python-for-android supports the use of Android Services, background tasks running in separate processes. These are the closest Android equivalent to multiprocessing on e.g. desktop platforms, and it is not possible to use normal multiprocessing on Android. Services are also the only way to run code when your app is not currently opened by the user.

Services must be declared when building your APK. Each one will have its own file with the Python script to be run. You can communicate with the service process from your app using e.g. osc or (a heavier option) twisted.

Service creation

There are two ways to have services included in your APK.

Service folder

This basic method works with both the new SDL2 and old Pygame bootstraps. It is recommended to use the second method (below) where possible.

Create a folder named service in your app directory, and add a file service/ This file should contain the Python code that you want the service to run.

To start the service, use the start_service function from the android module (included automatically with the Pygame bootstrap, you must add it to the requirements manually with SDL2 if you wish to use this method):

import android
android.start_service(title='service name',
                      description='service description',
                      arg='argument to service')

Arbitrary service scripts


This service method is not supported by the Pygame bootstrap.

This method is recommended for non-trivial use of services as it is more flexible, supporting multiple services and a wider range of options.

To create the service, create a python script with your service code and add a --service=myservice:/path/to/ argument when calling python-for-android. The myservice name before the colon is the name of the service class, via which you will interact with it later. You can add multiple --service arguments to include multiple services, which you will later be able to stop and start from your app.

To run the services (i.e. starting them from within your main app code), you must use PyJNIus to interact with the java class python-for-android creates for each one, as follows:

from jnius import autoclass
service = autoclass('')
mActivity = autoclass('').mActivity
argument = ''
service.start(mActivity, argument)

Here, refers to the package identifier of your APK as set by the --package argument to python-for-android, and the name of the service is ServiceYourservicename, in which Yourservicename is the identifier passed to the --service argument with the first letter upper case. You must also pass the argument parameter even if (as here) it is an empty string. If you do pass it, the service can make use of this argument.

Services support a range of options and interactions not yet documented here but all accessible via calling other methods of the service reference.


The app root directory for Python imports will be in the app root folder even if the service file is in a subfolder. To import from your service folder you must use e.g. import service.module instead of import module, if the service file is in the service/ folder.