App shortcuts can be a lifesaver for Android users who want to save time while doing everyday tasks. They allow you to open specific functions from an app without having to open it itself, or access a menu of features in an app.
To create a shortcut, go to the app’s home screen, then long press on one of the functions you wish to add. A shortcut icon should appear, and you’ll be able to drag it onto your home screen where you’d like it to be placed.
Another way to make your app’s functions accessible from your home screen is to create a shortcut that points directly to the function itself, like in Drive or any other folder-related apps. For example, if you’ve created a file in Drive, you can long-press on it and select “Add to home screen” from the menu that appears.
You can then use this shortcut icon to launch the app from your home screen, and if you want, you can even select which of the app’s features you wish to include in the shortcut.
Creating a static shortcut is ideal for delivering consistent content to your users over time. Static shortcuts can be backed up and restored by the system, which ensures that your users always get the same experience, no matter how they choose to interact with your app.
The ShortcutInfo object you specify in the XML for static shortcuts supports the following elements:
A static shortcut’s id is the value you specify in the ShortcutInfo shortcutID> element. The id must be a stable string or server-side identifier that doesn’t change over time, because the system may perform backup and restore operations on pinned shortcuts automatically.
The id can also contain an intent, which should provide the action you intend to launch when your user taps on the shortcut. You should also include a “short description” in this id, which can be a string literal or a resource string (such as @string/foo).
If you don’t want to include an id, you can specify a “long description” instead. This should be a long string that describes the shortcut’s purpose and can be up to 25 characters in length.
Using the Google Shortcuts Integration Library to publish dynamic shortcuts
The Google Shortcuts Integration Library is an open source project that enables Google surfaces to ingest dynamic shortcuts published by your app. You can also use this library to publish dynamic shortcuts in your web app.
To use the Google Shortcuts Integration Library, you need to add the library dependencies to your app’s manifest. When you do, you can use the pushDynamicShortcut method of ShortcutManagerCompat to publish dynamic shortcuts that are eligible for display on the launcher or participating Google surfaces.
Pinning your app’s shortcuts on the home screen
If your app supports pinning of its shortcuts on the home screen, you can enable this feature by setting the android:isRequestPinShortcutSupported attribute to true in the manifest. If the launcher or participating Google surface supports pinning of shortcuts, the user will receive a confirmation dialog asking for permission to pin the shortcut. If the user does not give permission, the launcher cancels the request.