Service vs Intentservice in Android


Service is a component in Android that runs in the background for performing specific tasks or long running operations without the interaction with the user interface. The main objective of the Service is to ensure that the service remains active in the background and the user can multiple applications at the same time.

Here are some of the steps to implement services in android

  • Create a Service class: The first step is to create a Service class that extends the class. This class will define the behavior of the service.

  • Start the service: You need to call startService() method with an Intent that identifies the service you want to start. You can do this with the help of BroadcastReceiver or Activity.

  • Stop the Service: You need to call stopService() method with an Intent that identifies the Service you want to stop. You can also call the stopSelf() method within the Service class to stop the Service.

  • Bind the Service: If you want to interact with the service from an Activity or a BroadcastReceiver you can bind the Service using bindService() method. That allows us to communicate with the Service through an interface.

  • Unbind the Service: After implementing the Serving if you want to unbind the service then you should unbind it using unbindService() method.

  • Handle Service LifeCycle: It is necessary to handle the lifecycle of services properly to avoid wasting resources. You can do this by implementing onCreate(), onStartCommand(), onBind(), and onDestroy() methods in your Service class.

Here is the code to Implement Services in Android

package com.example.java_test_application;
import android.content.Intent;
import android.os.IBinder;
public class MyService extends Service {
   public void onCreate() {
       // code to initialize the Service
   public int onStartCommand(Intent intent, int flags, int startId) {
       // code to perform background tasks
       return START_STICKY;
   public IBinder onBind(Intent intent) {
       // code to bind the Service
       return null;
   public void onDestroy() {
       // code to stop the Service and release resources

To Start the Service you can call startService() method with an Intent that identifies the Service you want to start.

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

To Stop the Service you can call stopService() method with an Intent that identifies the Service you want to stop.

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

What is Service in Android?

A Service in android is used to perform specific tasks in the background whether the application is visible or not. It is mainly used for performing long-running operations. A Service is started using startService() method and it is stopped using stopService() method.

  • Foreground Service − Services that are visible to user or the Services that notifies the user about the ongoing task such as downloading file where user can see the file getting downloaded he can pause or resume the file downloading is known as foreground service.

  • Background Service − These are the services that do not require any user interaction which are running in the background itself. This service does not notify users about the ongoing task. Storing of data falls under background service where the user doesn’t know how data is being stored.

  • Bound Service − This service allows the application components to bind to itself. Bound Services perform their task as long as any application component is bound to it. You can bind the components of an application using bindService() method.

What is Intentservice in Android?

Intent Service is used to perform asynchronous tasks in the background. And it stops itself once it has processed all the tasks provided to it. It is mainly used for performing short operations that need to be performed on separate threads. Intent Service does not run in the foreground.

Implementation of Intent Service in Android

Step 1: Specify Intent Service in AndroidManifest.xml file

Go to AndroidManifest.xml file and declare the service within <application> element.

   android:exported="false" />

Step 2: Create a class called SampleIntentService that extends Intentservice

import android.content.Intent;
import android.util.Log;
import android.annotation.Nullable;
public class SampleIntentService extends IntentService {
   // Constructor
   public SampleIntentService() {
      // Call superclass constructor with
      // the name of the worker thread
   protected void onHandleIntent(@Nullable Intent intent) {
      // Perform a task in the background
      Log.d("SampleIntentService", "Task in progress");
      // Simulate a long running task by
      // sleeping the thread for 5 seconds
      try {
      } catch (InterruptedException e) {
         // InterruptedException occurs
      Log.d("SampleIntentService", "Task has been executed");

Override onHandleIntent() method of SampleIntentService class to specify the task that you want to perform in the background.

Service vs Intentservice in Android



Service is a base class that can be used to create a service. It is a general-purpose class that can perform long running operations in the background.

IntentService is a subclass of Service that uses a worker thread to handle asynchronous requests (expressed as Intents) on demand.

Service can be used for both long and short duration tasks.

IntentService is used for long-running tasks that don't need to be run again.

Service can handle multiple requests simultaneously.

IntentService handles one request at a time and it stops itself when the request is complete.

Service runs in the main thread of the application.

IntentService runs in a separate worker thread.

Service can be stopped and restarted as needed.

IntentService cannot be restarted after it is stopped.

Service can have multiple start commands.

IntentService has only one start command.

Service can return a result to the caller.

IntentService doesn't return a result to the caller.


In summary, Service is used for performing long running operations that run in the background. While the Intent Service is used for performing short-lived operations that run on separate threads.

Updated on: 09-May-2023


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