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android – Determining the current foreground application from a background task or service

Posted by: admin March 11, 2020 Leave a comment

Questions:

I wish to have one application that runs in the background, which knows when any of the built-in applications (messaging, contacts, etc) is running.

So my questions are:

  1. How I should run my application in the background.

  2. How my background application can know what the application currently running in the foreground is.

Responses from folks with experience would be greatly appreciated.

How to&Answers:

With regards to “2. How my background application can know what the application currently running in the foreground is.”

Do NOT use the getRunningAppProcesses() method as this returns all sorts of system rubbish from my experience and you’ll get multiple results which have RunningAppProcessInfo.IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND. Use getRunningTasks() instead

This is the code I use in my service to identify the current foreground application, its really easy:

ActivityManager am = (ActivityManager) AppService.this.getSystemService(ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
// The first in the list of RunningTasks is always the foreground task.
RunningTaskInfo foregroundTaskInfo = am.getRunningTasks(1).get(0);

Thats it, then you can easily access details of the foreground app/activity:

String foregroundTaskPackageName = foregroundTaskInfo .topActivity.getPackageName();
PackageManager pm = AppService.this.getPackageManager();
PackageInfo foregroundAppPackageInfo = pm.getPackageInfo(foregroundTaskPackageName, 0);
String foregroundTaskAppName = foregroundAppPackageInfo.applicationInfo.loadLabel(pm).toString();

This requires an additional permission in activity menifest and works perfectly.

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.GET_TASKS" />

Answer:

i had to figure out the right solution the hard way. the below code is part of cyanogenmod7 (the tablet tweaks) and is tested on android 2.3.3 / gingerbread.

methods:

  • getForegroundApp – returns the foreground application.
  • getActivityForApp – returns the activity of the found app.
  • isStillActive – determines if a earlier found app is still the active app.
  • isRunningService – a helper function for getForegroundApp

this hopefully answers this issue in all extend (:

private RunningAppProcessInfo getForegroundApp() {
    RunningAppProcessInfo result=null, info=null;

    if(mActivityManager==null)
        mActivityManager = (ActivityManager)mContext.getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
    List <RunningAppProcessInfo> l = mActivityManager.getRunningAppProcesses();
    Iterator <RunningAppProcessInfo> i = l.iterator();
    while(i.hasNext()){
        info = i.next();
        if(info.importance == RunningAppProcessInfo.IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND
                && !isRunningService(info.processName)){
            result=info;
            break;
        }
    }
    return result;
}

private ComponentName getActivityForApp(RunningAppProcessInfo target){
    ComponentName result=null;
    ActivityManager.RunningTaskInfo info;

    if(target==null)
        return null;

    if(mActivityManager==null)
        mActivityManager = (ActivityManager)mContext.getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
    List <ActivityManager.RunningTaskInfo> l = mActivityManager.getRunningTasks(9999);
    Iterator <ActivityManager.RunningTaskInfo> i = l.iterator();

    while(i.hasNext()){
        info=i.next();
        if(info.baseActivity.getPackageName().equals(target.processName)){
            result=info.topActivity;
            break;
        }
    }

    return result;
}

private boolean isStillActive(RunningAppProcessInfo process, ComponentName activity)
{
    // activity can be null in cases, where one app starts another. for example, astro
    // starting rock player when a move file was clicked. we dont have an activity then,
    // but the package exits as soon as back is hit. so we can ignore the activity
    // in this case
    if(process==null)
        return false;

    RunningAppProcessInfo currentFg=getForegroundApp();
    ComponentName currentActivity=getActivityForApp(currentFg);

    if(currentFg!=null && currentFg.processName.equals(process.processName) &&
            (activity==null || currentActivity.compareTo(activity)==0))
        return true;

    Slog.i(TAG, "isStillActive returns false - CallerProcess: " + process.processName + " CurrentProcess: "
            + (currentFg==null ? "null" : currentFg.processName) + " CallerActivity:" + (activity==null ? "null" : activity.toString())
            + " CurrentActivity: " + (currentActivity==null ? "null" : currentActivity.toString()));
    return false;
}

private boolean isRunningService(String processname){
    if(processname==null || processname.isEmpty())
        return false;

    RunningServiceInfo service;

    if(mActivityManager==null)
        mActivityManager = (ActivityManager)mContext.getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
    List <RunningServiceInfo> l = mActivityManager.getRunningServices(9999);
    Iterator <RunningServiceInfo> i = l.iterator();
    while(i.hasNext()){
        service = i.next();
        if(service.process.equals(processname))
            return true;
    }

    return false;
}

Answer:

Try the following code:

ActivityManager activityManager = (ActivityManager) newContext.getSystemService( Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE );
List<RunningAppProcessInfo> appProcesses = activityManager.getRunningAppProcesses();
for(RunningAppProcessInfo appProcess : appProcesses){
    if(appProcess.importance == RunningAppProcessInfo.IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND){
        Log.i("Foreground App", appProcess.processName);
    }
}

Process name is the package name of the app running in foreground. Compare it to the package name of your application. If it is the same then your application is running on foreground.

I hope this answers your question.

Answer:

From lollipop onwards this got changed. Please find below code, before that user has to go Settings -> Security -> (Scroll down to last) Apps with usage access -> Give the permissions to our app

private void printForegroundTask() {
    String currentApp = "NULL";
    if(android.os.Build.VERSION.SDK_INT >= android.os.Build.VERSION_CODES.LOLLIPOP) {
        UsageStatsManager usm = (UsageStatsManager) this.getSystemService(Context.USAGE_STATS_SERVICE);
        long time = System.currentTimeMillis();
        List<UsageStats> appList = usm.queryUsageStats(UsageStatsManager.INTERVAL_DAILY,  time - 1000*1000, time);
        if (appList != null && appList.size() > 0) {
            SortedMap<Long, UsageStats> mySortedMap = new TreeMap<Long, UsageStats>();
            for (UsageStats usageStats : appList) {
                mySortedMap.put(usageStats.getLastTimeUsed(), usageStats);
            }
            if (mySortedMap != null && !mySortedMap.isEmpty()) {
                currentApp = mySortedMap.get(mySortedMap.lastKey()).getPackageName();
            }
        }
    } else {
        ActivityManager am = (ActivityManager)this.getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
        List<ActivityManager.RunningAppProcessInfo> tasks = am.getRunningAppProcesses();
        currentApp = tasks.get(0).processName;
    }

    Log.e(TAG, "Current App in foreground is: " + currentApp);
}

Answer:

Taking into account that getRunningTasks() is deprecated and getRunningAppProcesses() is not reliable, I came to decision to combine 2 approaches mentioned in StackOverflow:

   private boolean isAppInForeground(Context context)
    {
        if (Build.VERSION.SDK_INT < Build.VERSION_CODES.LOLLIPOP)
        {
            ActivityManager am = (ActivityManager) context.getSystemService(ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
            ActivityManager.RunningTaskInfo foregroundTaskInfo = am.getRunningTasks(1).get(0);
            String foregroundTaskPackageName = foregroundTaskInfo.topActivity.getPackageName();

            return foregroundTaskPackageName.toLowerCase().equals(context.getPackageName().toLowerCase());
        }
        else
        {
            ActivityManager.RunningAppProcessInfo appProcessInfo = new ActivityManager.RunningAppProcessInfo();
            ActivityManager.getMyMemoryState(appProcessInfo);
            if (appProcessInfo.importance == IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND || appProcessInfo.importance == IMPORTANCE_VISIBLE)
            {
                return true;
            }

            KeyguardManager km = (KeyguardManager) context.getSystemService(Context.KEYGUARD_SERVICE);
            // App is foreground, but screen is locked, so show notification
            return km.inKeyguardRestrictedInputMode();
        }
    }

Answer:

For cases when we need to check from our own service/background-thread whether our app is in foreground or not. This is how I implemented it, and it works fine for me:

public class TestApplication extends Application implements Application.ActivityLifecycleCallbacks {

    public static WeakReference<Activity> foregroundActivityRef = null;

    @Override
    public void onActivityStarted(Activity activity) {
        foregroundActivityRef = new WeakReference<>(activity);
    }

    @Override
    public void onActivityStopped(Activity activity) {
        if (foregroundActivityRef != null && foregroundActivityRef.get() == activity) {
            foregroundActivityRef = null;
        }
    }

    // IMPLEMENT OTHER CALLBACK METHODS
}

Now to check from other classes, whether app is in foreground or not, simply call:

if(TestApplication.foregroundActivityRef!=null){
    // APP IS IN FOREGROUND!
    // We can also get the activity that is currently visible!
}

Update (as pointed out by SHS):

Do not forget to register for the callbacks in your Application class’s onCreate method.

@Override
public void onCreate() {
    ...
    registerActivityLifecycleCallbacks(this);
}

Answer:

The ActivityManager class is the appropriate tool to see which processes are running.

To run in the background, you typically want to use a Service.

Answer:

In order to determine the foreground application, you can use for detecting the foreground app, you can use https://github.com/ricvalerio/foregroundappchecker. It uses different methods depending on the android version of the device.

As for the service, the repo also provides the code you need for it. Essentially, let android studio create the service for you, and then onCreate add the snippet that uses the appChecker. You will need to request permission however.

Answer:

This worked for me. But it gives only the main menu name. That is if user has opened Settings –> Bluetooth –> Device Name screen, RunningAppProcessInfo calls it as just Settings. Not able to drill down furthur

ActivityManager activityManager = (ActivityManager) context.getSystemService( Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE );
                PackageManager pm = context.getPackageManager();
                List<RunningAppProcessInfo> appProcesses = activityManager.getRunningAppProcesses();
                for(RunningAppProcessInfo appProcess : appProcesses) {              
                    if(appProcess.importance == RunningAppProcessInfo.IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND) {
                        CharSequence c = pm.getApplicationLabel(pm.getApplicationInfo(appProcess.processName, PackageManager.GET_META_DATA));
                        Log.i("Foreground App", "package: " + appProcess.processName + " App: " + c.toString());
                    }               
                }

Answer:

Do something like this:

int showLimit = 20;

/* Get all Tasks available (with limit set). */
ActivityManager mgr = (ActivityManager) getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
List<ActivityManager.RunningTaskInfo> allTasks = mgr.getRunningTasks(showLimit);
/* Loop through all tasks returned. */
for (ActivityManager.RunningTaskInfo aTask : allTasks) 
{                  
    Log.i("MyApp", "Task: " + aTask.baseActivity.getClassName()); 
    if (aTask.baseActivity.getClassName().equals("com.android.email.activity.MessageList")) 
        running=true;
}

Answer:

In lollipop and up:

Add to mainfest:

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.GET_TASKS" />

And do something like this:

if( mTaskId < 0 )
{
    List<AppTask> tasks = mActivityManager.getAppTasks(); 
    if( tasks.size() > 0 )
        mTaskId = tasks.get( 0 ).getTaskInfo().id;
}

Answer:

This is how I am checking if my app is in foreground. Note I am using AsyncTask as suggested by official Android documentation.`

`

    private class CheckIfForeground extends AsyncTask<Void, Void, Void> {
    @Override
    protected Void doInBackground(Void... voids) {

        ActivityManager activityManager = (ActivityManager) mContext.getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE);
        List<ActivityManager.RunningAppProcessInfo> appProcesses = activityManager.getRunningAppProcesses();
        for (ActivityManager.RunningAppProcessInfo appProcess : appProcesses) {
            if (appProcess.importance == ActivityManager.RunningAppProcessInfo.IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND) {
                Log.i("Foreground App", appProcess.processName);

                if (mContext.getPackageName().equalsIgnoreCase(appProcess.processName)) {
                    Log.i(Constants.TAG, "foreground true:" + appProcess.processName);
                    foreground = true;
                    // close_app();
                }
            }
        }
        Log.d(Constants.TAG, "foreground value:" + foreground);
        if (foreground) {
            foreground = false;
            close_app();
            Log.i(Constants.TAG, "Close App and start Activity:");

        } else {
            //if not foreground
            close_app();
            foreground = false;
            Log.i(Constants.TAG, "Close App");

        }

        return null;
    }
}

and execute AsyncTask like this.
new CheckIfForeground().execute();

Answer:

I combined two solutions in one method and it works for me for API 24 and for API 21. Others I didn’t test.

The code in Kotlin:

private fun isAppInForeground(context: Context): Boolean {
    val appProcessInfo = ActivityManager.RunningAppProcessInfo()
    ActivityManager.getMyMemoryState(appProcessInfo)
    if (appProcessInfo.importance == IMPORTANCE_FOREGROUND ||
            appProcessInfo.importance == IMPORTANCE_VISIBLE) {
        return true
    } else if (appProcessInfo.importance == IMPORTANCE_TOP_SLEEPING ||
            appProcessInfo.importance == IMPORTANCE_BACKGROUND) {
        return false
    }

    val am = context.getSystemService(Context.ACTIVITY_SERVICE) as ActivityManager
    val foregroundTaskInfo = am.getRunningTasks(1)[0]
    val foregroundTaskPackageName = foregroundTaskInfo.topActivity.packageName
    return foregroundTaskPackageName.toLowerCase() == context.packageName.toLowerCase()
}

and in Manifest

<!-- Check whether app in background or foreground -->
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.GET_TASKS" />