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How to Build from Source

You will need to build React Native from source if you want to work on a new feature/bug fix, try out the latest features which are not released yet, or maintain your own fork with patches that cannot be merged to the core.



To build from source, you need to have the Android SDK installed. If you followed the Setting up the development environment guide, you should already be set up.

There is no need to install other tools like specific version of NDK or CMake as the Android SDK will automatically download whatever is needed for the build from source.

Point your project to a nightly

To use the latest fixes and features of React Native, you can update your project to use a nightly version of React Native with:

yarn add react-native@nightly

This will update your project to use a nightly version of React Native that gets released every night with the latest changes.

Update your project to build from source

Both with stable releases and nightlies, you will be consuming precompiled artifacts. If instead you want to switch to building from source, so you can test your changes to the framework directly, you will have to edit the android/settings.gradle file as follows:

  // ...
include ':app'

+ includeBuild('../node_modules/react-native') {
+ dependencySubstitution {
+ substitute(module("com.facebook.react:react-android")).using(project(":packages:react-native:ReactAndroid"))
+ substitute(module("com.facebook.react:react-native")).using(project(":packages:react-native:ReactAndroid"))
+ substitute(module("com.facebook.react:hermes-android")).using(project(":packages:react-native:ReactAndroid:hermes-engine"))
+ substitute(module("com.facebook.react:hermes-engine")).using(project(":packages:react-native:ReactAndroid:hermes-engine"))
+ }
+ }

Additional notes

Building from source can take a long time, especially for the first build, as it needs to download ~200 MB of artifacts and compile the native code.

Every time you update the react-native version from your repo, the build directory may get deleted, and all the files are re-downloaded. To avoid this, you might want to change your build directory path by editing the ~/.gradle/init.gradle file:

gradle.projectsLoaded {
rootProject.allprojects {
buildDir = "/path/to/build/directory/${}/${}"


The recommended approach to working with React Native is to always update to the latest version. The support we provide for older versions is described in our support policy.

The build from source approach should be used to end-to-end test a fix before submitting a pull request to React Native, and we're not encouraging its usages in the long run. Especially forking React Native or switching your setup to always use a build from source, will result in projects that are harder to update and generally a worse developer experience.