Detecting Network State in Android

Android · Kotlin · Jan 26, 2020

Many apps rely on Internet services so they often need to know what’s up with your Internet connection. Think of “You are offline” indicators or postponing data sync if you know for sure that it would fail. Unfortunately, one of the most distinctive features of Android development is that it’s a huge pain in the ass. You can easily spend hours trying to figure out how to do a trivial thing and it might be hard to verify if your solution is correct. Getting the network status on Android is one of those things. In this post, I describe one of the possible ways to find out whether your Android device is online or not.

Illustration

Table of Contents

Assumptions

I use OkHttp to make network requests. It’s an industry standard and it’s often paired with Retrofit which allows developers to “wrap” various web services and interact with them in a convenient way.

I also use Kotlin, because it’s 2020.

Approach

Both OkHttp and Retrofit are cross-platform libraries, which means they’re designed to pretend that they know nothing about Android so it’s our job to integrate any platform-specific information into their workflow.

OkHttp is a flexible HTTP client which can be easily extended and customized by inserting your own Interceptors into its pipeline. So, we can create an Android-aware Interceptor which would prevent our apps from executing HTTP requests when Internet connection is not available.

Solution

Most recent versions of Android have a class called android.net.ConnectivityManager and it can be used to gather some information about device networking capabilities. You just need to implement ConnectivityManager.NetworkCallback and register it via registerDefaultNetworkCallback().

After that, we can listen to onCapabilitiesChanged() event and react accordingly:

override fun onCapabilitiesChanged(
    network: Network,
    capabilities: NetworkCapabilities
) {
    online = capabilities.hasCapability(NetworkCapabilities.NET_CAPABILITY_INTERNET)
}

Supporting Older Devices

Unfortunately, the solution above works only on Android 24 and up. If you target older versions of Android (they represent 42% of the market so I bet you are), then you also need to create an alternative code path for those devices. So, what was the old way to obtain network status?

There is a now deprecated class called android.net.NetworkInfo and it has exactly what we need. It has a few methods, but let’s check the obvious one first:

isConnected()

“Indicates whether network connectivity exists and it is possible to establish connections and pass data. Always call this before attempting to perform data transactions.”

The official documentation clearly states that not only we may use it, but that we should. Convincing enough, but you won’t know if it really works until you try it. Unfortunately, that’s how Android APIs always worked.

We may check Android distribution dashboard to have a glimpse on how often each solution will be executed in production:

https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/

  • API 24 and higher - 58% of devices
  • API 23 and lower - 42% of devices

Full Code

Here is the complete solution:

build.gradle

def retrofit_version = "2.7.1"
implementation "com.squareup.retrofit2:retrofit:$retrofit_version"
implementation "com.squareup.retrofit2:converter-gson:$retrofit_version"

AndroidManifest.xml

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

ConnectivityCheckingInterceptor.kt:

package com.appreactor.portfolio.util

import android.net.ConnectivityManager
import android.net.Network
import android.net.NetworkCapabilities
import android.os.Build
import okhttp3.Interceptor
import okhttp3.Response
import okio.IOException

class ConnectivityCheckingInterceptor(
    private val connectivityManager: ConnectivityManager
) : Interceptor, ConnectivityManager.NetworkCallback() {

    private var online = false

    init {
        if (Build.VERSION.SDK_INT >= 24) {
            connectivityManager.registerDefaultNetworkCallback(this)
        }
    }

    override fun intercept(chain: Interceptor.Chain): Response {
        if (Build.VERSION.SDK_INT < 24) {
            online = connectivityManager.activeNetworkInfo?.isConnected ?: false
        }

        if (online) {
            return chain.proceed(chain.request())
        } else {
            throw IOException("Internet connection is unavailable")
        }
    }

    override fun onCapabilitiesChanged(
        network: Network,
        capabilities: NetworkCapabilities
    ) {
        online = capabilities.hasCapability(NetworkCapabilities.NET_CAPABILITY_INTERNET)
    }
}

Uasge example:

val client = OkHttpClient.Builder()
    .addInterceptor(ConnectivityCheckingInterceptor(connectivityManager))
    .build()

Conclusion

The most popular Android HTTP client isn’t aware of the network state by default and there is no single source of information about Internet capabilities of Android devices. Those are the main reasons why such a seemingly simple thing as figuring out if you’re online or not might turn out to be a little bit more involved.

Programming   Android   Kotlin   Retrofit   OkHttp

This page doesn't show ads and the reasons are simple:

  • Most people don't want to see ads (what a surprise)
  • Ads can track you and violate your privacy
  • Ads is the main reason why many websites are so slow

If you find this content valuable or you want to see more content like this, you can leave a tip with bitcoin:

34CXtg7c4Vbw8DZjAwFQVsrbu9eDEbTzbA
bitcoin tips QR