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Configuration with app.json/app.config.js

Learn about what is app config and how you can dynamically use it by customizing it.


The app config (app.json, app.config.js, app.config.ts) is used for configuring how a project loads in Expo Go, Expo Prebuild generation, and the OTA update manifest. You can think of this as an index.html but for React Native apps.

It must be located at the root of your project, next to the package.json. Here is a bare-minimum example:

{
  "expo": {
    "name": "My app",
    "slug": "my-app"
  }
}

Most configuration from the app config is accessible at runtime from the JavaScript code using Constants.expoConfig. Sensitive information such as secret keys are removed.

Properties

The app config configures many things such as app name, icon, splash screen, deep linking scheme, API keys to use for some services and so on. For a complete list of available properties, see app.json/app.config.js reference.

Do you use Visual Studio Code? If so, we recommend that you install the vscode-expo extension to get auto-completion of properties in app.json files.

Extending configuration

Library authors can extend the app config by using Expo Config plugins.

Config plugins are mostly used to configure the npx expo prebuild command.

Dynamic configuration

For more customization, you can use the JavaScript or TypeScript (app.config.js, or app.config.ts). These configs have the following properties:

  • Comments, variables, and single quotes.
  • Importing/requiring other JavaScript files. Using import/export syntax in external files is not supported. All imported files must be transpiled to support your current version of Node.js.
  • TypeScript support with nullish coalescing and optional chaining.
  • Updated whenever Metro bundler reloads.
  • Provide environment information to your app.
  • Does not support Promises.

For example, you can export an object to define your custom config:

app.config.js
const myValue = 'My App';

module.exports = {
  name: myValue,
  version: process.env.MY_CUSTOM_PROJECT_VERSION || '1.0.0',
  // All values in extra will be passed to your app.
  extra: {
    fact: 'kittens are cool',
  },
};

The "extra" key allows passing arbitrary configuration data to your app. The value of this key is accessed using expo-constants:

App.js
import Constants from 'expo-constants';

Constants.expoConfig.extra.fact === 'kittens are cool';

You can access and modify incoming config values by exporting a function that returns an object. This is useful if your project also has an app.json. By default, Expo CLI will read the app.json first and send the normalized results to the app.config.js.

For example, your app.json could look like this:

app.json
{
  "expo": {
    "name": "My App"
  }
}

And in your app.config.js, you are provided with that configuration in the arguments to the exported function:

app.config.js
module.exports = ({ config }) => {
  console.log(config.name); // prints 'My App'
  return {
    ...config,
  };
};

Switching configuration based on the environment

It's common to have some different configuration in development, staging, and production environments, or to swap out configuration entirely in order to white label an app. To accomplish this, you can use app.config.js along with environment variables.

app.config.js
module.exports = () => {
  if (process.env.MY_ENVIRONMENT === 'production') {
    return {
      /* your production config */
    };
  } else {
    return {
      /* your development config */
    };
  }
};

To use this configuration with Expo CLI commands, set the environment variable either for specific commands or in your shell profile. To set environment variables for specific commands, prefix the command with the variables and values as shown in the example:

Terminal
MY_ENVIRONMENT=production eas update

This is not anything unique to Expo CLI. On Windows you can approximate the above command with:

Terminal
npx cross-env MY_ENVIRONMENT=production eas update

Or you can use any other mechanism that you are comfortable with for environment variables.

Using TypeScript for configuration: app.config.ts instead of app.config.js

You can use autocomplete and doc-blocks with an Expo config in TypeScript. Create an app.config.ts with the following contents:

app.config.ts
import { ExpoConfig, ConfigContext } from 'expo/config';

export default ({ config }: ConfigContext): ExpoConfig => ({
  ...config,
  slug: 'my-app',
  name: 'My App',
});

If you want to import other TypeScript files or customize the language features, we recommend using ts-node as described in Using TypeScript.

Configuration Resolution Rules

There are two different types of configs: static (app.config.json, app.json), and dynamic (app.config.js, app.config.ts). Static configs can be automatically updated with CLI tools, whereas dynamic configs must be manually updated by the developer.

  1. The static config is read if app.config.json exists (falls back to app.json). If no static config exists, then default values are inferred from the package.json and your dependencies.
  2. The dynamic config is read if either app.config.ts or app.config.js exist. If both exist, then the TypeScript config is used.
  3. If the dynamic config returns a function, then the static config is passed to the function with ({ config }) => ({}). This function can then mutate the static config values. Think of this like middleware for the static config.
  4. The return value from the dynamic config is used as the final config. It cannot have any promises.
  5. All functions in the config are evaluated and serialized before any tool in the Expo ecosystem uses it. The config must be a JSON manifest when it is hosted.