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Common Implicit Intents

Roger Hu edited this page Jul 30, 2016 · 18 revisions

Let's take a look at the most common implicit intents such as making a phone call, launching a web address, sending an email, etc.

Phone Call


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


Intent callIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_CALL);
if (callIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {

Caution It's possible that a user won't have any apps that handle the implicit intent you send to startActivity(). If that happens, the call will fail and your app will crash. To verify that an activity will receive the intent, call resolveActivity() on your Intent object. If the result is non-null, then there is at least one app that can handle the intent and it's safe to call startActivity(). If the result is null, you should not use the intent and, if possible, you should disable the feature that issue the intent.

Send Email (to Phone Email Client)

Compose an email in the phone email client:

Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
intent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_EMAIL, new String[] { "some@email.address" });
intent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_SUBJECT, "subject");
intent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, "mail body");
if (intent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
    startActivity(Intent.createChooser(intent, ""));

Send Email (to Gmail)

Gmail does not examine the extra Intent fields, so in order to use this intent, you need to use the Intent.ACTION_SENDTO and pass a mailto: URI with the subject and body URL encoded.

String uriText =
    "" + 
    "?subject=" + Uri.encode("some subject text here") + 
    "&body=" + Uri.encode("some text here");

Uri uri = Uri.parse(uriText);

Intent sendIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_SENDTO);
if (sendIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
   startActivity(Intent.createChooser(sendIntent, "Send email")); 

Launch Website

Launch a website in the phone browser:

Intent browserIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, Uri.parse(""));
if (browserIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {

You can also launch a Chrome tab if the app. Take a look at this guide for how to launch this implicit intent.

Open Google Play Store

Open app page on Google Play:

Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, 
  Uri.parse("market://details?id=" + context.getPackageName()));
if (intent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {

Compose SMS

Uri smsUri = Uri.parse("tel:" + to);
Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, smsUri);
intent.putExtra("address", to);
intent.putExtra("sms_body", message);
intent.setType("");//here setType will set the previous data null.
if (intent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {

Google Maps

Show location in maps application:

 Intent intent = new Intent();
String data = String.format("geo:%s,%s", latitude, longitude);
if (zoomLevel != null) {
    data = String.format("%s?z=%s", data, zoomLevel);
if (intent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {

Capture Photo

Uri uri = Uri.fromFile(new File(file));
Intent intent = new Intent(MediaStore.ACTION_IMAGE_CAPTURE);
intent.putExtra(MediaStore.EXTRA_OUTPUT, uri);
if (intent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {

Sharing Content

Images or binary data:

Intent sharingIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
Uri uri = Uri.fromFile(new File(getFilesDir(), "foo.jpg"));
sharingIntent.putExtra(Intent.EXTRA_STREAM, uri.toString());
if (sharingIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
    startActivity(Intent.createChooser(sharingIntent, "Share image using"));

or HTML:

Intent sharingIntent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
sharingIntent.putExtra(android.content.Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, Html.fromHtml("<p>This is the text shared.</p>"));
if (sharingIntent.resolveActivity(getPackageManager()) != null) {
    startActivity(Intent.createChooser(sharingIntent,"Share using"));

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