ExecutorService – Cancel a task in executor

Learn to cancel a task submitted to an executor which is still has to be executed and has not been completed yet using cancel() method of Future object which allows you to make the cancellation operation.

1. Future cancel() API

The Future.cancel(mayInterruptIfRunning) method takes one argument of type boolean.

boolean cancel(boolean mayInterruptIfRunning);

Depending on the value of mayInterruptIfRunning and the status of the task submitted to executor, the behavior of this method is different:

  • If the task has finished or has been canceled earlier, or it can’t be cancelled due to any other reason, the method will return the false value and the task won’t be canceled.
  • If the task is waiting in the executor to begin execution, the task will be canceled and will never begin its execution. Method will return true.
  • If the task is already running and value of mayInterruptIfRunning parameter is true, task will be canceled.
  • If the task is already running and value of mayInterruptIfRunning parameter is false, task will NOT be canceled.

2. Task cancellation example

In this java program, we have task which will be executed after a minute from scheduled time. After scheduling, we check the status of task using isDone() method which return false which task has not completed yet.

Then we cancel the task, and check the status of task using isCancelled() and isDone() methods, both.

import java.time.Duration;
import java.time.LocalDateTime;
import java.util.concurrent.Callable;
import java.util.concurrent.ExecutionException;
import java.util.concurrent.Executors;
import java.util.concurrent.ScheduledExecutorService;
import java.util.concurrent.ScheduledFuture;
import java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit;

public class Main 
	public static void main(String[] args) throws InterruptedException, ExecutionException 
		ScheduledExecutorService executor = Executors.newScheduledThreadPool(1);
		LocalDateTime now = LocalDateTime.now();
	        LocalDateTime afterOneMinute = now.plusMinutes(1);
	        Duration duration = Duration.between(now, afterOneMinute);
	        long delay = Math.abs(duration.toMillis());
	        System.out.println("Task scheduled at : "+ LocalDateTime.now());
	        ScheduledFuture<String> result = executor.schedule(new Task("Task-1"), delay, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS);
		System.out.println("Task is done : " + result.isDone());
		if(result.isDone() == false) 
			System.out.println("====Cancelling the task====");

		System.out.println("Task is cancelled : " + result.isCancelled());
		System.out.println("Task is done : " + result.isDone());

class Task implements Callable<String> 
	private final String name;

	public Task(String name) {
		this.name = name;

	public String call() throws Exception {
		System.out.println("Task [" + name + "] executed on : " + LocalDateTime.now().toString());
		return "Task [" + name + "] is SUCCESS !!";

Program output.

Task scheduled at : 2019-05-23T16:23:52.001

Task is done : false

====Cancelling the task====

Task is cancelled : true

Task is done : true

Clearly, after the task is cancelled the done status of task is also true.

Drop me your questions in comments regarding how to cancel a task submitted to executor in Java.

Happy Learning !!

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