ProGuard manual

    Languages - Kotlin

    The Kotlin compiler injects code and metadata into the classes that it generates to support features not natively supported by the Java and Android environments. The metadata injected by the Kotlin compiler takes the shape of an annotation added to classes which leaks semantic information that can aid attackers.


    In most cases, you do not need to keep Kotlin metadata for app projects - therefore, no configuration changes are necessary and the Kotlin metadata can be safely removed. However, there are two common reasons to explicitly keep the metadata, reflection and libraries.

    ProGuard will only keep the Kotlin metadata of a class if you explicitly keep that class or one of its members, and you add the -keep class kotlin.Metadata option to your configuration. Note that this option may also be required by an SDK of your project, and indirectly added as a consumer rule.

    For example, if you have the following keep rule for a Kotlin class named com.example.KotlinExample, by default the class will be kept but its metadata will not:

    # Keep the class com.example.KotlinExample
    -keep class com.example.KotlinExample

    You can add -keep class kotlin.Metadata to your configuration to instruct ProGuard to keep and adapt Kotlin metadata:

    # Add this option to tell ProGuard to keep and adapt Kotlin metadata
    -keep class kotlin.Metadata

    App Projects

    The most common case to keep Kotlin metadata would be if you use the kotlin-reflect library. Just like when using Java reflection, you will need -keep rules in your configuration to keep the specific classes and members accessed through reflection.

    In this case, to instruct ProGuard to keep and adapt the corresponding Kotlin metadata, add the following to your configuration:

    -keep class kotlin.Metadata

    A popular framework that relies on reflection is Jackson.

    Library Projects

    When developing an SDK that exposes Kotlin-specific features to its users, you need to preserve the metadata of the public API. These include features such as named parameters, suspend functions, top-level functions and type aliases.

    In the case of a library, you would already be keeping the public API, so you can simply add the following to your configuration:

    -keep class kotlin.Metadata



    ProGuard will apply the same obfuscations to Kotlin identifiers in metadata, such as class or member names, to match those in the Java class files. This ensures that, even where the Kotlin metadata is required, no sensitive names remain in the metadata.


    ProGuard will remove all unused Kotlin metadata components such as unused functions and properties. This ensures that, even where the Kotlin metadata is required, only the used components are kept.

    Data Classes

    Data classes in Kotlin have an auto-generated toString method that lists all properties of the class and their value. ProGuard automatically detects these classes and adapts the names of properties to their obfuscated counterpart.

    Intrinsics Null Checks

    To better support java interoperability, Kotlin injects numerous method calls to e.g. check that a parameter is not null when it wasn't marked as Nullable. In pure Kotlin codebases, these injected method calls are unnecessary and instead leak information via their parameters (e.g. names of checked parameters).

    ProGuard automatically detects calls to these methods and removes the Strings to ensure that the resulting code contains no references to original parameter names, member names etc.