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Use saved values   Part of Android Jetpack.

This topic describes how to store and use Preference values that are saved by the Preference Library.

Preference data storage

This section describes how a Preference can persist data.

SharedPreferences

By default, a Preference uses SharedPreferences to save values. The SharedPreferences API allows for reading and writing simple key-value pairs from a file that is saved across application sessions. The Preference Library uses a private SharedPreferences instance so that only your application can access it.

As an example, assume the following SwitchPreferenceCompat:

<SwitchPreferenceCompat
        app:key="notifications"
        app:title="Enable message notifications"/>

When a user toggles this switch to the On state, the SharedPreferences file is updated with a key-value pair of "notifications" : "true". Note that the key used is the same as the key set for the Preference.

For more information on the SharedPreferences API, see Save key-value data.

For information on the different ways of storing data on Android, see Data and file storage overview.

PreferenceDataStore

While the Preference library persists data with SharedPreferences by default, SharedPreferences aren’t always an ideal solution. For example, if your application requires a user to sign in, you might want to persist application settings in the cloud so that the settings are reflected across other devices and platforms. Similarly, if your application has configuration options that are device-specific, each user on the device would have separate settings, making SharedPreferences a less-than-ideal solution.

A PreferenceDataStore enables you to use a custom storage backend to persist Preference values. For more information, see Using a custom data store.

Reading Preference values

To retrieve the SharedPreferences object that is being used, call PreferenceManager.getDefaultSharedPreferences(). This method works from anywhere in your application. For example, given an EditTextPreference with a key of "signature":

<EditTextPreference
        app:key="signature"
        app:title="Your signature"/>

The saved value for this Preference can be retrieved globally as follows:

Kotlin

val sharedPreferences = PreferenceManager.getDefaultSharedPreferences(this /* Activity context */)
val name = sharedPreferences.getString("signature", "")

Java

SharedPreferences sharedPreferences =
        PreferenceManager.getDefaultSharedPreferences(this /* Activity context */);
String name = sharedPreferences.getString(“signature”, "");

Listen for changes to Preference values

To listen for changes to Preference values, you can choose between two interfaces:

The table below shows how the two interfaces differ:

OnPreferenceChangeListener OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener
Set on a per-Preference basis Applies to all Preferences
Called when a Preference is about to change its saved value. This includes if the pending value is the same as the currently saved value. Called only when the value saved for a Preference has changed.
Only called through the Preference library. A separate part of the application could change the saved value. Called whenever the value saved has changed, even if it is from a separate part of the application.
Called before the pending value is saved. Called after the value has already been saved.
Called when using `SharedPreferences` or a `PreferenceDataStore`. Called only when using `SharedPreferences`.

OnPreferenceChangeListener

Implementing an OnPreferenceChangeListener allows you to listen for when the value of a Preference is about to change. From there, you can validate if this change should occur. For example, the code below shows how to listen for a change to the value of an EditTextPreference with a key of "name":

Kotlin

override fun onPreferenceChange(preference: Preference, newValue: Any): Boolean {
    Log.e("preference", "Pending Preference value is: $newValue")
    return true
}

Java

@Override
public boolean onPreferenceChange(Preference preference, Object newValue) {
    Log.e("preference", "Pending Preference value is: " + newValue);
    return true;
}

Next, you need to set this listener directly with setOnPreferenceChangeListener(), as shown below:

Kotlin

preference.onPreferenceChangeListener = ...

Java

preference.setOnPreferenceChangeListener(...);

OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener

When persisting Preference values using SharedPreferences, you can also use a SharedPreferences.OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener to listen for changes. This allows you to listen for when the values saved by your Preference are changed, such as when syncing settings with a server. The example below shows how to listen for when the value of an EditTextPreference with a key of "name" changes:

Kotlin

override fun onSharedPreferenceChanged(sharedPreferences: SharedPreferences, key: String) {
    if (key == "signature") {
        Log.i(TAG, "Preference value was updated to: " + sharedPreferences.getString(key, ""))
    }
}

Java

@Override
public void onSharedPreferenceChanged(SharedPreferences sharedPreferences, String key) {
    if (key.equals(“signature”)) {
        Log.i(TAG, “Preference value was updated to: “ + sharedPreferences.getString(key, ""));
    }
}

You must also register the listener via registerOnSharedPreferenceChangedListener(), as shown below:

Kotlin

preferenceManager.sharedPreferences.registerOnSharedPreferenceChangeListener(...)

Java

getPreferenceManager().getSharedPreferences().registerOnSharedPreferenceChangeListener(...);

Kotlin

val listener: SharedPreferences.OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener =
        SharedPreferences.OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener {...}

Java

SharedPreferences.OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener listener =
        new SharedPreferences.OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener() {...}

For proper lifecycle management in your Activity or Fragment, you should register and unregister this listener in the onResume() and onPause() callbacks, as shown below:

Kotlin

override fun onResume() {
    super.onResume()
    preferenceManager.sharedPreferences.registerOnSharedPreferenceChangeListener(this)
}

override fun onPause() {
    super.onPause()
    preferenceManager.sharedPreferences.registerOnSharedPreferenceChangeListener(this)
}

Java

@Override
public void onResume() {
    super.onResume();
    getPreferenceManager().getSharedPreferences().registerOnSharedPreferenceChangeListener(this);
}

@Override
public void onPause() {
    super.onPause();
    getPreferenceManager().getSharedPreferences().registerOnSharedPreferenceChangeListener(this);
}

Using a custom data store

While persisting Preference objects using SharedPreferences is recommended, you can also use a custom data store. A custom data store can be useful if your application persists values to a database or if values are device-specific, as examples.

Implement the data store

To implement a custom data store, first create a class that extends PreferenceDataStore. The example below creates a data store that handles String values:

Kotlin

class DataStore : PreferenceDataStore() {
    override fun putString(key: String, @Nullable value: String) {
        // Save the value somewhere
    }

@Nullable
override fun getString(key: String, @Nullable defValue: String): String {
    // Retrieve the value
}

}

Java

public class DataStore extends PreferenceDataStore {
    @Override
    public void putString(String key, @Nullable String value) {
        // Save the value somewhere
    }
    @Override
    @Nullable
    public String getString(String key, @Nullable String defValue) {
        // Retrieve the value
    }
}

Be sure to run any time-consuming operations off the main thread to avoid blocking the user interface. Since it is possible for the Fragment or Activity containing the data store to be destroyed while persisting a value, you should serialize the data so you don’t lose any values changed by the user.

Enable the data store

After you have implemented your data store, you must set the new data store in onCreatePreferences() so that Preference objects persist values with the data store instead of using the default SharedPreferences. A data store can be enabled for each Preference or for the entire hierarchy.

To enable a custom data store for a specific Preference, call setPreferenceDataStore() on the Preference, as shown in the example below:

Kotlin

val preference = findPreference("key")
preference.preferenceDataStore = dataStore

Java

Preference preference = findPreference(“key”);
preference.setPreferenceDataStore(dataStore);

To enable a custom data store for an entire hierarchy, call setPreferenceDataStore() on the PreferenceManager:

Kotlin

val preferenceManager = preferenceManager
preferenceManager.preferenceDataStore = dataStore

Java

PreferenceManager preferenceManager = getPreferenceManager();
preferenceManager.setPreferenceDataStore(dataStore);

A data store that is set for a specific Preference overrides any data store that is set for the corresponding hierarchy. In most cases, you should set a data store for the whole hierarchy.