Upgrading an Expo App

04 May 2020

This is how I upgrade my Expo apps. My apps use Expo’s Managed workflow.

I create a commit after each step, so that I can easily undo or debug, if necessary, and I generally test running the app after each stop to make sure it still work. Upgraded packages sometimes require minor changes to the code.

1. Upgrade Expo CLI

The Expo CLI will do the most of the work upgrading the app, so start out by making sure I have the latest version of that command line tool.

yarn upgrade expo-cli

2. Upgrade Expo and Known Packages

Expo CLI can upgrade Expo and all packages that it knows about, respecting Expo’s specific version requirements. expo upgrade updates the version numbers in package.json and installs them afterwards to keep the yarn.lock in sync.

yarn expo upgrade

Make a note of the packages there weren’t upgraded by Expo. Here’s an example of the list of unknown packages.

The following packages were not updated. You should check the READMEs for those repositories
to determine what version is compatible with your new set of packages:
@react-navigation/native, @react-navigation/stack, prop-types, tslib, @babel/core,
@types/expo__vector-icons, @typescript-eslint/eslint-plugin, @typescript-eslint/parser,
eslint, eslint-config-prettier, eslint-plugin-prettier, eslint-plugin-react, expo-cli,
prettier, sharp-cli

3. Upgrade the Rest of the Packages

Upgrade the rest of the npm packages.

yarn upgrade

4. Major Upgrades

yarn upgrade doesn’t upgrade packages to new major versions. Verify if there is anything not up to date, and if so, consider upgrading. Upgrading major versions might require a lot of changes to the source code.

# Look out of major updates to unknown packages, that is red
# lines where the package is in the list found in step 1.
yarn outdated

5. Sync Versions from yarn.lock

I like being able to see the exact version of the packages that I have installed. syntcyarnlock can synchronize the versions from yarn.lock to package.json. Reinstall afterwords to write the updated version numbers back to yarn.lock, keeping the the file in sync with package.json.

npx syncyarnlock --keepPrefix --keepGit --keepLink --save
# Revert the change to the "react-native" line in package.json before installing.
yarn install

syncyarnlock should not change the version of react-native away from Expo’s specific one, but there seems to be a bug. Revert that line in package.json if is was modified. It should look like this:

  // ...
  "dependencies": {
    // ...
    "react-native": "https://github.com/expo/react-native/archive/sdk-37.0.1.tar.gz",
    // ...
  // ...

6. Align @types Packages

Definitely Typed packages don’t always follow the versioning of the main packages, so there are a few @types packages where this simply isn’t possible. When not, I grab the lastet @types package available.

Align the @types/ packages with the ones installed. Example: If react is on version 16.9.0 and @types/react is on version 16.8.something, I manually update @types/react to version ~16.9.0. The tilde will make sure to grab the latest 16.9.* version. Search for react-native@ in yarn.lock to finde the installed version of React Native.

This will require yet another around of installing, upgrading and sync’ing version numbers.

# Update @types packages manually.
yarn install
npx syncyarnlock --keepPrefix --keepGit --keepLink --save
# Revert the change to the "react-native" line in package.json before installing.
yarn install && yarn upgrade