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Difference Between Service and IntentService in Android

  • Last Updated : 06 Apr, 2021

We all come across a variety of background-running mobile applications in our daily lives. Furthermore, in many applications, such tasks are done without the use of a user interface, i.e. the task is completed in the context. For example, our mobile device’s Music app or any other Music app runs in the background, enabling you to use any other app when using the Music app. As a consequence, the Service or IntentService is used to enforce this feature.


You may think of Service as an Android component that is used to run long-running operations in the background, such as in the Music app, where we run the app in the background while using other mobile apps at the same time. The best thing is that you don’t have to provide any user interface for the background operations. You can also run some Inter-Process Communication (IPC) using Service. Since any application component can start a Service and run in the background, you can perform multiple operations with the aid of Service. The three ways of using the service are:

  1. Foreground: A foreground service is one that informs the consumer of what is going on in the background. In the Music app, for example, the user will see the latest song on the computer as a notification. As a result, showing the message is a must in this case.
  2. Background: The consumer will never know what is going on in the context of the application in this case. When sending images over WhatsApp, for example, WhatsApp compresses the image file to make it smaller. This task is carried out in the background, and the consumer is unaware of what is happening. The Android System, however, imposes certain limitations when using the Background Service at API level 21 or higher. So, before you use the Background Service, make sure you’re aware of the limitations.
  3. Bound: The Bound Service is used when the bindService() method is used by one or more application components to bind the Service. The Service would be broken if the applications unbind the Service.

Intent Service

The IntentService base class is the Operation. Essentially, it employs a “job queue operation,” in which the IntentService manages clients’ on-demand requests (expressed as Intents). As a result, the Service will be started whenever a client sends a request, and it will be stopped after each Purpose has been addressed. Clients may use Context.startService(intent) to submit a request to start a Service (Intent). A worker thread is generated here, and all requests are handled by the worker thread, but only one request is processed at a time. To use IntentService, you must extend it and enforce the onHandleIntent (android.content.Intent).

Difference Between Service and IntentService


Intent Service

If the task doesn’t require any and also not a very long task you can use service.If the Background task is to be performed for a long time we can use the intent service.
we use the method onStartService()  to start the servicewe use the method  Context.startService(Intent) to start the intent service
Service will always run on the main thread.intent service always runs on the worker thread triggered from the main thread.
There is a chance of blocking the main thread.tasks will be performed on a queue basis i.e, first come first serve basis.
To stop service we have to use stopService() or stopSelf()No need to stop the service, it will stop automatically.
Easy to interact with the UI of the application.Difficult to interact with the UI of the application.

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