Android Gradle Plugin 4.1.0 (August 2020)


  Minimum version Default version Notes
Gradle 6.5 N/A To learn more, see updating Gradle.
SDK Build Tools 29.0.2 29.0.2 Install or configure SDK Build Tools.
NDK N/A 21.1.6352462 Install or configure a different version of the NDK.

This version of the Android plugin requires the following:

The default NDK version in this release is 21.1.6352462. To install a different NDK version, see Install a specific version of the NDK.

New features

This version of the Android Gradle plugin includes the following new features.

Kotlin Script DSL support

To help improve the editing experience for Kotlin buildscript users, the DSL and APIs of Android Gradle plugin 4.1 are now defined in a set of Kotlin interfaces separately from their implementation classes. This means that:

  • Nullability and mutability are now explicitly declared on Kotlin types.
  • Documentation generated from those interfaces is published in the Kotlin API Reference.
  • The API surface of the Android Gradle Plugin is clearly defined, to make extending Android builds less brittle in the future.

Important: If you have already adopted KTS build scripts or use Kotlin in buildSrc, this may cause source compatibility breakages for certain errors that would have manifest as run-time errors in previous releases.

Collection types that are designed to be mutated in the DSL are now uniformly defined as:

val collection: MutableCollectionType

This means that it is no longer possible to write the following in Kotlin scripts for some collections that previously supported it:

collection = collectionTypeOf(...)

However, mutating the collection is supported uniformly so collection += … and collection.add(...) should now work everywhere.

If you discover any issues when upgrading a project that uses Android Gradle plugin Kotlin APIs and DSL, please report a bug.

Export C/C++ dependencies from AARs

Android Gradle plugin 4.0 added the ability to import Prefab packages in AAR dependencies. In AGP 4.1, it's now possible to export libraries from your external native build in an AAR for an Android Library project.

To export your native libraries, add the following to the android block of your library project's build.gradle file:

buildFeatures {
    prefabPublishing true

prefab { <var>mylibrary</var&;gt { headers "src/main/cpp/<var>mylibrary</var>/include" }

<var>myotherlibrary</var> {
    headers "src/main/cpp/<var>myotherlibrary</var>/include"


buildFeatures {
    prefabPublishing = true

prefab { create("<var>mylibrary</var>") { headers = "src/main/cpp/<var>mylibrary</var>/include" }

create("<var>myotherlibrary</var>") {
    headers = "src/main/cpp/<var>myotherlibrary</var>/include"


In this example, the mylibrary and myotherlibrary libraries from either your ndk-build or CMake external native build will be packaged in the AAR produced by your build, and each will export the headers from the specified directory to their dependents.

Note: For users of Android Gradle plugin 4.0 and above, the configuration settings for importing prebuilt native libraries have changed. For more information, see the 4.0 release notes.

R8 support for Kotlin metadata

Kotlin uses custom metadata in Java class files to identify Kotlin language constructs. R8 now has support for maintaining and rewriting Kotlin metadata to fully support shrinking of Kotlin libraries and applications using kotlin-reflect.

To keep Kotlin metadata, add the following keep rules:

-keep class kotlin.Metadata { *; }

-keepattributes RuntimeVisibleAnnotations

This will instruct R8 to keep Kotlin metadata for all classes that are directly kept.

For more information, see Shrinking Kotlin libraries and applications using Kotlin reflection with R8{:.external} on Medium.

Assertions in debug builds

When you build the debug version of your app using Android Gradle plugin 4.1.0 and higher, the built-in compiler (D8) will rewrite your app's code to enable assertions at compile time, so you always have assertion checks active.

Behavior changes

Android Gradle plugin build cache removed

The AGP build cache was removed in AGP 4.1. Previously introduced in AGP 2.3 to complement the Gradle build cache, the AGP build cache was superseded entirely by the Gradle build cache in AGP 4.1. This change does not impact build time.

The cleanBuildCache task and the android.enableBuildCache and android.buildCacheDir properties are deprecated and will be removed in AGP 7.0. The android.enableBuildCache property currently has no effect, while the android.buildCacheDir property and the cleanBuildCache task will be functional until AGP 7.0 for deleting any existing AGP build cache contents.

App size significantly reduced for apps using code shrinking

Starting with this release, fields from R classes are no longer kept by default, which may result in significant APK size savings for apps that enable code shrinking. This should not result in a behavior change unless you are accessing R classes by reflection, in which case it is necessary to add keep rules for those R classes.

android.namespacedRClass property renamed to android.nonTransitiveRClass

The experimental flag android.namespacedRClass has been renamed to android.nonTransitiveRClass.

Set in the file, this flag enables namespacing of each library's R class so that its R class includes only the resources declared in the library itself and none from the library's dependencies, thereby reducing the size of the R class for that library.

Kotlin DSL: coreLibraryDesugaringEnabled renamed

The Kotlin DSL compile option coreLibraryDesugaringEnabled has been changed to isCoreLibraryDesugaringEnabled. For more information about this flag, see Java 8+ API desugaring support (Android Gradle Plugin 4.0.0+).

Version properties removed from BuildConfig class in library projects

For library projects only, the BuildConfig.VERSION_NAME and BuildConfig.VERSION_CODE properties have been removed from the generated BuildConfig class because these static values did not reflect the final values of the application’s version code and name, and were therefore misleading. Additionally, these values were discarded during manifest merging.

In a future version of Android Gradle plugin, the versionName and versionCode properties will also be removed from the DSL for libraries. Currently, there is no way to automatically access the app version code/name from a library sub-project.

For application modules, there is no change, you can still assign values to versionCode and versionName in the DSL; these values will propagate to the app’s manifest and BuildConfig fields.

Set the NDK path

You can set the path to your local NDK installation using the android.ndkPath property in your module's build.gradle file.

android {
  ndkPath "your-custom-ndk-path"

android {
  ndkPath = "your-custom-ndk-path"

If you use this property together with the android.ndkVersion property, then this path must contain an NDK version that matches android.ndkVersion.

Library unit test behavior changes

We've changed the behavior of how library unit tests are compiled and run. A library's unit tests are now compiled and run against compile/runtime classes of the library itself, resulting in the unit test consuming the library in the same way external subprojects do. This configuration typically results in better testing.

In some cases library unit tests that use data binding may encounter missing DataBindingComponent or BR classes. Those tests need to be ported to an instrumented test in the androidTest project, since compiling and running against those classes in a unit test may produce incorrect output.

io.fabric Gradle plugin deprecated

The io.fabric Gradle plugin is deprecated and is not compatible with version 4.1 of the Android Gradle plugin. For more information on the deprecated Fabric SDK and migrating to the Firebase Crashlytics SDK, see Upgrade to the Firebase Crashlytics SDK.