Save simple data with SharedPreferences

If you have a relatively small collection of key-values that you'd like to save, you can use the SharedPreferences APIs. A SharedPreferences object points to a file containing key-value pairs and provides simple methods to read and write them. Each SharedPreferences file is managed by the framework and can be private or shared.

This page shows you how to use the SharedPreferences APIs to store and retrieve simple values.

Get a handle to shared preferences

You can create a new shared preference file or access an existing one by calling one of these methods:

  • getSharedPreferences(): Use this if you need multiple shared preference files identified by name, which you specify with the first parameter. You can call this from any Context in your app.
  • getPreferences(): Use this from an Activity if you need to use only one shared preference file for the activity. Because this retrieves a default shared preference file that belongs to the activity, you don't need to supply a name.

For example, the following code accesses the shared preferences file that's identified by the resource string R.string.preference_file_key and opens it using the private mode so the file is accessible by only your app:


val sharedPref = activity?.getSharedPreferences(
        getString(R.string.preference_file_key), Context.MODE_PRIVATE)


Context context = getActivity();
SharedPreferences sharedPref = context.getSharedPreferences(
        getString(R.string.preference_file_key), Context.MODE_PRIVATE);

When naming your shared preference files, you should use a name that's uniquely identifiable to your app. A good way to do this is prefix the file name with your application ID. For example: "com.example.myapp.PREFERENCE_FILE_KEY"

Alternatively, if you need just one shared preference file for your activity, you can use the getPreferences() method:


val sharedPref = activity?.getPreferences(Context.MODE_PRIVATE)


SharedPreferences sharedPref = getActivity().getPreferences(Context.MODE_PRIVATE);

If you're using the SharedPreferences API to save app settings, you should instead use getDefaultSharedPreferences() to get the default shared preference file for your entire app. For more information, see the Settings developer guide.

Write to shared preferences

To write to a shared preferences file, create a SharedPreferences.Editor by calling edit() on your SharedPreferences.

Pass the keys and values you want to write with methods such as: putInt() andputString(). Then call apply() or commit() to save the changes. For example:


val sharedPref = activity?.getPreferences(Context.MODE_PRIVATE) ?: return
with (sharedPref.edit()) {
    putInt(getString(R.string.saved_high_score_key), newHighScore)


SharedPreferences sharedPref = getActivity().getPreferences(Context.MODE_PRIVATE);
SharedPreferences.Editor editor = sharedPref.edit();
editor.putInt(getString(R.string.saved_high_score_key), newHighScore);

apply() changes the in-memory SharedPreferences object immediately but writes the updates to disk asynchronously. Alternatively, you can use commit() to write the data to disk synchronously. But because commit() is synchronous, you should avoid calling it from your main thread because it could pause your UI rendering.

Read from shared preferences

To retrieve values from a shared preferences file, call methods such as getInt() and getString(), providing the key for the value you want, and optionally a default value to return if the key isn't present. For example:


val sharedPref = activity?.getPreferences(Context.MODE_PRIVATE) ?: return
val defaultValue = resources.getInteger(R.integer.saved_high_score_default_key)
val highScore = sharedPref.getInt(getString(R.string.saved_high_score_key), defaultValue)


SharedPreferences sharedPref = getActivity().getPreferences(Context.MODE_PRIVATE);
int defaultValue = getResources().getInteger(R.integer.saved_high_score_default_key);
int highScore = sharedPref.getInt(getString(R.string.saved_high_score_key), defaultValue);