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Android – Getting file from camera intent on HTC

Posted September 16th, 2011 in Blog by creative workline

This is probably one of the „darkest chapters“ of programming for Android. Even such a simple task as opening the built-in camera, capturing an image and returning it to the app can become a challenge if the behaviour differs so much on various devices and OS versions. In connection with this there seems to be an issue in the Android platform that has been unresolved for nearly three years now.

What we found out (thanks to this and other articles) that on certain HTC devices (in our case a Legend with 2.2), you need to first check if the file path that your pass to the intent exists. Have a look at this example code:

private File getCameraImageFile() {
    String storageState = Environment.getExternalStorageState();
    if (storageState.equals(Environment.MEDIA_MOUNTED)) {
        String path = Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory() +
"" + File.separatorChar + "my_app_name/my_picture.jpg";
        File photoFile = new File(path);
        try {
            if (!photoFile.exists()) {
        } catch (IOException e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "Could not create file.", e);
        Log.i(TAG, "Got a file! " + path);
        return photoFile;
    } else {
Log.i(TAG, "External storage (SD card) is required. Current state: "
+ storageState);
// show some error dialog here
        return null;

If you leave away the mkdirs() and createNewFile() section the HTC’s camera activty will store the image in the media folder (/mnt/sdcard/DCIM/…) but you won’t get the file path in the intent at onActivityResult(). The statement photoFile.createNewFile() will throw an exception if you don’t add this to your AndroidManifest.xml:

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

You can then start an intent like this:

Intent cameraIntent = new Intent(android.provider.MediaStore.ACTION_IMAGE_CAPTURE);
cameraIntent.putExtra(MediaStore.EXTRA_OUTPUT, Uri.fromFile(file);
cameraIntent.putExtra(MediaStore.EXTRA_VIDEO_QUALITY, 1);
startActivityForResult(cameraIntent, ACT_REQUEST_CAMERA);

After the camera activity has returned you can read in the file, send it to a server, or do whatever you want to do with it.

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