Android applications exist in a dynamic environment where various factors can change at any moment, from system-level events like losing network connectivity to user-driven events like changing the device’s orientation. Learning how to handle these changes is key to creating robust and user-friendly apps. In this article, we’ll delve into how to handle system-level events and manage orientation changes in Android.

System Level Events: Listening with BroadcastReceivers

System level events are notifications broadcast by the Android system or applications about actions or changes that might interest other apps. These events can relate to various system-wide occurrences, such as network connectivity changes, battery low alerts, time changes, or a user installing a new app.

To respond to system level events, Android provides the BroadcastReceiver component. A BroadcastReceiver acts as a gateway to the app; it can react to a particular event by executing a specific block of code, whether the app is running, paused, or even stopped.

There are three main steps to use a BroadcastReceiver:

  1. Define the BroadcastReceiver: Create a subclass of BroadcastReceiver and override its onReceive() method, where you’ll define what happens when the event occurs.
  2. Register the BroadcastReceiver: Register your BroadcastReceiver in your app’s manifest file or dynamically at runtime in your code. The registration includes specifying the types of events it should respond to.
  3. Handle permissions: Some system events may require specific permissions. Make sure to include these in your app’s manifest file.

Orientation Changes: Managing Activity Recreation

When a device’s screen orientation changes between portrait and landscape, the displayed Android Activity gets destroyed and recreated to reflect the new screen orientation. While Android handles this process automatically, it can disrupt user experience if not managed correctly, especially when the activity holds user data, like text in a form.

To properly handle orientation changes, you’ll need to preserve the necessary data across activity instances. Android provides several methods to help with this:

  1. Save instance state: Override onSaveInstanceState() to save your activity’s state to a bundle that the system saves across configuration changes. Then, in onCreate() or onRestoreInstanceState(), retrieve the saved state from the bundle and use it to restore your activity state.
  2. Prevent activity recreation: In some cases, you might want to handle the orientation change yourself to avoid activity recreation. You can declare this in your manifest file using android:configChanges. However, this method should generally be used as a last resort when your app has specific needs.


Being aware of and properly managing system level events and orientation changes can dramatically improve the robustness and user-friendliness of your Android apps. By handling these changes effectively, you can ensure your app behaves correctly and provides a seamless user experience no matter what the circumstances are.


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