How to use AsyncTask in Android Application – Tutorial

Today we will be learning about how to use AsyncTask in Android Application. Every Android app use Thread to do some background work. But when it come to Threads there is always some confusion in developers head about handling Threads. Android made this simple by providing AsyncTask which handle the dirty work so that you can concentrate on your Business logic.

AsyncTask enables proper and easy use of the UI thread. This class allows to perform background operations and publish results on the UI thread without having to manipulate threads and/or handlers.

AsyncTask is designed to be a helper class around Thread and Handler and does not constitute a generic threading framework. AsyncTasks should ideally be used for short operations (a few seconds at the most.) If you need to keep threads running for long periods of time, it is highly recommended you use the various APIs provided by the java.util.concurrent package such as ExecutorThreadPoolExecutor and FutureTask .

When an asynchronous task is executed, the task goes through 4 steps:

  1. onPreExecute() , invoked on the UI thread before the task is executed. This step is normally used to setup the task, for instance by showing a progress bar in the user interface.
  2. doInBackground(Params…) , invoked on the background thread immediately after onPreExecute() finishes executing. This step is used to perform background computation that can take a long time. The parameters of the asynchronous task are passed to this step. The result of the computation must be returned by this step and will be passed back to the last step. This step can also use  publishProgress(Progress…) to publish one or more units of progress. These values are published on the UI thread, in the  onProgressUpdate(Progress…) step.
  3. onProgressUpdate(Progress…) , invoked on the UI thread after a call to publishProgress(Progress…) . The timing of the execution is undefined. This method is used to display any form of progress in the user interface while the background computation is still executing. For instance, it can be used to animate a progress bar or show logs in a text field.
  4. onPostExecute(Result) , invoked on the UI thread after the background computation finishes. The result of the background computation is passed to this step as a parameter.

In this tutorial we have created a AsyncTaskRunner class by extending the AsyncTask class. Our class just sleep as if now for the specified time in EditText which will be provided by the user. It is repeating the sleeping process 10 times so that we can publish update for each sleep cycle on UI thread using publishProgress function.

Note : This tutorial is based on Android Studio 2.2, Java 1.7 and Android 6.0.

AsyncTask Implementation

1 Implementation of class

1.1  First we Override onPreExecute function which is called first. This function is basically used to do setup for the processing like showing loader etc.

1.2 Next we Override doInBackground function which will run on separate Thread . The time taking work is done in this function . We can call publishProgress function on this to publish any updates on UI thread. On calling this function here it calls onProgressUpdate on UI thread along with supplied result. This function return result which is provided in function onPostExecute.

1.3 Next is onProgressUpdate function which is called when publishProgress function is called in previous function. This is mainly used to update progress on UI thread.

1.3 Finally onPostExecute is called when work is completed . This function is used for cleanup like removing loader  and publish final result which was passed.

Final implementation of 

2 Other components

2.1 This is implementation of main_activity.xml

Testing the application

Now compile app on eclipse and then press run. You have to input time for sleep and then press “Run Async task”

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