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Tools for development

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An overview of Expo tools and websites that will help you during various aspects of your project-building journey.

When you create a new project with Expo, learning about the following essential tools and websites can help you during your app development journey. This page provides an overview of a list of recommended tools.

Expo CLI

Expo CLI is a development tool and is installed automatically with expo package when you create a new project. You can use it by leveraging npx (a Node.js package runner).

It is designed to help you move faster during the app development phase. For example, your first interaction with Expo CLI is starting the development server by running the command: npx expo start.

The following is a list of common commands that you will use with Expo CLI while developing your app:

npx expo startStarts the development server (whether you are using a development build or Expo Go).
npx expo prebuildGenerates native Android and iOS directories using Prebuild.
npx expo run:androidCompiles native Android app locally.
npx expo run:iosCompiles native iOS app locally.
npx expo install package-nameUsed to install a new library or validate and update specific libraries in your project by adding --fix option to this command.
npx expo lintSetup and configures ESLint. If ESLint is already configured, this command will lint your project files.

In a nutshell, Expo CLI allows you to develop, compile, start your app, and more. See Expo CLI reference for more available options and actions you can perform with the CLI.


EAS CLI is used to log in to your Expo account and compile your app using different EAS services such as Build, Update, or Submit. You can also use this tool to:

  • Publish your app to the app stores
  • Create a development, preview, or production build of your app
  • Create over-the-air (OTA) updates
  • Manage your app credentials
  • Create an ad hoc provisioning profile for an iOS device

To use EAS CLI, you need to install it globally on your local machine by running the command:

npm install -g eas-cli

You can use eas --help in your terminal window to learn more about the available commands. For a complete reference, see eas-cli npm page.


Orbit is a macOS and Windows app that enables

  • Install and launch builds from EAS on physical devices and emulators.
  • Install and launch updates from EAS on Android Emulators or iOS Simulators.
  • Launch snack projects on Android Emulators or iOS Simulators.
  • Use local files to install and launch apps. Orbit supports any Android .apk, iOS Simulator compatible .app, or ad hoc signed apps.
  • See a list of pinned projects from your EAS dashboard.


You can download Orbit with Homebrew for macOS, or directly from the GitHub releases.

brew install expo-orbit

If you want Orbit to start when you log in automatically, click on the Orbit icon in the menu bar, then Settings and select the Launch on Login option.

Note: Orbit for Windows is in preview and is only compatible with x64 and x86 machines. Compatibility for other architectures will be added in the future.

You can download Orbit for Windows directly from the GitHub releases.

Orbit relies on the Android SDK on both macOS and Windows and xcrun for device management only on macOS, which requires setting up both Android Studio and Xcode.

Expo Tools for VS Code

Expo Tools is a VS Code extension to improve your development experience when working with app config files. It provides features such as autocomplete and intellisense for files such as app config, EAS config, store config and Expo Module config files.

Install Expo Tools VS Code extension

Use this link to install the extension or search Expo Tools directly in your VS Code editor.

You can also use it to debug your app using VS Code's built-in debugger to set breakpoints, inspect variables, execute code through the debug console, and more. See Debugging with VS Code for how to use this extension for debugging.

Test prototypes with Snack and Expo Go


Snack is an in-browser development environment that works similarly to Expo Go. It's a great way to share code snippets and experiment with React Native without downloading any tools on your computer.

To use it, go to snack.expo.dev, edit the <Text> component in App.js, choose a platform (Android, iOS, or web) in the right panel and see the changes live.

Expo Go

Expo Go is a free open-source, sandbox for learning and experimenting with React Native. It works with Android and iOS.

For more information on how to use it:

  • Click this link to go to Set up your environment guide
  • Select a platform to develop under Where would you like to develop?
  • Select Expo Go under How would you like to develop?
  • Follow the instructions described in that guide

Note: Not recommended for building and distributing production apps to the app stores. Instead, use development builds.

What if I open a project with an unsupported SDK version?

When running a project that was created for an unsupported SDK version in Expo Go, you'll see the following error:

"Project is incompatible with this version of Expo Go"

To fix this, upgrading your project to a supported SDK version is recommended. If you want to learn how to do it, see Upgrade the project to a new SDK Version.

How do I upgrade my project from an unsupported SDK version?

See Upgrading Expo SDK guide for instructions for upgrading to a specific SDK version.

React Native directory

Any library that is compatible with React Native works in an Expo project when you use a development build to create your project.

reactnative.directory is a searchable database for React Native libraries. If a library you are looking for is not included in Expo SDK, use the directory to find a compatible library for your project.

Use libraries

See this guide to learn more about the difference between React Native core libraries, Expo SDK libraries, and third-party libraries. It also explains how to determine third-party library compatibility.