React-navigation is the navigation library that comes to my mind when we talk about navigation in React Native.

I'm a big fan of this library and it's always the first solution I use to handle navigation in React Native. This is in part becausae it has an awesome and easy API and is very customizable.

I'm writing this article because version 5 just went from beta to stable. It comes with some feature changes and a new API design that provides a simple and different way to declare routes.

In this article, we are going to go through the new APIs and look at ways to use them in our applications.

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The way you install react-navigation has changed a little bet compared to previous versions (>4.x):

// > 4.x verions
yarn add react-navigation

Installing react-navigation 5 will look like this:

// yarn
yarn add @react-navigation/native
// npm
npm install @react-navigation/native

The latest versions of react-navigation use many third party library like react-native-gesture-handler for animation and handling transitions. So you always need to install those libraries.

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

Dynamic screens

The new API introduces dynamism in initializing routes. Previously it was done statically - basically, we had to define our Routes in a config file.

// @flow
import React from "react";

import { createAppContainer, createSwitchNavigator } from "react-navigation";
import { createStackNavigator } from "react-navigation-stack";

/** ---------Screens----------- */
// import LaunchScreen from "../Containers/LaunchScreen";
import HomeScreen from "../Containers/HomeScreen";

import ProfileScreen from "../Containers/ProfileScreen";
import LoginScreen from "../Containers/LoginScreen";

const StackNavigator = createStackNavigator(
    initialRouteName: "Home"
    Home: {
      screen: HomeScreen
     Login: {
      screen: LoginScreen,
      headerMode: "none",

      Profile: {
      screen: ProfileScreen


export default createAppContainer(StackNavigator);

The new API comes with dynamic components. and made the navigation to be more dynamic.
The new way to declare the Routes will be much like the following.

import React from "react"
import { SafeAreaView, StyleSheet, View, Text, StatusBar } from "react-native"

import { NavigationContainer } from "@react-navigation/native"
import { createStackNavigator } from "@react-navigation/stack"

const App: () => React$Node = () => {
  return (
      <StatusBar barStyle="dark-content" />
      <SafeAreaView style={styles.containerStyle}>
        <AppNavigation />
const Stack = createStackNavigator()
const AppNavigation = () => {
  return (
      <Stack.Navigator initialRouteName="home">
        <Stack.Screen name="home" component={HomeScreen} />
const HomeScreen = () => {
  return (
    <View style={styles.containerStyle}>
      <Text style={styles.title}>Home Screen</Text>


This new way is dynamic, simpler to use, and is kinda similar to react-router API.

Dynamic options

This has been the most requested feature by the community for a long time. I always had issues with the old method (static) and it was really hard to change the navigation behavior dynamically.

The old method => < 4.x

With older versions of react-navigation we had to define static options. And there was no way to change this dynamically.

  static navigationOptions = {
    title: "Sign In",
    header: null,
    mode: "modal",
    headerMode: "none"

The new method (version 5)

React-navigation comes with a dynamic method which is quite simple. We can set the options to any screen using just props.

const AppNavigation = ({}) => {
  let auth = {
    authenticated: true,
    user: {
      email: "",
      username: "John",
  let ProfileScreenTitle = auth.authenticated ? auth.user.username : "Profile"
  return (
      <Stack.Navigator initialRouteName="Home">
        <Stack.Screen name="Home" component={HomeScreen} />
            title: ProfileScreenTitle,
            headerTintColor: "#4aa3ba",
            headerStyle: {
              backgroundColor: darkModeOn ? "#000" : "#fff",
        <Stack.Screen name="About" component={AboutScreen} />


With dynamic options, I can change the title based on authentication. For example if the user is authenticated, I can set the screen title to be the user’s username, or I can change the backgroundColor for the header.

This is more useful especially if you are using dynamic themes or if you are willing to implement dark mode in your app.


This is my favorite feature so far, and it’s a time-saver. The new API introduced some custom hooks to perform certain actions.

In previous versions, for example, if I had to get the currentName of the active screen, I had to create some helpers to do that for me pretty much like the following.

export function getCurrentRouteName(): string | null {
  const tag = "[getCurrentRouteNameSync] "
  const navState = getStore().getState().nav
  const currentRoute = getActiveRouteState(navState)
  console.log(tag + " currentRoute > ", currentRoute)
  return currentRoute && currentRoute.routeName ? currentRoute.routeName : null

The hooks API helps me avoid all these things and makes it easier for me to access the Navigation API with one single line using a hook.

Now I can easily get the RouteName using useRoute Hook.

import { useRoute } from "@react-navigation/native"
const AboutScreen = ({ navigation }) => {
  const route = useRoute()
  return (
        justifyContent: "space-around",
        flex: 1,
        alignItems: "center",
      {/*    Display the RouteName here */}
      <Text style={styles.title}>{}</Text>

We can do the same thing with the useNavigationState Hook. It gives us access to the navigation state.

const navigationState = useNavigationState(state => state)
let index = navigationState.index
let routes = navigationState.routes.length

React-navigation offers other hooks as well, for example:

  • useFocuseEffect : a side effect hook that, when the screens are loaded, returns the focused screen
  • useLinking: handles deepLinking

I highly recommend that you check them out.

Wrapping Up

The new react-navigation API definitely moves from static to dynamic. It’s a great direction that will absolutely change the way we handle navigation in React Native. Dynamic routes were a major request by react-navigation users, and this new way will help us create a better user navigation experience.

You can find more content about React Native here

Thanks for reading

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