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Hubert, Frontend Developer

By Hubert

November 20, 2023

Exploring the Exciting New Features of Expo SDK 49: Integrated Network Debugging, Expo Router v2, and More

Expo, the popular platform for building cross-platform mobile applications, has recently unveiled its latest update, Expo SDK 49. Packed with exciting features and improvements, SDK 49 offers a range of powerful tools to enhance your app development experience. This article explores the key highlights of Expo SDK 49, from integrated network debugging and React Devtools to the revamped Expo Router v2.0.

Unlocking Advanced Debugging in Expo SDK 49: Network Insights and VSCode Extension

  • Integrated network debugging

Expo SDK 49 introduces new possibilities for debugging. With integrated network debugging you can now gain deeper insights into network requests when your app runs in expo-dev-client or Expo Go. The updated JS debugger in Expo SDK 49 includes support for network requests, enabling you to examine network traffic and diagnose any issues more effectively.

Exploring the Exciting New Features of Expo SDK 49 Integrated Network Debugging, Expo Router v2_2.png
  • VSCode Extension - Expo Tools

Additionally, Expo SDK 49 brings a seamless debugging experience within Visual Studio Code through the Expo Tools Extension. This extension allows you to debug Expo apps directly from VS Code, enhancing your productivity and providing a familiar environment for debugging and code analysis. By leveraging these new debugging features, you can identify and resolve issues more efficiently, leading to smoother app development and improved user experiences.

Expo Router v2: Revolutionizing React Native Navigation

Expo Router has been a game changer since its launch at the beginning of this year, transforming the way you implement navigation in your React Native apps. This major release introduces a range of exciting features and improvements that will significantly enhance your navigation experience. With Expo Router v2 you have the option to opt in for build-time static rendering on the web, boosting performance by generating static pages during the build process. The update also includes automatic generation of statically typed routes. Additionally, Expo Router v2 introduces async route loading, allowing for more efficient loading and rendering of routes, especially in larger applications with complex navigation structures.

Local Expo Modules

With Local Expo Modules you can now write native code directly in your app without the need to create a separate library or manage your app's native project. By using the

command in an SDK 49 project, you can easily set up and work with local modules. This streamlined approach eliminates the overhead of maintaining separate codebases and simplifies the development process. Whether you're building custom UI components, integrating native APIs or extending Expo's functionality, Local Expo Modules offer you greater flexibility and control over your app's native capabilities.

Env variables

In Expo SDK 49 managing environment variables becomes more convenient and efficient. Expo CLI now offers built-in support for environment variables in Metro. This new approach overcomes previous limitations, such as the need to clear Babel caches when updating variables, and it allows for better security options like exclude and include lists. To define environment variables, simply create a file named .env (or its variants like .env.local) in your project and use the EXPO_PUBLIC_ prefix for the variable names.

These variables will automatically be included in your app's JavaScript if they are utilized. This enhancement enables you to easily manage and customize environment-specific configurations within your Expo projects, making it more seamless to handle different deployment environments and settings. Access env variables simply by refferring to process.env

Other new features


Native Support for Apple Silicon: Expo Go for the iOS simulator now runs natively on Apple Silicon, offering better performance and compatibility. Developers can also experiment with running Expo Go directly on Apple Silicon Macs through the TestFlight build, although there may still be some UI issues being resolved. This update enhances the development experience for Apple Silicon users and ensures smooth compatibility with the latest hardware.


Expo CLI Improvements: Expo CLI has got enhancements in SDK 49. The requirement to add the -dev-client flag for development builds has been eliminated. Now if you have expo-dev-client installed in your project, npx expo start will target development builds by default. Additionally, the expo export:embed command has replaced @react-native-community/cli bundle in the "Bundle React Native code and images" build phase, allowing custom entry points and expanding flexibility in the build process.


Expo SDK 49 brings an update to the expo-blur module, which now includes support for Android devices. The expo-blur module allows you to apply blur effects to elements within your app's user interface. With this update, Android users can now enjoy the same captivating blur effects that were previously available only on iOS devices. It's important to note that while using the **expo-blur **module on Android can enhance the visual aesthetics of your app, it may have a performance impact, particularly on low-end devices. Therefore, it's recommended to test and optimize the usage of blur effects on different target devices to ensure a smooth and responsive user experience.

Exploring the Exciting New Features of Expo SDK 49 Integrated Network Debugging, Expo Router v2

Upgrading to Expo SDK 49: Seamless steps and exciting features

I encourage you to update your Expo SDK to the newest version as this is relatively easy and requires several steps. If you want to get detailed information about migration and other exciting features introduced in Expo SDK 49, such as EAS Insights, Metro being recommended for Web etc., I encourage you to head over to the official release announcement.


Elevating your app development experience with Expo SDK 49

In conclusion, Expo SDK 49 brings a wealth of new features and enhancements that further elevate the app development experience. From integrated network debugging and React devtools to the revamped Expo Router v2.0, each addition empowers developers to build better, more efficient and visually appealing applications. Furthermore, Expo SDK 49 simplifies environment variable management, offers improvements to Expo CLI and drops support for outdated SDK versions, ensuring developers stay up-to-date with the latest tools and technologies.

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Hubert, Frontend Developer

An MMA enthusiast and code ninja. He has a black belt in both coding and roundhouses. When he is not delivering top-notch software, he can be found at the gym, honing his skills and training for his next fight.

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