Create custom Quick Settings tiles for your app

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Quick Settings are tiles displayed in the Quick Settings panel, representing actions, that users can tap to quickly complete recurring tasks. Your app can provide a custom tile to users through the TileService class, and use a Tile object to track the state of the tile. For example, you could create a tile that lets users turn a VPN provided by your app on or off.

Quick Settings panel with the VPN tile turned
  on and off
Figure 1: Quick Settings panel with the VPN tile turned on and off

Decide when to create a tile

We recommend creating tiles for specific functionalities that you expect users to either access often or need fast access to (or both). The most effective tiles are the ones that match both of these qualities, providing quick access to frequently-performed actions.

For example, you could create a tile for a fitness app that would allow users to quickly start a workout session. However, we wouldn’t recommend creating a tile for the same app that would allow users to review their entire workout history.

Fitness app tile use cases
Figure 2: Examples of recommended versus non-recommended tiles for a fitness app

To help improve your tile's discoverability and ease of use, we recommend avoiding certain practices:

  • Avoid using tiles to launch an app. Use an app shortcut or a standard launcher instead.

  • Avoid using tiles for one-time user actions. Use an app shortcut or a notification instead.

  • Avoid creating too many tiles. We recommend a maximum of two per app. Use an app shortcut instead.

  • Avoid using tiles that display information, but aren't interactive for users. Use a notification or a widget instead.

Create your tile

To create a tile, you need to first create an appropriate tile icon, then create and declare your TileService in your app's manifest file.

The Quick Settings sample provides an example of how to create and manage a tile.

Create your custom icon

You’ll need to supply a custom icon, which displays on the tile in the Quick Settings panel. (You'll add this icon when declaring the TileService, described in the next section.) The icon must be a solid white with a transparent background, measure 24 x 24dp, and be in the form of a VectorDrawable.

Example of a vector drawable
Figure 3: Example of a vector drawable

Create an icon that visually hints at the purpose of your tile. This helps users easily identify if your tile fits their needs. For example, you might create an icon of a stopwatch for a tile for a fitness app that allows users to start a workout session.

Create and declare your TileService

Create a service for your tile that extends the TileService class.

Kotlin

class MyQSTileService: TileService() {

  // Called when the user adds your tile.
  override fun onTileAdded() {
    super.onTileAdded()
  }
  // Called when your app can update your tile.
  override fun onStartListening() {
    super.onStartListening()
  }

  // Called when your app can no longer update your tile.
  override fun onStopListening() {
    super.onStopListening()
  }

  // Called when the user taps on your tile in an active or inactive state.
  override fun onClick() {
    super.onClick()
  }
  // Called when the user removes your tile.
  override fun onTileRemoved() {
    super.onTileRemoved()
  }
}

Java

public class MyQSTileService extends TileService {

  // Called when the user adds your tile.
  @Override
  public void onTileAdded() {
    super.onTileAdded();
  }

  // Called when your app can update your tile.
  @Override
  public void onStartListening() {
    super.onStartListening();
  }

  // Called when your app can no longer update your tile.
  @Override
  public void onStopListening() {
    super.onStopListening();
  }

  // Called when the user taps on your tile in an active or inactive state.
  @Override
  public void onClick() {
    super.onClick();
  }

  // Called when the user removes your tile.
  @Override
  public void onTileRemoved() {
    super.onTileRemoved();
  }
}

Declare your TileService in your app's manifest file. Add the name and label of your TileService, the custom icon you created in the preceding section, and the appropriate permission.

 <service
     android:name=".MyQSTileService"
     android:label="@string/my_default_tile_label"  // 18-character limit.
     android:icon="@drawable/my_default_icon_label"
     android:permission="android.permission.BIND_QUICK_SETTINGS_TILE">
     <intent-filter>
         <action android:name="android.service.quicksettings.action.QS_TILE" />
     </intent-filter>
 </service>

Manage your TileService

Once you’ve created and declared your TileService in your app manifest, you have to manage its state.

TileService is a bound service. Your TileService is bound when requested by your app or if the system needs to communicate with it. A typical bound-service lifecycle contains the following four callback methods: onCreate(), onBind(), onUnbind(), and onDestroy(). These methods are invoked by the system each time the service enters a new lifecycle phase.

TileService lifecycle overview

In addition to the callbacks that control the bound-service lifecycle, you must implement other methods specific to the TileService lifecycle. These methods may be called outside of onCreate() and onDestroy() because the Service lifecycle methods and the TileService lifecycle methods are called in two separate asynchronous threads.

The TileService lifecycle contains the following methods, which are invoked by the system each time your TileService enters a new lifecycle phase:

  • onTileAdded(): This method is called only when the user adds your tile for the first time, and if the user removes and adds your tile again. This is the best time to do any one-time initialization. However, this may not satisfy all the needed initialization.

  • onStartListening() and onStopListening(): These methods are called whenever your app updates the tile, and are called often. The TileService remains bound between onStartListening() and onStopListening(), allowing your app to modify the tile and push updates.

  • onTileRemoved(): This method is called only if the user removes your tile.

Select a listening mode

Your TileService listens in active mode or non-active mode. We recommend using active mode, which you’ll need to declare in the app manifest. Otherwise, the TileService is the standard mode and doesn’t need to be declared.

Do not assume your TileService will live outside of onStartListening() and onStopListening() pair of methods.

Use active mode for a TileService that listens and monitors its state in its own process. A TileService in active mode is bound for onTileAdded(), onTileRemoved(), tap events, and when requested by the app process.

We recommend active mode if your TileService is notified when your tile state should be updated by its own process. Active tiles limit the strain on the system because they do not have to be bound every time the Quick Settings panel becomes visible to the user.

The static TileService.requestListeningState() method can be called to request the start of the listening state and receive a callback to onStartListening().

You can declare active mode by adding the META_DATA_ACTIVE_TILE to your app's manifest file.

<service ...>
    <meta-data android:name="android.service.quicksettings.ACTIVE_TILE"
         android:value="true" />
    ...
</service>

Non-active mode

Non-active mode is the standard mode. A TileService is in non-active mode if it is bound whenever your tile is visible to the user. This means that your TileService may be created and bound again at times beyond its control. It also may be unbound and destroyed when the user is not viewing the tile.

Your app receives a callback to onStartListening() after the user opens their Quick Settings panel. You can update your Tile object as many times as you want between onStartListening() and onStopListening().

You do not need to declare non-active mode—simply do not add the META_DATA_ACTIVE_TILE to your app's manifest file.

Tile states overview

After a user adds your tile, it always exists in one of the following states.

  • STATE_ACTIVE: Indicates an on or enabled state. The user can interact with your tile while in this state.

    For example, for a fitness app tile that lets users initiate a timed workout session, STATE_ACTIVE would mean that the user has initiated a workout session and the timer is running.

  • STATE_INACTIVE: Indicates an off or paused state. The user can interact with your tile while in this state.

    To use the fitness app tile example again, a tile in STATE_INACTIVE would mean that the user hasn't initiated a workout session, but could do so if they wanted to.

  • STATE_UNAVAILABLE: Indicates a temporarily unavailable state. The user cannot interact with your tile while in this state.

    For example, a tile in STATE_UNAVAILABLE means that the tile is not currently available to the user for some reason.

The system only sets the initial state of your Tile object. You set the Tile object's state throughout the rest of its lifecycle.

The system may tint the tile icon and background to reflect the state of your Tile object. Tile objects set to STATE_ACTIVE are the darkest, with STATE_INACTIVE and STATE_UNAVAILABLE increasingly lighter. The exact hue is specific to the manufacturer and version.

VPN tile tinted to reflect object states
Figure 4: Examples of a tile tinted to reflect the tile state (active, inactive, and unavailable states, respectively)

Update your tile

You can update your tile once you receive a callback to onStartListening(). Depending on the tile's mode, your tile can be updated at least once until receiving a callback to onStopListening().

In active mode, you can update your tile exactly once before receiving a callback to onStopListening(). In non-active mode, you can update your tile as many times as you want between onStartListening() and onStopListening().

You can retrieve your Tile object by calling getQsTile(). To update specific fields of your Tile object, call the following methods:

You must call updateTile() to update your tile once you’re done setting the fields of the Tile object to the correct values. This will make the system parse the updated tile data and update the UI.

Kotlin

data class StateModel(val enabled: Boolean, val label: String, val icon: Icon)

override fun onStartListening() {
  super.onStartListening()
  val state = getStateFromService()
  qsTile.label = state.label
  qsTile.contentDescription = tile.label
  qsTile.state = if (state.enabled) Tile.STATE_ACTIVE else Tile.STATE_INACTIVE
  qsTile.icon = state.icon
  qsTile.updateTile()
}

Java

public class StateModel {
  final boolean enabled;
  final String label;
  final Icon icon;

  public StateModel(boolean e, String l, Icon i) {
    enabled = e;
    label = l;
    icon = i;
  }
}

@Override
public void onStartListening() {
  super.onStartListening();
  StateModel state = getStateFromService();
  Tile tile = getQsTile();
  tile.setLabel(state.label);
  tile.setContentDescription(state.label);
  tile.setState(state.enabled ? Tile.STATE_ACTIVE : Tile.STATE_INACTIVE);
  tile.setIcon(state.icon);
  tile.updateTile();
}

Handle taps

Users can tap on your tile to trigger an action if your tile is in STATE_ACTIVE or STATE_INACTIVE. The system then invokes your app's onClick() callback.

Once your app receives a callback to onClick(), it can launch a dialog or activity, trigger background work, or change the state of your tile.

Kotlin

var clicks = 0
override fun onClick() {
  super.onClick()
  counter++
  qsTile.state = if (counter % 2 == 0) Tile.STATE_ACTIVE else Tile.STATE_INACTIVE
  qsTile.label = "Clicked $counter times"
  qsTile.contentDescription = qsTile.label
  qsTile.updateTile()
}

Java

int clicks = 0;

@Override
public void onClick() {
  super.onClick();
  counter++;
  Tile tile = getQsTile();
  tile.setState((counter % 2 == 0) ? Tile.STATE_ACTIVE : Tile.STATE_INACTIVE);
  tile.setLabel("Clicked " + counter + " times");
  tile.setContentDescription(tile.getLabel());
  tile.updateTile();
}

Launch a dialog

showDialog() collapses the Quick Settings panel and shows a dialog. Use a dialog to add context to your action if it requires additional input or user consent.

Launch an activity

startActivityAndCollapse() starts an activity while collapsing the panel. Activities are useful if there’s more detailed information to display than within a dialog, or if your action is highly interactive.

If your app requires significant user interaction, the app should launch an activity only as a last resort. Instead, consider using a dialog or a toggle.

Long-tapping a tile prompts the App Info screen for the user. To override this behavior and instead launch an activity for setting preferences, add an <intent-filter> to one of your activities with ACTION_QS_TILE_PREFERENCES.

Mark your tile as toggleable

We recommend marking your tile as toggleable if it functions primarily as a two-state switch (which is the most common behavior of tiles). This helps provide information about the behavior of the tile to the operating system and improve overall accessibility.

Set the TOGGLEABLE_TILE metadata to true to mark your tile as toggleable.

<service ...>
  <meta-data android:name="android.service.quicksettings.TOGGLEABLE_TILE"
    android:value="true" />
</service>

Perform only safe actions on securely-locked devices

Your tile may display on top of the lock screen on locked devices. If the tile contains sensitive information, check the value of isSecure() to determine whether the device is in a secure state, and your TileService should change its behavior accordingly.

If the tile action is safe to perform while locked, use startActivity() to launch an activity on top of the lock screen.

If the tile action is unsafe, use unlockAndRun() to prompt the user to unlock their device. If successful, the system executes the Runnable object that you pass into this method.

Prompt the user to add your tile

To manually add your tile, users must follow several steps:

  1. Swipe down to open the Quick Settings panel.
  2. Tap the edit button.
  3. Scroll through all tiles on their device until they locate your tile.
  4. Hold down your tile, and drag it to the list of active tiles.

The user can also move or remove your tile at any point.

Starting on Android 13, you can use the requestAddTileService() method to make it much easier for users to add your tile to a device. This method prompts users with a request to quickly add your tile directly to their Quick Settings panel. The prompt includes the application name, the provided label, and icon.

Quick Settings Placement API prompt
Figure 5: Quick Settings Placement API prompt
public void requestAddTileService (
  ComponentName tileServiceComponentName,
  CharSequence tileLabel,
  Icon icon,
  Executor resultExecutor,
  Consumer<Integer> resultCallback
)

The callback contains information about whether or not the tile was added, not added, if it was already there, or if any error occurred.

Use your discretion when deciding when and how often to prompt users. We recommend calling requestAddTileService() only in context – such as when the user first interacts with a feature that your tile facilitates.

The system can choose to stop processing requests for a given ComponentName if it has been denied by the user enough times before. The user is determined from the Context used to retrieve this service—it must match the current user.