Enable users to configure app widgets

App widgets can be configurable. For example, a clock widget can let users configure which time zone to display.

If you want to let users configure your widget’s settings, create a widget configuration Activity. This activity is automatically launched by the app widget host either when the widget is created or later, depending on the configuration options you specify.

Declare the configuration activity

Declare the configuration activity as a normal activity in the Android manifest file. The app widget host launches it with the ACTION_APPWIDGET_CONFIGURE action, so the activity needs to accept this intent. For example:

<activity android:name=".ExampleAppWidgetConfigurationActivity">
        <action android:name="android.appwidget.action.APPWIDGET_CONFIGURE"/>

Declare the activity in the AppWidgetProviderInfo.xml file with the android:configure attribute. See more information about declaring this file. Here’s an example of how to declare the configuration activity:

<appwidget-provider xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    ... >

The activity is declared with a fully qualified namespace, because the launcher references it from outside your package scope.

That's all you need to start a configuration activity. Next, you need to implement the actual activity.

Implement the configuration activity

There are two important points to remember when you implement the activity:

  • The app widget host calls the configuration activity, and the configuration activity must always return a result. The result must include the App Widget ID passed by the intent that launched the activity—saved in the intent extras as EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID.
  • The system doesn't send the ACTION_APPWIDGET_UPDATE broadcast when a configuration activity is launched, which means it doesn't call the onUpdate() method when the widget is created. It's the responsibility of the configuration activity to request an update from the AppWidgetManager when creating the widget for the first time. However, onUpdate() is called for subsequent updates—it is only skipped the first time.

See the code snippets in the following section for an example of how to return a result from the configuration and update the widget.

Update the widget from the configuration activity

When a widget uses a configuration activity, it's the responsibility of the activity to update the widget when configuration is complete. You can do so by requesting an update directly from the AppWidgetManager.

Here's a summary of the procedure to properly update the widget and close the configuration activity:

  1. Get the App Widget ID from the intent that launched the activity:


    val appWidgetId = intent?.extras?.getInt(
    ) ?: AppWidgetManager.INVALID_APPWIDGET_ID


    Intent intent = getIntent();
    Bundle extras = intent.getExtras();
    int appWidgetId = AppWidgetManager.INVALID_APPWIDGET_ID;
    if (extras != null) {
        appWidgetId = extras.getInt(
  2. Set the activity result to RESULT_CANCELED.

    This way, if the user backs out of the activity before reaching the end, the system notifies the app widget host that the configuration is canceled and the host doesn't add the widget:


    val resultValue = Intent().putExtra(AppWidgetManager.EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID, appWidgetId)
    setResult(Activity.RESULT_CANCELED, resultValue)


    int resultValue = new Intent().putExtra(AppWidgetManager.EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID, appWidgetId);
    setResult(Activity.RESULT_CANCELED, resultValue);
  3. Configure the widget according to the user’s preferences.

  4. When the configuration is complete, get an instance of the AppWidgetManager by calling getInstance(Context):


    val appWidgetManager = AppWidgetManager.getInstance(context)


    AppWidgetManager appWidgetManager = AppWidgetManager.getInstance(context);
  5. Update the widget with a RemoteViews layout by calling updateAppWidget(int,RemoteViews):


    val views = RemoteViews(context.packageName, R.layout.example_appwidget)
    appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(appWidgetId, views)


    RemoteViews views = new RemoteViews(context.getPackageName(), R.layout.example_appwidget);
    appWidgetManager.updateAppWidget(appWidgetId, views);
  6. Create the return intent, set it with the activity result, and finish the activity:


    val resultValue = Intent().putExtra(AppWidgetManager.EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID, appWidgetId)
    setResult(Activity.RESULT_OK, resultValue)


    Intent resultValue = new Intent().putExtra(AppWidgetManager.EXTRA_APPWIDGET_ID, appWidgetId);
    setResult(RESULT_OK, resultValue);

See the ListWidgetConfigureActivity.kt sample class on GitHub for an example.

Widget configuration options

By default, the app widget host only launches the configuration activity once, immediately after the user adds the widget to their home screen. However, you can specify options that let you enable users to reconfigure existing widgets or skip initial widget configuration by providing a default widget configuration.

Enable users to reconfigure placed widgets

To let users reconfigure existing widgets, specify the reconfigurable flag in the widgetFeatures attribute of appwidget-provider. See the guide to declaring the AppWidgetProviderInfo.xml file for more information. For example:


Users can reconfigure their widget by touching & holding the widget and tapping the Reconfigure button, which is labeled 1 in figure 1.

Button appears in bottom-right corner
Figure 1. Widget Reconfigure button.

Use the widget's default configuration

You can provide a more seamless widget experience by letting users skip the initial configuration step. To do this, specify both the configuration_optional and reconfigurable flags in the widgetFeatures field. This bypasses launching the configuration activity after a user adds the widget. As mentioned previously, the user can still reconfigure the widget afterward. For example, a clock widget can bypass the initial configuration and show the device time zone by default.

Here is an example of how to mark your configuration activity as both reconfigurable and optional: