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Explaining android:exported

Android, Manifest, Security2 min read

Android offers a flexible and powerful framework for building applications, but it's important to ensure that your app's components are protected and accessible only as intended. One key aspect of managing component accessibility is through the use of the android:exported attribute in the AndroidManifest.xml file. In this article, we will dive into the details of android:exported, how it works, and provide some examples to illustrate its usage.

What is android:exported?

The android:exported attribute is used to indicate whether a component, such as an activity, service, or content provider, can be accessed by components from other applications or processes. It serves as a security mechanism to control the visibility and accessibility of your app's components.

When you set android:exported="true" for a particular component in your AndroidManifest.xml, it means that the component can be accessed by components outside of your application. Conversely, setting android:exported="false" restricts access to the component only to components within your own application.

It is crucial to carefully consider and define the android:exported attribute for each component based on your app's requirements and security considerations.

Usage Examples

Let's explore a few examples to understand how android:exported works and how it can be applied to different types of components in an Android app.

Activity Example:

1class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {
2 // ...

In the AndroidManifest.xml file, we can define the MainActivity as follows:

2 android:name=".MainActivity"
3 android:exported="true">
4 <!-- ... -->

In this example, we have set android:exported="true" for the MainActivity. It means that other components, such as activities from other applications, can start our MainActivity by using an explicit intent.

Service Example:

1class MyService : Service() {
2 // ...

To control the accessibility of the MyService component, we can specify the android:exported attribute as shown below:

2 android:name=".MyService"
3 android:exported="false">
4 <!-- ... -->

Here, we have set android:exported="false", indicating that only components within our own application can access the MyService component. Other applications or processes cannot bind to or interact with this service.

Content Provider Example:

1class MyContentProvider : ContentProvider() {
2 // ...

For content providers, we can define the android:exported attribute in the manifest as follows:

2 android:name=".MyContentProvider"
3 android:exported="true">
4 <!-- ... -->

With android:exported="true", other applications can access the data exposed by the MyContentProvider and perform operations such as querying or modifying the data.


In conclusion, understanding and properly configuring the android:exported attribute is crucial for ensuring the security and intended accessibility of your Android app's components. By carefully setting the value of android:exported, you can control whether your app's activities, services, or content providers can be accessed by components from other applications or processes. Remember to also evaluate the security implications and specific requirements of each component when deciding whether to set android:exported="true" or android:exported="false". By doing so, you can create a more secure and controlled environment for your app.