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Using expo-dev-client with EAS Update

Learn how how to use the expo-dev-client library to preview a published EAS Update inside a development build.

This guide is likely to change as we continue to work on EAS Update.

The expo-dev-client library allows us to launch different versions of our project. One of the most popular use cases is to preview a published update inside a development build, using the expo-dev-client library.

The expo-dev-client library supports loading published EAS Updates through channels. Below, learn how to load a specific channel to preview an update in a development build.

How to load a published EAS Update inside a development build

  1. Create a development build of the project.
  2. Next, make non-native changes locally, then publish them using eas update --branch .... The branch specified should correspond to a channel. You can see how channels are linked to branches with eas channel:list.
  3. After publishing an update, it's time to load the update in the development build. All development builds that have the expo-updates package installed include an Extensions tab where you can select an update:

Alternatively, you can construct a specific URL to open your EAS Update. The URL will look like this:


# Example

Let's break down the parts of this URL:

  • exp+: The beginning of the URL.
  • form-duo: This is the project slug found in app.json/app.config.js.
  • ://expo-development-client/: necessary for the deep link to work with the expo-dev-client library.
  • ?url=: Defines a url query parameter.
  • This is the updates URL, which is inside the project's app config (app.json/app.config.js) under updates.url.
  • ?channel-name=: Defines a channel query parameter.
  • preview: The name of the channel to request.
  1. Once we've constructed the URL, we can either copy/paste it directly into the expo-dev-client's launcher screen. Alternatively, we could create a QR code of the URL, then scan it. Scanning this URL should open up the development build to the specified channel.

If you'd like to see a working example, check out this demo repo.