Handling notification and device events.

Notification & device events are an important concept as they allow applications to react to events (e.g. a user pressing a displayed notification and changing the in-app screen).

Listening for events

Using Notifee it is possible to display notifications in various situations, for example via Headless JS tasks, directly from your application (e.g. Button press) or via 3rd party services such as FCM.

This flexibility opens up a key challenge for React Native developers; handling events when the application is both active & killed. Notifee provides a simple API for handling both scenarios.

Foreground Events

An application is deemed in the "foreground" under the following situations:

  • The device is unlocked.
  • The application is running & is in view (foreground).

In any other situation a Background Event is used instead. If the user has opened your application and switched to another task (e.g. opened another app, pressed the "home" button) but not closed/quit your application, it is still classed as being in the background.

To handle foreground events, the useEffect hook can be used with the onForegroundEvent method:

import { useEffect } from 'react';
import notifee, { EventType } from '@notifee/react-native';

function App() {
  // Subscribe to events
  useEffect(() => {
    return notifee.onForegroundEvent(({ type, detail }) => {
      switch (type) {
        case EventType.DISMISSED:
          console.log('User dismissed notification', detail.notification);
        case EventType.PRESS:
          console.log('User pressed notification', detail.notification);
  }, []);

The foreground event handler runs inside of our React Native code, allowing you to update the application UI or perform asynchronous actions such as performing a HTTP request.

To learn about handling user interaction with events, view the Android Interaction documentation.


The onForegroundEvent method returns a function which can be used to unsubscribe from future events:

const unsubscribe = notifee.onForegroundEvent(...);

// Sometime later...

Background events

An application is deemed in the "background" under the following situations:

  • The device is locked.
  • The application is running & is in not in view (minimized).
  • The application is killed/quit.

The onBackgroundEvent method is used to register a callback handler which will be executed whenever a background event is sent. Executing the callback handler in the background requires device resources so it is important that any code is executed efficiently & quickly.

Background tasks run without React context, meaning you cannot update your application UI. You can however perform logic to update a remote database, update local device storage or even display/update a notification with Notifee! An example of a background event would be handling a "Mark as read" action by updating your database and cancelling the notification.

Only a single background event handler can be registered. To register your handler, the onBackgroundEvent method should be registered as early on in your project as possible (e.g. the index.js file):

// index.js
import { AppRegistry } from 'react-native';
import notifee, { EventType } from '@notifee/react-native';
import App from './App';

notifee.onBackgroundEvent(async ({ type, detail }) => {
  const { notification, pressAction } = detail;

  // Check if the user pressed the "Mark as read" action
  if (type === EventType.ACTION_PRESS && === 'mark-as-read') {
    // Update external API
    await fetch(`${}/read`, {
      method: 'POST',

    // Remove the notification
    await notifee.cancelNotification(;

// Register main application
AppRegistry.registerComponent('app', () => App);

The handler callback expects that once the task has completed a Promise is returned/resolved. The above example makes use of an async function which returns an implicit Promise once complete. If you are not using async, ensure your handler callback returns a promise once complete.

App open events

If user interaction on a notification has caused your application to open, you may want to obtain the notification which triggered the app to open (e.g. a specific chat message). Notifee exposes a getInitialNotification method on Android, which can be called early on in your React lifecycle to obtain the notification which opened the application.

It is recommended to always check if a notification has caused your app to open before displaying the main app content. Once consumed, the initial notification is removed.

For example, setup a "bootstrap" function inside of the root component of your application:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';
import notifee from '@notifee/react-native';

function App() {
  const [loading, setLoading] = useState(true);

  // Bootstrap sequence function
  async function bootstrap() {
    const initialNotification = await notifee.getInitialNotification();

    if (initialNotification) {
      console.log('Notification caused application to open', initialNotification.notification);
      console.log('Press action used to open the app', initialNotification.pressAction);

  useEffect(() => {
      .then(() => setLoading(false))
  }, []);

  if (loading) {
    return null;


If available, the initialNotification contains the notification & press action which triggered the app to open. Both can be combined to perform logic inside of your application which the user expects from their interaction, for example, opening a chat screen with a specific user who trigger the notification.

Once the initial notification has been consumed with a call to getInitialNotification, it is removed. If the app re-opens before the initial notification has been consumed (e.g. the user manual closing & reopening), it will not be available.

Copyright 2020 - 2021 © Invertase Limited

Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License and code samples are licensed under the Apache 2.0 License.

All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.