How to Retrieve a Unique Android Device ID

How to Retrieve a Unique Android Device ID

22 May 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Many developers face the challenge of obtaining a unique identifier for Android devices. While there are multiple ways to achieve this, it can be challenging to determine which method is the most reliable and suitable for your needs. This article aims to guide you through the best practices for retrieving a unique Android device ID using Java, helping you make an informed decision.

Methods to Retrieve a Unique Android Device ID


The Settings.Secure#ANDROID_ID method is one of the most common ways to get a unique device ID. It returns a 64-bit hex string unique to each user.

  import android.provider.Settings.Secure;

  private String android_id = Secure.getString(getContext().getContentResolver(), Secure.ANDROID_ID);

However, it is important to note that the ANDROID_ID can be null or change upon a factory reset. This method is generally reliable for devices running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and later.

2. Using TelephonyManager

The TelephonyManager class provides another way to retrieve a unique device ID, specifically the IMEI for GSM devices or the MEID for CDMA devices.

  import android.content.Context;
  import android.telephony.TelephonyManager;

  final TelephonyManager tm = (TelephonyManager) getBaseContext().getSystemService(Context.TELEPHONY_SERVICE);
  final String tmDevice = "" + tm.getDeviceId();

This method requires the READ_PHONE_STATE permission in your app’s manifest file:

  <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE" />

Note that this approach may not work for devices without telephony capabilities, such as tablets.

3. Generating a UUID

For a more flexible approach, you can generate a UUID combining multiple identifiers such as ANDROID_ID, IMEI, and more. This method ensures a higher degree of uniqueness.

  import java.util.UUID;

  UUID deviceUuid = new UUID(androidId.hashCode(), ((long) tmDevice.hashCode() << 32) | tmSerial.hashCode());
  String deviceId = deviceUuid.toString();

This method also requires the READ_PHONE_STATE permission.

4. Firebase Installation ID

Google recommends using the Firebase Installation ID for most use cases. This ID is unique to every app installation and can be retrieved as follows:


  FirebaseInstallations.getInstance().getId().addOnCompleteListener(task -> {
      if (task.isSuccessful()) {
          String firebaseIdentifier = task.getResult();
          // Use firebaseIdentifier as needed

This method is especially useful for tracking app installations across different devices but may not be suitable for all use cases.


Choosing the right method to retrieve a unique device ID depends on your specific requirements. For most applications, using ANDROID_ID or generating a UUID provides a sufficient level of uniqueness. However, for more advanced use cases, Firebase Installation ID offers a robust solution.

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