Android App Shortcuts

Android App Shortcuts

Learn how to build launcher shortcuts into your Android apps.

Most popular apps on Android phones have launcher shortcuts; app-specific destinations or features that appear when you long tap their icon in the launcher.

App Shortcuts

Users can even drag the shortcuts outside to your home screen as demoed below: ezgif-7-ed2aaf7a35c2.gif

This has been available since Android Nougat (Android 7.1). Even if your app has a lower minSdkVersion (Around Lollipop or even lower), you can set an attribute tools:targetApi="n_mr1" in the shortcuts.xml that we'll define soon.

Static Shortcuts

In this article, we're gonna look at static shortcuts only, which are basically intents that open up different activities in your app. I'll also offer the solution that I used for my fragment-centric app. There are also dynamic shortcuts that apps like WhatsApp and Telegram use which change with time - they won't be covered here. For more information, consider checking the official docs: App Shortcuts

How to add a static shortcut?

Create an Android Resource Directory under res and name it xml Screenshot_20211211_143638.png

Add a new XML Resource File under xml with the name shortcuts Screenshot_20211211_143810.png

A newly generated shortcuts.xml appears. Replace it with this XML:

<shortcuts xmlns:tools=""
            android:targetClass="" />
    <!-- More Shortcut Tags -->

Here is a screenshot of mine: image.png

Add your shortcut meta-data under the host or target activity tag in your AndroidManifests.xml like this: image.png

Optional: If you're using fragment centric architecture

If you're using a single activity with multiple fragments or similar architecture in your app, just match the intent action attribute inside your host activity with the one you specified in shortcuts.xml, like this:

when (intent.action) {
           // If intent action matches, navigate to that fragment.
            "shortcut_add_transaction" -> navController.navigate(HomeFragmentDirections.actionHomeFragmentToAddTransactionFragment())

And Ta-Da! You just added an app shortcut! Now users can easily access top destinations in your app, right from the launcher.