How to save an Android Activity state using save instance state?


I've been working on the Android SDK platform, and it is a little unclear how to save an application's state. So given this minor re-tooling of the 'Hello, Android' example:


import android.os.Bundle;
import android.widget.TextView;

public class HelloAndroid extends Activity {

  private TextView mTextView = null;

  /** Called when the activity is first created. */
  public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

    mTextView = new TextView(this);

    if (savedInstanceState == null) {
       mTextView.setText("Welcome to HelloAndroid!");
    } else {
       mTextView.setText("Welcome back.");


I thought it would be enough for the simplest case, but it always responds with the first message, no matter how I navigate away from the app.

I'm sure the solution is as simple as overriding onPause or something like that, but I've been poking away in the documentation for 30 minutes or so and haven't found anything obvious.

5/29/2019 6:21:26 AM

Accepted Answer

You need to override onSaveInstanceState(Bundle savedInstanceState) and write the application state values you want to change to the Bundle parameter like this:

public void onSaveInstanceState(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
  // Save UI state changes to the savedInstanceState.
  // This bundle will be passed to onCreate if the process is
  // killed and restarted.
  savedInstanceState.putBoolean("MyBoolean", true);
  savedInstanceState.putDouble("myDouble", 1.9);
  savedInstanceState.putInt("MyInt", 1);
  savedInstanceState.putString("MyString", "Welcome back to Android");
  // etc.

The Bundle is essentially a way of storing a NVP ("Name-Value Pair") map, and it will get passed in to onCreate() and also onRestoreInstanceState() where you would then extract the values like this:

public void onRestoreInstanceState(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
  // Restore UI state from the savedInstanceState.
  // This bundle has also been passed to onCreate.
  boolean myBoolean = savedInstanceState.getBoolean("MyBoolean");
  double myDouble = savedInstanceState.getDouble("myDouble");
  int myInt = savedInstanceState.getInt("MyInt");
  String myString = savedInstanceState.getString("MyString");

You would usually use this technique to store instance values for your application (selections, unsaved text, etc.).

2/12/2019 11:03:19 AM

The savedInstanceState is only for saving state associated with a current instance of an Activity, for example current navigation or selection info, so that if Android destroys and recreates an Activity, it can come back as it was before. See the documentation for onCreate and onSaveInstanceState

For more long lived state, consider using a SQLite database, a file, or preferences. See Saving Persistent State.

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