Using Intents and Intent Filters

Learn about intents, types of intents, creating and using intents, and the importance of intent filters


The Android framework provides intents to facilitate the communication between components. We can use an intent to start an activity, start a service, deliver a broadcast, or manage notifications.

There are two types of intents. Let’s get an overview of each.

  • Explicit intents expect us to specify the exact component name—such as the application name or the component’s class name—thus satisfying the desired action. This type of intent is usually used to interact with a component in our application, like starting an activity or a specific service.
  • Implicit intents don’t expect us to specify the target implicitly. More than one application could perform the action, and we want to delegate this to someone who can complete this job. For example, when we click the “Share” button from the gallery, multiple applications show up. When we fire an implicit intent, the Android framework’s job is to find relevant applications that can handle this kind of job.

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