inline suspend fun <T> suspendCancellableCoroutine(crossinline block: (CancellableContinuation<T>) -> Unit): T(source)

Suspends the coroutine like suspendCoroutine, but providing a CancellableContinuation to the block. This function throws a CancellationException if the Job of the coroutine is cancelled or completed while it is suspended.

A typical use of this function is to suspend a coroutine while waiting for a result from a single-shot callback API and to return the result to the caller. For multi-shot callback APIs see callbackFlow.

suspend fun awaitCallback(): T = suspendCancellableCoroutine { continuation ->
val callback = object : Callback { // Implementation of some callback interface
override fun onCompleted(value: T) {
// Resume coroutine with a value provided by the callback
override fun onApiError(cause: Throwable) {
// Resume coroutine with an exception provided by the callback
// Register callback with an API
// Remove callback on cancellation
continuation.invokeOnCancellation { api.unregister(callback) }
// At this point the coroutine is suspended by suspendCancellableCoroutine until callback fires

The callback register/unregister methods provided by an external API must be thread-safe, because invokeOnCancellation block can be called at any time due to asynchronous nature of cancellation, even concurrently with the call of the callback.

Prompt cancellation guarantee

This function provides prompt cancellation guarantee. If the Job of the current coroutine was cancelled while this function was suspended it will not resume successfully, even if CancellableContinuation.resume was already invoked.

The cancellation of the coroutine's job is generally asynchronous with respect to the suspended coroutine. The suspended coroutine is resumed with a call to its Continuation.resumeWith member function or to the resume extension function. However, when coroutine is resumed, it does not immediately start executing, but is passed to its CoroutineDispatcher to schedule its execution when dispatcher's resources become available for execution. The job's cancellation can happen before, after, and concurrently with the call to resume. In any case, prompt cancellation guarantees that the coroutine will not resume its code successfully.

If the coroutine was resumed with an exception (for example, using Continuation.resumeWithException extension function) and cancelled, then the exception thrown by the suspendCancellableCoroutine function is determined by what happened first: exceptional resume or cancellation.

Returning resources from a suspended coroutine

As a result of the prompt cancellation guarantee, when a closeable resource (like open file or a handle to another native resource) is returned from a suspended coroutine as a value, it can be lost when the coroutine is cancelled. To ensure that the resource can be properly closed in this case, the CancellableContinuation interface provides two functions.

  • invokeOnCancellation installs a handler that is called whenever a suspend coroutine is being cancelled. In addition to the example at the beginning, it can be used to ensure that a resource that was opened before the call to suspendCancellableCoroutine or in its body is closed in case of cancellation.

suspendCancellableCoroutine { continuation ->
val resource = openResource() // Opens some resource
continuation.invokeOnCancellation {
resource.close() // Ensures the resource is closed on cancellation
// ...
  • resume(value) { ... } method on a CancellableContinuation takes an optional onCancellation block. It can be used when resuming with a resource that must be closed by the code that called the corresponding suspending function.

suspendCancellableCoroutine { continuation ->
val callback = object : Callback { // Implementation of some callback interface
// A callback provides a reference to some closeable resource
override fun onCompleted(resource: T) {
// Resume coroutine with a value provided by the callback and ensure the resource is closed in case
// when the coroutine is cancelled before the caller gets a reference to the resource.
continuation.resume(resource) { cause, resourceToClose, context ->
resourceToClose.close() // Close the resource on cancellation
// If we used `resource` instead of `resourceToClose`, this lambda would need to allocate a closure,
// but with `resourceToClose`, the lambda does not capture any of its environment.
// ...

Implementation details and custom continuation interceptors

The prompt cancellation guarantee is the result of a coordinated implementation inside suspendCancellableCoroutine function and the CoroutineDispatcher class. The coroutine dispatcher checks for the status of the Job immediately before continuing its normal execution and aborts this normal execution, calling all the corresponding cancellation handlers, if the job was cancelled.

If a custom implementation of ContinuationInterceptor is used in a coroutine's context that does not extend CoroutineDispatcher class, then there is no prompt cancellation guarantee. A custom continuation interceptor can resume execution of a previously suspended coroutine even if its job was already cancelled.