user3629316 user3629316 - 1 year ago 223
Android Question

Differences between Intent and PendingIntent

I read through some articles and both seem to do the same thing and I was wondering what is the difference between starting the service like that:

Intent intent = new Intent(this, HelloService.class);

or like that:

Calendar cal = Calendar.getInstance();
Intent intent = new Intent(this, MyService.class);
PendingIntent pintent = PendingIntent.getService(this, 0, intent, 0);
AlarmManager alarm = (AlarmManager)getSystemService(Context.ALARM_SERVICE);
alarm.setRepeating(AlarmManager.RTC_WAKEUP, cal.getTimeInMillis(), 30*1000, pintent);

As I read through, these two do the same thing, if in the service you return a parameter START_STICKY;

Answer Source


An Android Intent is an object carrying an intent ie. message from one component to another component with-in the application or outside the application. The intents can communicate messages among any of the three core components of an application - activities, services, and broadcast receivers.

The intent itself, an Intent object, is a passive data structure holding an abstract description of an operation to be performed.

For example, let's assume that you have an Activity that needs to launch an email client and sends an email using your Android device. For this purpose, your Activity would send an ACTION_SEND along with appropriate chooser, to the Android Intent Resolver. The specified chooser gives the proper interface for the user to pick how to send your email data.


// Explicit Intent by specifying its class name
   Intent i = new Intent(this, TargetActivity.class);
   i.putExtra("Key1", "ABC");
   i.putExtra("Key2", "123");

// Starts TargetActivity


// Implicit Intent by specifying a URI
   Intent i = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_VIEW, 

// Starts Implicit Activity

Pending Intent

A PendingIntent is a token that you give to a foreign application (e.g. NotificationManager, AlarmManager, Home Screen AppWidgetManager, or other 3rd party applications), which allows the foreign application to use your application's permissions to execute a predefined piece of code.

By giving a PendingIntent to another application, you are granting it the right to perform the operation you have specified as if the other application was yourself (with the same permissions and identity). As such, you should be careful about how you build the PendingIntent: almost always, for example, the base Intent you supply should have the component name explicitly set to one of your own components, to ensure it is ultimately sent there and nowhere else.

Example for Pending Intent :

Source : Android Intents and Android Pending Intents

Hope this helps.