Unique Android ID



As Dave Webb mentions, the Android Developer Blog has an article that covers this. Their preferred solution is to track app installs rather than devices, and that will work well for most use cases. The blog post will show you the necessary code to make that work, and I recommend you check it out.

However, the blog post goes on to discuss solutions if you need a device identifier rather than an app installation identifier. I spoke with someone at Google to get some additional clarification on a few items in the event that you need to do so. Here’s what I discovered about device identifiers that’s NOT mentioned in the aforementioned blog post:

  • ANDROID_ID is the preferred device identifier. ANDROID_ID is perfectly reliable on versions of Android <=2.1 or >=2.3. Only 2.2 has the problems mentioned in the post.
  • Several devices by several manufacturers are affected by the ANDROID_ID bug in 2.2.
  • As far as I’ve been able to determine, all affected devices have the same ANDROID_ID, which is 9774d56d682e549c. Which is also the same device id reported by the emulator, btw.
  • Google believes that OEMs have patched the issue for many or most of their devices, but I was able to verify that as of the beginning of April 2011, at least, it’s still quite easy to find devices that have the broken ANDROID_ID.

Based on Google’s recommendations, I implemented a class that will generate a unique UUID for each device, using ANDROID_ID as the seed where appropriate, falling back on TelephonyManager.getDeviceId() as necessary, and if that fails, resorting to a randomly generated unique UUID that is persisted across app restarts (but not app re-installations).

Note that for devices that have to fallback on the device ID, the unique ID WILL persist across factory resets. This is something to be aware of. If you need to ensure that a factory reset will reset your unique ID, you may want to consider falling back directly to the random UUID instead of the device ID.

Again, this code is for a device ID, not an app installation ID. For most situations, an app installation ID is probably what you’re looking for. But if you do need a device ID, then the following code will probably work for you.