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Add expo-updates to an existing project

Learn how to add expo-updates to an existing React Native project.


The expo-updates library fetches and manages updates received from a remote server. It supports EAS Update, a hosted service that serves updates for projects using the expo-updates library.

If you are creating a new project, we recommend using npx create-expo-app --template bare-minimum (or yarn create expo-app --template bare-minimum) instead of npx react-native init because it will handle the following configuration for you automatically. It includes the expo-updates config plugin, which will handle the following steps for you.

Installation

The expo-updates library requires that your project already has Expo modules configured. Be sure to install it before continuing.

To get started, install expo-updates:

Terminal
npx expo install expo-updates

Then, install pods:

Terminal
npx pod-install

Once installation is complete, apply the changes from the following diffs to configure expo-updates in your project.

Configuration in JavaScript and JSON

Modify the expo section of app.json. (If you originally created your app using npx react-native init, you will need to add this section.) The changes below add the updates URL to the Expo configuration.

The example URL shown here is for use with a custom update server running on the same machine. When using EAS Update, the EAS CLI will set this URL correctly for the EAS Update service.

app.json
 {
   "name": "MyApp",
-  "displayName": "MyApp"
+  "displayName": "MyApp",
+  "expo": {
+    "name": "MyApp",
+    "slug": "MyApp",
+    "ios": {
+      "bundleIdentifier": "com.MyApp"
+    },
+    "android": {
+      "package": "com.MyApp"
+    },
+    "runtimeVersion": "1.0.0",
+    "updates": {
+      "url": "http://localhost:3000/api/manifest"
+    }
+  }
 }

Configuration for iOS

Add the file Podfile.properties.json to the ios directory:

ios/Podfile.properties.json
{
  "expo.jsEngine": "hermes"
}

Modify ios/Podfile to check for the JS engine configuration (JSC or Hermes) in Expo files:

ios/Podfile
--- a/ios/Podfile
+++ b/ios/Podfile
@@ -2,6 +2,9 @@ require File.join(File.dirname(`node --print "require.resolve('expo/package.json
 require_relative '../node_modules/react-native/scripts/react_native_pods'
 require_relative '../node_modules/@react-native-community/cli-platform-ios/native_modules'

+require 'json'
+podfile_properties = JSON.parse(File.read(File.join(__dir__, 'Podfile.properties.json'))) rescue {}
+
 platform :ios, '13.0'
 prepare_react_native_project!

@@ -41,7 +44,7 @@ target 'MyApp' do
     # Hermes is now enabled by default. Disable by setting this flag to false.
     # Upcoming versions of React Native may rely on get_default_flags(), but
     # we make it explicit here to aid in the React Native upgrade process.
-    :hermes_enabled => flags[:hermes_enabled],
+    :hermes_enabled => podfile_properties['expo.jsEngine'] == nil || podfile_properties['expo.jsEngine'] == 'hermes',
     :fabric_enabled => flags[:fabric_enabled],
     # Enables Flipper.
     #

Add the Supporting directory containing Expo.plist to your project in Xcode with the following content, to match the content in app.json:

Expo.plist
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
  <dict>
    <key>EXUpdatesCheckOnLaunch</key>
    <string>ALWAYS</string>
    <key>EXUpdatesEnabled</key>
    <true/>
    <key>EXUpdatesLaunchWaitMs</key>
    <integer>0</integer>
    <key>EXUpdatesRuntimeVersion</key>
    <string>1.0.0</string>
    <key>EXUpdatesURL</key>
    <string>http://localhost:3000/api/manifest</string>
  </dict>
</plist>

Configuration for Android

Modify android/app/build.gradle to check for the JS engine configuration (JSC or Hermes) in Expo files:

android/app/build.gradle
--- a/android/app/build.gradle
+++ b/android/app/build.gradle
@@ -52,6 +52,11 @@ react {
     // hermesFlags = ["-O", "-output-source-map"]
 }

+// Override `hermesEnabled` by `expo.jsEngine`
+ext {
+  hermesEnabled = (findProperty('expo.jsEngine') ?: "hermes") == "hermes"
+}
+
 /**
  * Set this to true to create four separate APKs instead of one,
  * one for each native architecture. This is useful if you don't

Modify android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml to add the expo-updates configuration XML so that it matches the contents of app.json:

android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml
--- a/android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml
+++ b/android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml
@@ -9,6 +9,11 @@
       android:roundIcon="@mipmap/ic_launcher_round"
       android:allowBackup="false"
       android:theme="@style/AppTheme">
+      <meta-data android:name="expo.modules.updates.ENABLED" android:value="true"/>
+      <meta-data android:name="expo.modules.updates.EXPO_RUNTIME_VERSION" android:value="@string/expo_runtime_version"/>
+      <meta-data android:name="expo.modules.updates.EXPO_UPDATES_CHECK_ON_LAUNCH" android:value="ALWAYS"/>
+      <meta-data android:name="expo.modules.updates.EXPO_UPDATES_LAUNCH_WAIT_MS" android:value="0"/>
+      <meta-data android:name="expo.modules.updates.EXPO_UPDATE_URL" android:value="http://localhost:3000/api/manifest"/>
       <activity
         android:name=".MainActivity"
         android:label="@string/app_name"

If using the updates server URL shown above (a custom non-HTTPS update server running on the same machine), you will need to modify android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml as shown below:

android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml
 <application
  android:name=".MainApplication"
  android:label="@string/app_name"
  android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
  android:roundIcon="@mipmap/ic_launcher_round"
  android:allowBackup="false"
  android:theme="@style/AppTheme"
+ android:usesCleartextTraffic="true"
 >

Add the Expo runtime version string key to android/app/src/main/res/values/strings.xml:

Next steps