Android EditText delete(backspace) key event


How can I detect delete (backspace) key event for a editText? I've tried using TextWatcher, but when the editText is empty, when I press delete key, nothing happens. I want to detect delete key press foe an editText even if it has no text.

7/20/2015 1:06:26 PM

Accepted Answer

NOTE: onKeyListener doesn't work for soft keyboards.

You can set OnKeyListener for you editText so you can detect any key press
EDIT: A common mistake we are checking KeyEvent.KEYCODE_BACK for backspace, but really it is KeyEvent.KEYCODE_DEL (Really that name is very confusing! )

editText.setOnKeyListener(new OnKeyListener() {                 
    public boolean onKey(View v, int keyCode, KeyEvent event) {
        //You can identify which key pressed buy checking keyCode value with KeyEvent.KEYCODE_
        if(keyCode == KeyEvent.KEYCODE_DEL) {  
            //this is for backspace
        return false;       
4/17/2018 11:53:02 PM

It's been a while since you asked but I just had the same issue. As already mentioned by Estel the problem with key listeners is that they only work with hardware keyboards. To do this with an IME (soft keyboard), the solution is a bit more elaborate.

The single method we actually want to override is sendKeyEvent in the EditText's InputConnection class. This method is called when key events occur in an IME. But in order to override this, we need to implement a custom EditText which overrides the onCreateInputConnection method, wrapping the default InputConnection object in a proxy class! :|

Sounds complicated, but here's the simplest example I could contrive:

public class ZanyEditText extends EditText {

    private Random r = new Random();

    public ZanyEditText(Context context, AttributeSet attrs, int defStyle) {
        super(context, attrs, defStyle);

    public ZanyEditText(Context context, AttributeSet attrs) {
        super(context, attrs);

    public ZanyEditText(Context context) {

    public void setRandomBackgroundColor() {
        setBackgroundColor(Color.rgb(r.nextInt(256), r.nextInt(256), r

    public InputConnection onCreateInputConnection(EditorInfo outAttrs) {
        return new ZanyInputConnection(super.onCreateInputConnection(outAttrs),

    private class ZanyInputConnection extends InputConnectionWrapper {

        public ZanyInputConnection(InputConnection target, boolean mutable) {
            super(target, mutable);

        public boolean sendKeyEvent(KeyEvent event) {
            if (event.getAction() == KeyEvent.ACTION_DOWN
                    && event.getKeyCode() == KeyEvent.KEYCODE_DEL) {
                // Un-comment if you wish to cancel the backspace:
                // return false;
            return super.sendKeyEvent(event);



The line with the call to setRandomBackgroundColor is where my special backspace action occurs. In this case, changing the EditText's background colour.

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