Resolving “Unable to Add Window — Token Null is Not for an Application” Exception in Android

Resolving "Unable to Add Window — Token Null is Not for an Application" Exception in Android

6 June 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

When developing an Android application, you might encounter an exception stating, “Unable to add window — token null is not for an application” when trying to create an AlertDialog. This issue often arises when using getApplicationContext() or getApplication() as the context parameter for the dialog.

Understanding the Problem

The root of the issue lies in the type of context being used. For dialogs, you need an Activity context or a Service context, but getApplicationContext() and getApplication() return an Application context, which is not suitable for creating dialogs.


To resolve this issue, you should use the context of the current Activity. Below are the recommended approaches based on different scenarios:

1. Using the Activity Context

If you are within an Activity, you can simply use ActivityName.this:

AlertDialog.Builder builder = new AlertDialog.Builder(ActivityName.this);

Alternatively, if this is already referring to the Activity context, you can directly use:

AlertDialog.Builder builder = new AlertDialog.Builder(this);

2. Using the Fragment Context

If you are within a Fragment, you should use getActivity() to obtain the Activity context:

AlertDialog.Builder builder = new AlertDialog.Builder(getActivity());

3. Handling Context in Custom Adapters

When dealing with custom adapters, pass the Activity context through the adapter’s constructor:

public MyAdapter(Activity activity, List dataList) {
    this.activity = activity;

AlertDialog.Builder builder = new AlertDialog.Builder(activity);

Preventing Memory Leaks

Concerns about memory leaks when using this as a context are valid. However, memory leaks occur when references to objects persist beyond their intended lifecycle. To prevent memory leaks, ensure you properly manage the lifecycle of your dialogs and context references.

For more information on preventing memory leaks, refer to our advanced testing techniques documentation.


Using the correct context is crucial for creating dialogs in Android. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can avoid the “Unable to add window — token null is not for an application” exception and ensure your application handles dialogs efficiently.

For mobile developers looking to streamline their testing process, consider using Repeato. Repeato is a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android that allows you to create, run, and maintain automated tests quickly and efficiently, freeing you to focus on building great apps.

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