Navigating Between Screens

Mobile apps are rarely made up of a single screen. Managing the presentation of, and transition between, multiple screens is typically handled by what is known as a navigator.

This guide covers the various navigation components available in React Native. If you are getting started with navigation, you will probably want to use React Navigation. React Navigation provides a straightforward navigation solution, with the ability to present common stack navigation and tabbed navigation patterns on both Android and iOS.

If you'd like to achieve a native look and feel on both Android and iOS, or you're integrating React Native into an app that already manages navigation natively, the following library provides native navigation on both platforms: react-native-navigation.

React Navigation

The community solution to navigation is a standalone library that allows developers to set up the screens of an app with a few lines of code.

Installation and setup

First, you need to install them in your project:

npm install @react-navigation/native @react-navigation/stack

Next, install the required peer dependencies. You need to run different commands depending on whether your project is an Expo managed project or a bare React Native project.

  • If you have an Expo managed project, install the dependencies with expo:

    expo install react-native-reanimated react-native-gesture-handler react-native-screens react-native-safe-area-context @react-native-community/masked-view
  • If you have a bare React Native project, install the dependencies with npm:

    npm install react-native-reanimated react-native-gesture-handler react-native-screens react-native-safe-area-context @react-native-community/masked-view

    For iOS with bare React Native project, make sure you have Cocoapods installed. Then install the pods to complete the installation:

    cd ios
    pod install
    cd ..

Note: You might get warnings related to peer dependencies after installation. They are usually caused by incorrect version ranges specified in some packages. You can safely ignore most warnings as long as your app builds.

To finalize installation of react-native-gesture-handler, add the following at the top (make sure it's at the top and there's nothing else before it) of your entry file, such as index.js or App.js:

import 'react-native-gesture-handler';

Now, you need to wrap the whole app in NavigationContainer. Usually you'd do this in your entry file, such as index.js or App.js:

import 'react-native-gesture-handler';
import * as React from 'react';
import { NavigationContainer } from '@react-navigation/native';
const App = () => {
return (
<NavigationContainer>
{/* Rest of your app code */}
</NavigationContainer>
);
};
export default App;

Now you are ready to build and run your app on the device/simulator.

Usage

Now you can create an app with a home screen and a profile screen:

import * as React from 'react';
import { NavigationContainer } from '@react-navigation/native';
import { createStackNavigator } from '@react-navigation/stack';
const Stack = createStackNavigator();
const MyStack = () => {
return (
<NavigationContainer>
<Stack.Navigator>
<Stack.Screen
name="Home"
component={HomeScreen}
options={{ title: 'Welcome' }}
/>
<Stack.Screen name="Profile" component={ProfileScreen} />
</Stack.Navigator>
</NavigationContainer>
);
};

In this example, there are 2 screens (Home and Profile) defined using the Stack.Screen component. Similarly, you can define as many screens as you like.

You can set options such as the screen title for each screen in the options prop of Stack.Screen.

Each screen takes a component prop that is a React component. Those components receive a prop called navigation which has various methods to link to other screens. For example, you can use navigation.navigate to go to the Profile screen:

const HomeScreen = ({ navigation }) => {
return (
<Button
title="Go to Jane's profile"
onPress={() =>
navigation.navigate('Profile', { name: 'Jane' })
}
/>
);
};
const ProfileScreen = ({ navigation, route }) => {
return <Text>This is {route.params.name}'s profile</Text>;
};

The views in the stack navigator use native components and the Animated library to deliver 60fps animations that are run on the native thread. Plus, the animations and gestures can be customized.

React Navigation also has packages for different kind of navigators such as tabs and drawer. You can use them to implement various patterns in your app.

For a complete intro to React Navigation, follow the React Navigation Getting Started Guide.