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In this document

  1. Adding the Licensing Permission
  2. Implementing a Policy
    1. Guidelines for custom policies
    2. ServerManagedPolicy
    3. StrictPolicy
  3. Implementing an Obfuscator
    1. AESObfuscator
  4. Checking the License from an Activity
    1. Overview of license check and response
    2. Add imports
    3. Implement LicenseCheckerCallback as a private inner class
    4. Create a Handler for posting from LicenseCheckerCallback to the UI thread
    5. Instantiate LicenseChecker and LicenseCheckerCallback
    6. Call checkAccess() to initiate the license check
    7. Embed your public key for licensing
    8. Call your LicenseChecker's onDestroy() method to close IPC connections
  5. Implementing a DeviceLimiter
  6. Obfuscating Your Code
  7. Publishing a Licensed Application
  8. Where to Get Support

After you've set up a publisher account and development environment (see Setting Up for Licensing), you are ready to add license verification to your app with the License Verification Library (LVL).

Adding license verification with the LVL involves these tasks:

  1. Adding the licensing permission your application's manifest.
  2. Implementing a Policy — you can choose one of the full implementations provided in the LVL or create your own.
  3. Implementing an Obfuscator, if your Policy will cache any license response data.
  4. Adding code to check the license in your application's main Activity.
  5. Implementing a DeviceLimiter (optional and not recommended for most applications).

The sections below describe these tasks. When you are done with the integration, you should be able to compile your application successfully and you can begin testing, as described in Setting Up the Test Environment.

For an overview of the full set of source files included in the LVL, see Summary of LVL Classes and Interfaces.

Adding the Licensing Permission

To use the Google Play application for sending a license check to the server, your application must request the proper permission, If your application does not declare the licensing permission but attempts to initiate a license check, the LVL throws a security exception.

To request the licensing permission in your application, declare a <uses-permission> element as a child of <manifest>, as follows:

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

For example, here's how the LVL sample application declares the permission:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <manifest xmlns:android="" ..."> <!-- Devices >= 3 have version of Google Play that supports licensing. --> <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="3" /> <!-- Required permission to check licensing. --> <uses-permission android:name="" /> ... </manifest>

Note: Currently, you cannot declare the CHECK_LICENSE permission in the LVL library project's manifest, because the SDK Tools will not merge it into the manifests of dependent applications. Instead, you must declare the permission in each dependent application's manifest.

Implementing a Policy


The LVL includes a complete Policy implementation called ServerManagedPolicy that makes use of license-management settings provided by the Google Play server.

Use of ServerManagedPolicy as the basis for your Policy is strongly recommended. For more information, see ServerManagedPolicy section, below.

Google Play licensing service does not itself determine whether a given user with a given license should be granted access to your application. Rather, that responsibility is left to a Policy implementation that you provide in your application.

Policy is an interface declared by the LVL that is designed to hold your application's logic for allowing or disallowing user access, based on the result of a license check. To use the LVL, your application must provide an implementation of Policy.

The Policy interface declares two methods, allowAccess() and processServerResponse(), which are called by a LicenseChecker instance when processing a response from the license server. It also declares an enum called LicenseResponse, which specifies the license response value passed in calls to processServerResponse().

  • processServerResponse() lets you preprocess the raw response data received from the licensing server, prior to determining whether to grant access.

    A typical implementation would extract some or all fields from the license response and store the data locally to a persistent store, such as through SharedPreferences storage, to ensure that the data is accessible across application invocations and device power cycles. For example, a Policy would maintain the timestamp of the last successful license check, the retry count, the license validity period, and similar information in a persistent store, rather than resetting the values each time the application is launched.

    When storing response data locally, the Policy must ensure that the data is obfuscated (see Implementing an Obfuscator, below).

  • allowAccess() determines whether to grant the user access to your application, based on any available license response data (from the licensing server or from cache) or other application-specific information. For example, your implementation of allowAccess() could take into account additional criteria, such as usage or other data retrieved from a backend server. In all cases, an implementation of allowAccess() should only return true if the user is licensed to use the application, as determined by the licensing server, or if there is a transient network or system problem that prevents the license check from completing. In such cases, your implementation can maintain a count of retry responses and provisionally allow access until the next license check is complete.

To simplify the process of adding licensing to your application and to provide an illustration of how a Policy should be designed, the LVL includes two full Policy implementations that you can use without modification or adapt to your needs:

  • ServerManagedPolicy, a flexible Policy that uses server-provided settings and cached responses to manage access across varied network conditions, and
  • StrictPolicy, which does not cache any response data and allows access only if the server returns a licensed response.

For most applications, the use of ServerManagedPolicy is highly recommended. ServerManagedPolicy is the LVL default and is integrated with the LVL sample application.

Guidelines for custom policies

In your licensing implementation, you can use one of the complete policies provided in the LVL (ServerManagedPolicy or StrictPolicy) or you can create a custom policy. For any type of custom policy, there are several important design points to understand and account for in your implementation.

The licensing server applies general request limits to guard against overuse of resources that could result in denial of service. When an application exceeds the request limit, the licensing server returns a 503 response, which gets passed through to your application as a general server error. This means that no license response will be available to the user until the limit is reset, which can affect the user for an indefinite period.

If you are designing a custom policy, we recommend that the Policy:

  1. Caches (and properly obfuscates) the most recent successful license response in local persistent storage.
  2. Returns the cached response for all license checks, for as long as the cached response is valid, rather than making a request to the licensing server. Setting the response validity according to the server-provided VT extra is highly recommended. See Server Response Extras for more information.
  3. Uses an exponential backoff period, if retrying any requests the result in errors. Note that the Google Play client automatically retries failed requests, so in most cases there is no need for your Policy to retry them.
  4. Provides for a "grace period" that allows the user to access your application for a limited time or number of uses, while a license check is being retried. The grace period benefits the user by allowing access until the next license check can be completed successfully and it benefits you by placing a hard limit on access to your application when there is no valid license response available.

Designing your Policy according to the guidelines listed above is critical, because it ensures the best possible experience for users while giving you effective control over your application even in error conditions.

Note that any Policy can use settings provided by the licensing server to help manage validity and caching, retry grace period, and more. Extracting the server-provided settings is straightforward and making use of them is highly recommended. See the ServerManagedPolicy implementation for an example of how to extract and use the extras. For a list of server settings and information about how to use them, see Server Response Extras.


Server Response Extras

For certain types of licensing responses, the licensing server appends extra settings to the responses, to help the application manage licensing effectively.

See Server Response Extras for a list of settings and for information about how a Policy can use the extras.

The LVL includes a full and recommended implementation of the Policy interface called ServerManagedPolicy. The implementation is integrated with the LVL classes and serves as the default Policy in the library.

ServerManagedPolicy provides all of the handling for license and retry responses. It caches all of the response data locally in a SharedPreferences file, obfuscating it with the application's Obfuscator implementation. This ensures that the license response data is secure and persists across device power cycles. ServerManagedPolicy provides concrete implementations of the interface methods processServerResponse() and allowAccess() and also includes a set of supporting methods and types for managing license responses.

Importantly, a key feature of ServerMangedPolicy is its use of server-provided settings as the basis for managing licensing across an application's refund period and through varying network and error conditions. When an application contacts the Google Play server for a license check, the server appends several settings as key-value pairs in the extras field of certain license response types. For example, the server provides recommended values for the application's license validity period, retry grace period, and maximum allowable retry count, among others. ServerManagedPolicy extracts the values from the license response in its processServerResponse() method and checks them in its allowAccess() method. For a list of the server-provided settings used by ServerManagedPolicy, see Server Response Extras.

For convenience, best performance, and the benefit of using license settings from the Google Play server, using ServerManagedPolicy as your licensing Policy is strongly recommended.

If you are concerned about the security of license response data that is stored locally in SharedPreferences, you can use a stronger obfuscation algorithm or design a stricter Policy that does not store license data. The LVL includes an example of such a Policy — see StrictPolicy for more information.

To use ServerManagedPolicy, simply import it to your Activity, create an instance, and pass a reference to the instance when constructing your LicenseChecker. See Instantiate LicenseChecker and LicenseCheckerCallback for more information.


The LVL includes an alternative full implementation of the Policy interface called StrictPolicy. The StrictPolicy implementation provides a more restrictive Policy than ServerManagedPolicy, in that it does not allow the user to access the application unless a license response is received from the server at the time of access that indicates that the user is licensed.

The principal feature of StrictPolicy is that it does not store any license response data locally, in a persistent store. Because no data is stored, retry requests are not tracked and cached responses can not be used to fulfill license checks. The Policy allows access only if:

  • The license response is received from the licensing server, and
  • The license response indicates that the user is licensed to access the application.

Using StrictPolicy is appropriate if your primary concern is to ensure that, in all possible cases, no user will be allowed to access the application unless the user is confirmed to be licensed at the time of use. Additionally, the Policy offers slightly more security than ServerManagedPolicy — since there is no data cached locally, there is no way a malicious user could tamper with the cached data and obtain access to the application.

At the same time, this Policy presents a challenge for normal users, since it means that they won't be able to access the application when there is no network (cell or Wi-Fi) connection available. Another side-effect is that your application will send more license check requests to the server, since using a cached response is not possible.

Overall, this policy represents a tradeoff of some degree of user convenience for absolute security and control over access. Consider the tradeoff carefully before using this Policy.

To use StrictPolicy, simply import it to your Activity, create an instance, and pass a reference to it when constructing your LicenseChecker. See Instantiate LicenseChecker and LicenseCheckerCallback for more information.

Implementing an Obfuscator


The LVL includes a full Obfuscator implementation in the file. The Obfuscator uses AES encryption to obfuscate/unobfuscate data. If you are using a Policy (such as ServerManagedPolicy) that caches license response data, using AESObfuscator as basis for your Obfuscator implementation is highly recommended.

A typical Policy implementation needs to save the license response data for an application to a persistent store, so that it is accessible across application invocations and device power cycles. For example, a Policy would maintain the timestamp of the last successful license check, the retry count, the license validity period, and similar information in a persistent store, rather than resetting the values each time the application is launched. The default Policy included in the LVL, ServerManagedPolicy, stores license response data in a SharedPreferences instance, to ensure that the data is persistent.

Because the Policy will use stored license response data to determine whether to allow or disallow access to the application, it must ensure that any stored data is secure and cannot be reused or manipulated by a root user on a device. Specifically, the Policy must always obfuscate the data before storing it, using a key that is unique for the application and device. Obfuscating using a key that is both application-specific and device-specific is critical, because it prevents the obfuscated data from being shared among applications and devices.

The LVL assists the application with storing its license response data in a secure, persistent manner. First, it provides an Obfuscator interface that lets your application supply the obfuscation algorithm of its choice for stored data. Building on that, the LVL provides the helper class PreferenceObfuscator, which handles most of the work of calling the application's Obfuscator class and reading and writing the obfuscated data in a SharedPreferences instance.

The LVL provides a full Obfuscator implementation called AESObfuscator that uses AES encryption to obfuscate data. You can use AESObfuscator in your application without modification or you can adapt it to your needs. For more information, see the next section.


The LVL includes a full and recommended implementation of the Obfuscator interface called AESObfuscator. The implementation is integrated with the LVL sample application and serves as the default Obfuscator in the library.

AESObfuscator provides secure obfuscation of data by using AES to encrypt and decrypt the data as it is written to or read from storage. The Obfuscator seeds the encryption using three data fields provided by the application:

  1. A salt — an array of random bytes to use for each (un)obfuscation.
  2. An application identifier string, typically the package name of the application.
  3. A device identifier string, derived from as many device-specific sources as possible, so as to make it as unique.

To use AESObfuscator, first import it to your Activity. Declare a private static final array to hold the salt bytes and initialize it to 20 randomly generated bytes.

... // Generate 20 random bytes, and put them here. private static final byte[] SALT = new byte[] { -46, 65, 30, -128, -103, -57, 74, -64, 51, 88, -95, -45, 77, -117, -36, -113, -11, 32, -64, 89 }; ...

Next, declare a variable to hold a device identifier and generate a value for it in any way needed. For example, the sample application included in the LVL queries the system settings for the android.Settings.Secure.ANDROID_ID, which is unique to each device.

Note that, depending on the APIs you use, your application might need to request additional permissions in order to acquire device-specific information. For example, to query the TelephonyManager to obtain the device IMEI or related data, the application will also need to request the android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE permission in its manifest.

Before requesting new permissions for the sole purpose of acquiring device-specific information for use in your Obfuscator, consider how doing so might affect your application or its filtering on Google Play (since some permissions can cause the SDK build tools to add the associated <uses-feature>).

Finally, construct an instance of AESObfuscator, passing the salt, application identifier, and device identifier. You can construct the instance directly, while constructing your Policy and LicenseChecker. For example:

... // Construct the LicenseChecker with a Policy. mChecker = new LicenseChecker( this, new ServerManagedPolicy(this, new AESObfuscator(SALT, getPackageName(), deviceId)), BASE64_PUBLIC_KEY // Your public licensing key. ); ...

For a complete example, see MainActivity in the LVL sample application.

Checking the License from an Activity

Once you've implemented a Policy for managing access to your application, the next step is to add a license check to your application, which initiates a query to the licensing server if needed and manages access to the application based on the license response. All of the work of adding the license check and handling the response takes place in your main Activity source file.

To add the license check and handle the response, you must:

  1. Add imports
  2. Implement LicenseCheckerCallback as a private inner class
  3. Create a Handler for posting from LicenseCheckerCallback to the UI thread
  4. Instantiate LicenseChecker and LicenseCheckerCallback
  5. Call checkAccess() to initiate the license check
  6. Embed your public key for licensing
  7. Call your LicenseChecker's onDestroy() method to close IPC connections.

The sections below describe these tasks.

Overview of license check and response

Example: MainActivity

The sample application included with the LVL provides a full example of how to initiate a license check and handle the result, in the file.

In most cases, you should add the license check to your application's main Activity, in the onCreate() method. This ensures that when the user launches your application directly, the license check will be invoked immediately. In some cases, you can add license checks in other locations as well. For example, if your application includes multiple Activity components that other applications can start by Intent, you could add license checks in those Activities.

A license check consists of two main actions:

  • A call to a method to initiate the license check — in the LVL, this is a call to the checkAccess() method of a LicenseChecker object that you construct.
  • A callback that returns the result of the license check. In the LVL, this is a LicenseCheckerCallback interface that you implement. The interface declares two methods, allow() and dontAllow(), which are invoked by the library based on to the result of the license check. You implement these two methods with whatever logic you need, to allow or disallow the user access to your application. Note that these methods do not determine whether to allow access — that determination is the responsibility of your Policy implementation. Rather, these methods simply provide the application behaviors for how to allow and disallow access (and handle application errors).

    The allow() and dontAllow() methods do provide a "reason" for their response, which can be one of the Policy values, LICENSED, NOT_LICENSED, or RETRY. In particular, you should handle the case in which the method receives the RETRY response for dontAllow() and provide the user with an "Retry" button, which might have happened because the service was unavailable during the request.

Figure 6. Overview of a typical license check interaction.

The diagram above illustrates how a typical license check takes place:

  1. Code in the application's main Activity instantiates LicenseCheckerCallback and LicenseChecker objects. When constructing LicenseChecker, the code passes in Context, a Policy implementation to use, and the publisher account's public key for licensing as parameters.
  2. The code then calls the checkAccess() method on the LicenseChecker object. The method implementation calls the Policy to determine whether there is a valid license response cached locally, in SharedPreferences.
    • If so, the checkAccess() implementation calls allow().
    • Otherwise, the LicenseChecker initiates a license check request that is sent to the licensing server.

    Note: The licensing server always returns LICENSED when you perform a license check of a draft application.

  3. When a response is received, LicenseChecker creates a LicenseValidator that verifies the signed license data and extracts the fields of the response, then passes them to your Policy for further evaluation.
    • If the license is valid, the Policy caches the response in SharedPreferences and notifies the validator, which then calls the allow() method on the LicenseCheckerCallback object.
    • If the license not valid, the Policy notifies the validator, which calls the dontAllow() method on LicenseCheckerCallback.
  4. In case of a recoverable local or server error, such as when the network is not available to send the request, LicenseChecker passes a RETRY response to your Policy object's processServerResponse() method.

    Also, both the allow() and dontAllow() callback methods receive a reason argument. The allow() method's reason is usually Policy.LICENSED or Policy.RETRY and the dontAllow() reason is usually Policy.NOT_LICENSED or Policy.RETRY. These response values are useful so you can show an appropriate response for the user, such as by providing a "Retry" button when dontAllow() responds with Policy.RETRY, which might have been because the service was unavailable.

  5. In case of a application error, such as when the application attempts to check the license of an invalid package name, LicenseChecker passes an error response to the LicenseCheckerCallback's applicationError() method.

Note that, in addition to initiating the license check and handling the result, which are described in the sections below, your application also needs to provide a Policy implementation and, if the Policy stores response data (such as ServerManagedPolicy), an Obfuscator implementation.

Add imports

First, open the class file of the application's main Activity and import LicenseChecker and LicenseCheckerCallback from the LVL package.

import; import;

If you are using the default Policy implementation provided with the LVL, ServerManagedPolicy, import it also, together with the AESObfuscator. If you are using a custom Policy or Obfuscator, import those instead.

import; import;

Implement LicenseCheckerCallback as a private inner class

LicenseCheckerCallback is an interface provided by the LVL for handling result of a license check. To support licensing using the LVL, you must implement LicenseCheckerCallback and its methods to allow or disallow access to the application.

The result of a license check is always a call to one of the LicenseCheckerCallback methods, made based on the validation of the response payload, the server response code itself, and any additional processing provided by your Policy. Your application can implement the methods in any way needed. In general, it's best to keep the methods simple, limiting them to managing UI state and application access. If you want to add further processing of license responses, such as by contacting a backend server or applying custom constraints, you should consider incorporating that code into your Policy, rather than putting it in the LicenseCheckerCallback methods.

In most cases, you should declare your implementation of LicenseCheckerCallback as a private class inside your application's main Activity class.

Implement the allow() and dontAllow() methods as needed. To start with, you can use simple result-handling behaviors in the methods, such as displaying the license result in a dialog. This helps you get your application running sooner and can assist with debugging. Later, after you have determined the exact behaviors you want, you can add more complex handling.

Some suggestions for handling unlicensed responses in dontAllow() include:

  • Display a "Try again" dialog to the user, including a button to initiate a new license check if the reason supplied is Policy.RETRY.
  • Display a "Purchase this application" dialog, including a button that deep-links the user to the application's details page on Google Play, from which the use can purchase the application. For more information on how to set up such links, see Linking to Your Products.
  • Display a Toast notification that indicates that the features of the application are limited because it is not licensed.

The example below shows how the LVL sample application implements LicenseCheckerCallback, with methods that display the license check result in a dialog.

private class MyLicenseCheckerCallback implements LicenseCheckerCallback { public void allow(int reason) { if (isFinishing()) { // Don't update UI if Activity is finishing. return; } // Should allow user access. displayResult(getString(R.string.allow)); } public void dontAllow(int reason) { if (isFinishing()) { // Don't update UI if Activity is finishing. return; } displayResult(getString(R.string.dont_allow)); if (reason == Policy.RETRY) { // If the reason received from the policy is RETRY, it was probably // due to a loss of connection with the service, so we should give the // user a chance to retry. So show a dialog to retry. showDialog(DIALOG_RETRY); } else { // Otherwise, the user is not licensed to use this app. // Your response should always inform the user that the application // is not licensed, but your behavior at that point can vary. You might // provide the user a limited access version of your app or you can // take them to Google Play to purchase the app. showDialog(DIALOG_GOTOMARKET); } } }

Additionally, you should implement the applicationError() method, which the LVL calls to let your application handle errors that are not retryable. For a list of such errors, see Server Response Codes in the Licensing Reference. You can implement the method in any way needed. In most cases, the method should log the error code and call dontAllow().

During a license check, the LVL passes the request to the Google Play application, which handles communication with the licensing server. The LVL passes the request over asynchronous IPC (using Binder) so the actual processing and network communication do not take place on a thread managed by your application. Similarly, when the Google Play application receives the result, it invokes a callback method over IPC, which in turn executes in an IPC thread pool in your application's process.

The LicenseChecker class manages your application's IPC communication with the Google Play application, including the call that sends the request and the callback that receives the response. LicenseChecker also tracks open license requests and manages their timeouts.

So that it can handle timeouts properly and also process incoming responses without affecting your application's UI thread, LicenseChecker spawns a background thread at instantiation. In the thread it does all processing of license check results, whether the result is a response received from the server or a timeout error. At the conclusion of processing, the LVL calls your LicenseCheckerCallback methods from the background thread.

To your application, this means that:

  1. Your LicenseCheckerCallback methods will be invoked, in many cases, from a background thread.
  2. Those methods won't be able to update state or invoke any processing in the UI thread, unless you create a Handler in the UI thread and have your callback methods post to the Handler.

If you want your LicenseCheckerCallback methods to update the UI thread, instantiate a Handler in the main Activity's onCreate() method, as shown below. In this example, the LVL sample application's LicenseCheckerCallback methods (see above) call displayResult() to update the UI thread through the Handler's post() method.

private Handler mHandler; @Override public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) { ... mHandler = new Handler(); }

Then, in your LicenseCheckerCallback methods, you can use Handler methods to post Runnable or Message objects to the Handler. Here's how the sample application included in the LVL posts a Runnable to a Handler in the UI thread to display the license status.

private void displayResult(final String result) { Runnable() { public void run() { mStatusText.setText(result); setProgressBarIndeterminateVisibility(false); mCheckLicenseButton.setEnabled(true); } }); }

Instantiate LicenseChecker and LicenseCheckerCallback

In the main Activity's onCreate() method, create private instances of LicenseCheckerCallback and LicenseChecker. You must instantiate LicenseCheckerCallback first, because you need to pass a reference to that instance when you call the constructor for LicenseChecker.

When you instantiate LicenseChecker, you need to pass in these parameters:

  • The application Context
  • A reference to the Policy implementation to use for the license check. In most cases, you would use the default Policy implementation provided by the LVL, ServerManagedPolicy.
  • The String variable holding your publisher account's public key for licensing.

If you are using ServerManagedPolicy, you won't need to access the class directly, so you can instantiate it in the LicenseChecker constructor, as shown in the example below. Note that you need to pass a reference to a new Obfuscator instance when you construct ServerManagedPolicy.

The example below shows the instantiation of LicenseChecker and LicenseCheckerCallback from the onCreate() method of an Activity class.

public class MainActivity extends Activity { ... private LicenseCheckerCallback mLicenseCheckerCallback; private LicenseChecker mChecker; @Override public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) { super.onCreate(savedInstanceState); ... // Construct the LicenseCheckerCallback. The library calls this when done. mLicenseCheckerCallback = new MyLicenseCheckerCallback(); // Construct the LicenseChecker with a Policy. mChecker = new LicenseChecker( this, new ServerManagedPolicy(this, new AESObfuscator(SALT, getPackageName(), deviceId)), BASE64_PUBLIC_KEY // Your public licensing key. ); ... } }

Note that LicenseChecker calls the LicenseCheckerCallback methods from the UI thread only if there is valid license response cached locally. If the license check is sent to the server, the callbacks always originate from the background thread, even for network errors.

Call checkAccess() to initiate the license check

In your main Activity, add a call to the checkAccess() method of the LicenseChecker instance. In the call, pass a reference to your LicenseCheckerCallback instance as a parameter. If you need to handle any special UI effects or state management before the call, you might find it useful to call checkAccess() from a wrapper method. For example, the LVL sample application calls checkAccess() from a doCheck() wrapper method:

@Override public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) { super.onCreate(savedInstanceState); ... // Call a wrapper method that initiates the license check doCheck(); ... } ... private void doCheck() { mCheckLicenseButton.setEnabled(false); setProgressBarIndeterminateVisibility(true); mStatusText.setText(R.string.checking_license); mChecker.checkAccess(mLicenseCheckerCallback); }

Embed your public key for licensing

For each application, the Google Play service automatically generates a 2048-bit RSA public/private key pair that is used for licensing and in-app billing. The key pair is uniquely associated with the application. Although associated with the application, the key pair is not the same as the key that you use to sign your applications (or derived from it).

The Google Play Developer Console exposes the public key for licensing to any developer signed in to the Developer Console, but it keeps the private key hidden from all users in a secure location. When an application requests a license check for an application published in your account, the licensing server signs the license response using the private key of your application's key pair. When the LVL receives the response, it uses the public key provided by the application to verify the signature of the license response.

To add licensing to an application, you must obtain your application's public key for licensing and copy it into your application. Here's how to find your application's public key for licensing:

  1. Go to the Google Play Developer Console and sign in. Make sure that you sign in to the account from which the application you are licensing is published (or will be published).
  2. In the application details page, locate the Services & APIs link and click it.
  3. In the Services & APIs page, locate the Licensing & In-App Billing section. Your public key for licensing is given in the Your License Key For This Application field.

To add the public key to your application, simply copy/paste the key string from the field into your application as the value of the String variable BASE64_PUBLIC_KEY. When you are copying, make sure that you have selected the entire key string, without omitting any characters.

Here's an example from the LVL sample application:

public class MainActivity extends Activity { private static final String BASE64_PUBLIC_KEY = "MIIBIjANBgkqhkiG ... "; //truncated for this example ... }

Call your LicenseChecker's onDestroy() method to close IPC connections

Finally, to let the LVL clean up before your application Context changes, add a call to the LicenseChecker's onDestroy() method from your Activity's onDestroy() implementation. The call causes the LicenseChecker to properly close any open IPC connection to the Google Play application's ILicensingService and removes any local references to the service and handler.

Failing to call the LicenseChecker's onDestroy() method can lead to problems over the lifecycle of your application. For example, if the user changes screen orientation while a license check is active, the application Context is destroyed. If your application does not properly close the LicenseChecker's IPC connection, your application will crash when the response is received. Similarly, if the user exits your application while a license check is in progress, your application will crash when the response is received, unless it has properly called the LicenseChecker's onDestroy() method to disconnect from the service.

Here's an example from the sample application included in the LVL, where mChecker is the LicenseChecker instance:

@Override protected void onDestroy() { super.onDestroy(); mChecker.onDestroy(); ... }

If you are extending or modifying LicenseChecker, you might also need to call the LicenseChecker's finishCheck() method, to clean up any open IPC connections.

Implementing a DeviceLimiter

In some cases, you might want your Policy to limit the number of actual devices that are permitted to use a single license. This would prevent a user from moving a licensed application onto a number of devices and using the application on those devices under the same account ID. It would also prevent a user from "sharing" the application by providing the account information associated with the license to other individuals, who could then sign in to that account on their devices and access the license to the application.

The LVL supports per-device licensing by providing a DeviceLimiter interface, which declares a single method, allowDeviceAccess(). When a LicenseValidator is handling a response from the licensing server, it calls allowDeviceAccess(), passing a user ID string extracted from the response.

If you do not want to support device limitation, no work is required — the LicenseChecker class automatically uses a default implementation called NullDeviceLimiter. As the name suggests, NullDeviceLimiter is a "no-op" class whose allowDeviceAccess() method simply returns a LICENSED response for all users and devices.

Caution: Per-device licensing is not recommended for most applications because:

  • It requires that you provide a backend server to manage a users and devices mapping, and
  • It could inadvertently result in a user being denied access to an application that they have legitimately purchased on another device.

Obfuscating Your Code

To ensure the security of your application, particularly for a paid application that uses licensing and/or custom constraints and protections, it's very important to obfuscate your application code. Properly obfuscating your code makes it more difficult for a malicious user to decompile the application's bytecode, modify it — such as by removing the license check — and then recompile it.

Several obfuscator programs are available for Android applications, including ProGuard, which also offers code-optimization features. The use of ProGuard or a similar program to obfuscate your code is strongly recommended for all applications that use Google Play Licensing.

Publishing a Licensed Application

When you are finished testing your license implementation, you are ready to publish the application on Google Play. Follow the normal steps to prepare, sign, and then publish the application.

Where to Get Support

If you have questions or encounter problems while implementing or deploying publishing in your applications, please use the support resources listed in the table below. By directing your queries to the correct forum, you can get the support you need more quickly.

Table 2. Developer support resources for Google Play Licensing Service.

Support Type Resource Range of Topics
Development and testing issues Google Groups: android-developers LVL download and integration, library projects, Policy questions, user experience ideas, handling of responses, Obfuscator, IPC, test environment setup
Stack Overflow:
Accounts, publishing, and deployment issues Google Play Help Forum Publisher accounts, licensing key pair, test accounts, server responses, test responses, application deployment and results
Market Licensing Support FAQ
LVL issue tracker Marketlicensing project issue tracker Bug and issue reports related specifically to the LVL source code classes and interface implementations

For general information about how to post to the groups listed above, see Developer Forums document in the Resources tab.