apps. This enables you to create powerful applications where you can use other app’s components to perform tasks for you, such as playing music, sending email, and taking pictures.

Here are some of the things that you can do with intents:

  • Start activities
  • Start Services
  • Deliver broadcasts

The Android System also uses intents to signal changes such as low battery, incoming sms messages and phone calls. You can listen for these intent messages in your apps.  You can also use intents to pass data.