I am new to android development and and I want to setup some of application's attributes based on Application first run after installation. Is there any way to find that the application is running for the first time and then to setup its first run attributes?

Solution 1

The following is an example of using SharedPreferences to achieve a 'first run' check.

public class MyActivity extends Activity {

    SharedPreferences prefs = null;

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        // Perhaps set content view here

        prefs = getSharedPreferences("com.mycompany.myAppName", MODE_PRIVATE);

    protected void onResume() {

        if (prefs.getBoolean("firstrun", true)) {
            // Do first run stuff here then set 'firstrun' as false
            // using the following line to edit/commit prefs
            prefs.edit().putBoolean("firstrun", false).commit();

When the code runs prefs.getBoolean(...) if there isn't a boolean saved in SharedPreferences with the key "firstrun" then that indicates the app has never been run (because nothing has ever saved a boolean with that key or the user has cleared the app data in order to force a 'first run' scenario). If this isn't the first run then the line prefs.edit().putBoolean("firstrun", false).commit(); will have been executed and therefore prefs.getBoolean("firstrun", true) will actually return false as it overrides the default true provided as the second parameter.

Solution 2

The accepted answer doesn't differentiate between a first run and subsequent upgrades. Just setting a boolean in shared preferences will only tell you if it is the first run after the app is first installed. Later if you want to upgrade your app and make some changes on the first run of that upgrade, you won't be able to use that boolean any more because shared preferences are saved across upgrades.

This method uses shared preferences to save the version code rather than a boolean.

import com.yourpackage.BuildConfig;

private void checkFirstRun() {

    final String PREFS_NAME = "MyPrefsFile";
    final String PREF_VERSION_CODE_KEY = "version_code";
    final int DOESNT_EXIST = -1;

    // Get current version code
    int currentVersionCode = BuildConfig.VERSION_CODE;

    // Get saved version code
    SharedPreferences prefs = getSharedPreferences(PREFS_NAME, MODE_PRIVATE);
    int savedVersionCode = prefs.getInt(PREF_VERSION_CODE_KEY, DOESNT_EXIST);

    // Check for first run or upgrade
    if (currentVersionCode == savedVersionCode) {

        // This is just a normal run

    } else if (savedVersionCode == DOESNT_EXIST) {

        // TODO This is a new install (or the user cleared the shared preferences)

    } else if (currentVersionCode > savedVersionCode) {

        // TODO This is an upgrade

    // Update the shared preferences with the current version code
    prefs.edit().putInt(PREF_VERSION_CODE_KEY, currentVersionCode).apply();

You would probably call this method from onCreate in your main activity so that it is checked every time your app starts.

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {


    private void checkFirstRun() {
        // ...

If you needed to, you could adjust the code to do specific things depending on what version the user previously had installed.

Idea came from this answer. These also helpful:

If you are having trouble getting the version code, see the following Q&A:

Solution 3

    import java.io.File;
    import java.io.FileOutputStream;
    import java.io.IOException;
    import java.io.RandomAccessFile;
    import java.util.UUID;

    import android.content.Context;

    public class Util {
        // ===========================================================
        // ===========================================================

        private static final String INSTALLATION = "INSTALLATION";

        public synchronized static boolean isFirstLaunch(Context context) {
            String sID = null;
            boolean launchFlag = false;
            if (sID == null) {
                File installation = new File(context.getFilesDir(), INSTALLATION);
                try {
                    if (!installation.exists()) {
                    launchFlag = true;                          
                    sID = readInstallationFile(installation);

                } catch (Exception e) {
                    throw new RuntimeException(e);
            return launchFlag;

        private static String readInstallationFile(File installation) throws IOException {
            RandomAccessFile f = new RandomAccessFile(installation, "r");// read only mode
            byte[] bytes = new byte[(int) f.length()];

            return new String(bytes);

        private static void writeInstallationFile(File installation) throws IOException {
            FileOutputStream out = new FileOutputStream(installation);
            String id = UUID.randomUUID().toString();

> Usage (in class extending android.app.Activity)


Solution 4

There is no way to know that through the Android API. You have to store some flag by yourself and make it persist either in a SharedPreferenceEditor or using a database.

If you want to base some licence related stuff on this flag, I suggest you use an obfuscated preference editor provided by the LVL library. It's simple and clean.

Regards, Stephane

Solution 5

I'm not sure it's good way to check it. What about case when user uses button "clear data" from settings? SharedPreferences will be cleared and you catch "first run" again. And it's a problem. I guess it's better idea to use InstallReferrerReceiver.

Solution 6

Just check for some preference with default value indicating that it's a first run. So if you get default value, do your initialization and set this preference to different value to indicate that the app is initialized already.

Solution 7

The following is an example of using SharedPreferences to achieve a 'forWhat' check.

    preferences = PreferenceManager.getDefaultSharedPreferences(context);
    preferencesEditor = preferences.edit();
public static boolean isFirstRun(String forWhat) {
    if (preferences.getBoolean(forWhat, true)) {
        preferencesEditor.putBoolean(forWhat, false).commit();
        return true;
    } else {
        return false;

Solution 8

There's no reliable way to detect first run, as the shared preferences way is not always safe, the user can delete the shared preferences data from the settings! a better way is to use the answers here Is there a unique Android device ID? to get the device's unique ID and store it somewhere in your server, so whenever the user launches the app you request the server and check if it's there in your database or it is new.

Solution 9

SharedPreferences mPrefs;
final String welcomeScreenShownPref = "welcomeScreenShown";

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

    mPrefs = PreferenceManager.getDefaultSharedPreferences(this);

    // second argument is the default to use if the preference can't be found
    Boolean welcomeScreenShown = mPrefs.getBoolean(welcomeScreenShownPref, false);

    if (!welcomeScreenShown) {
        // here you can launch another activity if you like

        SharedPreferences.Editor editor = mPrefs.edit();
        editor.putBoolean(welcomeScreenShownPref, true);
        editor.commit(); // Very important to save the preference


Solution 10

This might help you

public class FirstActivity extends Activity {

    SharedPreferences sharedPreferences = null;
    Editor editor;

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {


        sharedPreferences = getSharedPreferences("com.myAppName", MODE_PRIVATE);

    protected void onResume() {

        if (sharedPreferences.getBoolean("firstRun", true)) {
         //You can perform anything over here. This will call only first time
                 editor = sharedPreferences.edit();
                 editor.putBoolean("firstRun", false)