Best Practices for Using React Query Library in React Native Applications

Anton Ioffe - March 4th 2024 - 10 minutes read

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, harnessing the power of asynchronous data fetching and state management in React Native applications is more crucial than ever. This article delves into the intricate world of React Query and unveils a spectrum of best practices that not only streamline your application's data handling processes but also elevate the overall user experience. Through the journey from React Query fundamentals to advanced usage, you'll discover how to structure API calls using custom hooks, optimize local and server state synchronization, adeptly handle errors and loading states, and much more. Each section is peppered with pragmatic code examples and seasoned advice, designed to fortify your React Native projects against the challenges of modern web development. Prepare to embark on a comprehensive exploration that promises to leave you with invaluable insights and techniques, making your applications not just functionally robust but also a delight to develop and maintain.

React Query Fundamentals in React Native

React Query acts as a powerful data-fetching and caching solution for React Native, providing a streamlined approach to manage server state. Unlike traditional state management libraries which often blend client and server state, React Query distinctly manages server state to ensure efficient data synchronization and fetching operations. This results in improved application performance and user experience, by minimizing the amount of data transferred over the network and by efficiently managing caching and state updates.

Installing React Query in a React Native project is straightforward. Start by running npm install react-query or yarn add react-query in your project directory. This adds React Query to your project dependencies, making its hooks and utilities available for use in your React Native application. The simplicity of integrating React Query with existing projects makes it an attractive choice for developers looking to enhance their data-fetching capabilities without significant refactorings.

To fetch data using React Query, the useQuery hook is utilized. This hook requires a unique key to identify the query and an asynchronous function that fetches the data. The key enables React Query's caching mechanism, allowing the library to efficiently re-fetch data when needed and to provide instantaneous access to cached data. The asynchronous function, typically an API call, is where you define how the data is fetched. Using useQuery significantly reduces boilerplate code as it abstracts the handling of loading, error, and success states internally, allowing developers to focus on the core logic of their applications.

For operations that modify server data, such as create, update, and delete operations, React Query provides the useMutation hook. This hook is designed to perform side effects and offers a straightforward way to handle mutations with optimistic updates, rollback mechanisms on failure, and revalidation of queries to ensure local data is synchronized with the server. This optimizes user experience by providing immediate feedback from operations and assures data consistency across the application.

Through useQuery and useMutation, React Query brings a declarative approach to data-fetching and synchronization in React Native applications. It abstracts the complexities of managing server state, caching, and data synchronization, allowing developers to focus more on building feature-rich applications. Understanding these fundamentals lays the foundation for leveraging React Query to its full potential, driving performance and efficiency in data management strategies for React Native applications.

Structuring API Calls Using Custom Hooks

By isolating API calls within custom hooks using React Query, developers can achieve a high degree of modularity and reusability in their React Native applications. This approach not only improves the overall code quality but also enhances maintainability by separating the concerns of data fetching and UI rendering. Custom hooks act as an encapsulated layer where all the logic related to API calls - whether they are queries for fetching data or mutations for updating it - is housed. This abstraction allows for a clean and organized way of managing server communications, making the code easier to navigate and scale.

The use of custom hooks for structuring API calls encourages a DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) principle. Instead of having duplicate code for similar API requests scattered throughout the application, a single hook can be created and reused wherever needed. For example, consider a scenario where multiple components require access to user information. By creating a useFetchUser hook that encapsulates the useQuery hook from React Query, this common functionality can be centralized. This not only saves development time but also reduces the chances of bugs and inconsistencies.

// useFetchUser.js
import { useQuery } from 'react-query';
import axios from 'axios';

const fetchUser = async (userId) => {
    const { data } = await axios.get(`/api/users/${userId}`);
    return data;

export const useFetchUser = (userId) => {
    return useQuery(['user', userId], () => fetchUser(userId));

This code snippet demonstrates how a custom hook can abstract away the complexities of fetching user data. Any component that needs this data can simply call useFetchUser() with the appropriate userId. This encourages code reusability and separation of concerns by keeping the API call logic separate from the component logic. The ['user', userId] serves as a unique key for caching and retrieval, which is another powerful feature provided by React Query.

Similarly, for mutations, encapsulating the logic within custom hooks simplifies the process of updating server state. Consider a useUpdateUser hook that wraps the useMutation hook. It abstracts away the details of sending update requests to the server, thus promoting code reusability and making the API call's intent more explicit.

// useUpdateUser.js
import { useMutation } from 'react-query';
import axios from 'axios';

const updateUser = async (userId, userDetails) => {
    return axios.patch(`/api/users/${userId}`, userDetails);

export const useUpdateUser = () => {
    return useMutation(updateUser);

Here, any component that needs to update user details can leverage the useUpdateUser hook, passing the necessary parameters without worrying about the underlying implementation of the API call. This approach improves code readability and makes the application easier to test, as each hook can be tested in isolation.

Adopting a structure where API calls are encapsulated within custom hooks offers numerous benefits for large-scale React Native projects. It leads to cleaner, more maintainable code, and simplifies the process of debugging and adding new features. With this pattern, developers can focus more on building out the UI and less on the intricacies of API communication, resulting in a faster, more efficient development process.

Optimizing Local and Server State Synchronization

Efficient synchronization between local and server state is pivotal in ensuring smooth user experiences, especially in fluctuating network conditions or when offline. React Query's background fetching capability is a cornerstone of this process. Through background fetching, applications can pre-fetch data, optimizing the app's perceived responsiveness. This allows previously fetched data to update in the background, ensuring the UI can display the most current data without requiring user interaction for refreshing. React Query's automatic retries further bolster this by gracefully handling temporary network issues, retrying failed requests without manual intervention.

Optimistic updates are another significant feature, enhancing UI responsiveness by immediately reflecting changes in the UI assumed to be successful, without waiting for server confirmation. This is particularly useful for improving user experience during interactions that modify server state, like posting comments or changing settings. Implementing optimistic updates requires predicting the likely outcome of mutations and then rolling back if the assumption proves incorrect. This strategy reduces waiting time for server responses, but developers must handle the complexity of potential rollbacks effectively.

Cache invalidation strategies play a crucial role in maintaining data consistency between the server and local state. React Query provides tools for invalidating outdated or stale query data, which can then trigger automatic refetching to synchronize with the latest server state. Strategically invalidating caches after mutations ensures users always have access to the most up-to-date data without manually refreshing or polling the server, further enhancing the user experience.

To implement these features in a React Native app, developers can leverage React Query's hooks. For example, using useMutation for making changes to the server state, while immediately reflecting these updates locally through optimistic updates, and utilizing useQuery for fetching and caching server state. Coupling these with React Query's automatic background refetching and cache invalidation mechanisms ensures that the UI remains up-to-date and responsive. Here's a simplistic code snippet demonstrating optimistic update usage in a React Native app:

import { useMutation, useQueryClient } from 'react-query';

function updateTodo(todoId, todo) {
  // API call to update the todo item

const TodoItem = ({ todoId, todo }) => {
  const queryClient = useQueryClient();
  const { mutate } = useMutation(updateTodo, {
    onMutate: async newTodo => {
      await queryClient.cancelQueries('todos');
      const previousTodos = queryClient.getQueryData('todos');
      queryClient.setQueryData('todos', old => => === todoId ? {...todo, ...newTodo} : todo));
      return { previousTodos };
    onError: (err, newTodo, context) => {
      queryClient.setQueryData('todos', context.previousTodos);
    onSettled: () => {

  const saveTodo = () => {
    mutate({ id: todoId, ...todo });

  return (
    <TouchableOpacity onPress={saveTodo}>
      <Text>Save Todo</Text>

In summary, leveraging React Query's capabilities for efficient local and server state synchronization—including background fetching, optimistic updates, and effective cache invalidation—can significantly enhance user experiences in React Native applications. By anticipating and handling states of network volatility and employing automatic data synchronization strategies, developers can create seamlessly interactive and responsive applications.

Error Handling and Loading States in Asynchronous Operations

Error handling and managing loading states effectively are crucial elements in improving the overall user experience in a React Native app. When leveraging React Query, handling these asynchronous edge cases becomes more streamlined and cohesive. For instance, React Query's hooks such as useQuery and useMutation provide out-of-the-box support for loading states and error handling. These hooks expose states like isFetching and error, which can be utilized to inform the user about the current status of data fetching operations or to gracefully display error messages.

In practice, when initiating a data fetch using React Query, you may want to display a loading indicator to inform users that data is on its way. Utilizing the isFetching state from the useQuery hook allows developers to conditionally render loader components with minimal effort. This pattern ensures that users are not left staring at a blank screen, wondering if the app is functioning correctly. For example:

const { data, error, isFetching } = useQuery('todos', fetchTodos);
if (isFetching) return <LoadingIndicator />;
if (error) return <Text>Error: {error.message}</Text>;
return <Todos todos={data} />;

This simple yet effective approach enhances the responsiveness of the app by providing immediate feedback to the user during data fetching operations.

Handling API errors gracefully is another aspect where React Query shines. The error state returned by useQuery and useMutation can be deconstructed to display user-friendly error messages or perform specific actions based on the type of error encountered. It is a good practice to anticipate potential errors and design the UI in such a way that users can understand what went wrong and how they might resolve it. For instance, offering the option to retry a failed operation could significantly improve the user experience.

Providing feedback to users doesn't stop at loading indicators and error messages. React Query's isFetching state, when combined with optimistic updates or background data refetching, can also help in creating a seamless experience where data on the screen appears up-to-date without noticeable loading delays. Implementing these patterns effectively requires understanding the nuances of useQuery and useMutation hooks, especially how they manage background fetching and mutations.

In conclusion, React Query not only simplifies state management in React Native applications but also provides powerful tools to handle loading states and errors more effectively. By implementing these techniques, developers can build applications that are not only more robust and error-resistant but also offer a smoother, more engaging user experience. Thought-provoking question: How might we leverage React Query's capabilities further to reduce the cognitive load on users during data-intensive operations?

Advanced Usage and Best Practices

Understanding and implementing pagination and infinite query functionalities in your React Native application can lead to significantly improved user experiences, especially when dealing with large datasets. React Query offers robust solutions for these scenarios through useInfiniteQuery and usePaginatedQuery hooks, respectively. Pagination helps in loading data in chunks based on a predefined limit, thus reducing the initial load time and memory usage. On the other hand, infinite queries allow users to load additional data seamlessly as they scroll, which is ideal for social media feeds or news articles. Both techniques require careful management of query keys and understanding the nuances of caching and refetching strategies to ensure performance is not adversely affected.

Integrating React Query with TypeScript adds a layer of type safety to API calls, making your application more robust and easier to debug. Defining types for the expected responses and parameters of your queries and mutations can catch potential errors at compile time rather than runtime. Additionally, leveraging TypeScript with React Query enhances the developer experience by providing auto-completion and immediate feedback directly in the editor, leading to a more efficient development process.

Performance optimization is a critical consideration in any application, and React Query provides several mechanisms to fine-tune your data fetching strategies. Adjusting the stale time and cache time settings allows you to control how often React Query refetches data and how long it keeps data in cache, respectively. Thoughtful use of these settings, based on the nature of your data and user behavior, can drastically reduce unnecessary network requests and improve the responsiveness of your app. Furthermore, selectively enabling or disabling background fetching based on the connectivity status or app state can lead to efficient resource usage and a smoother user experience.

Best practices for structuring queries and mutations with React Query involve organizing and naming your query keys in a consistent manner. This not only aids in readability and maintenance but also leverages React Query's caching mechanisms more effectively. For mutations, employing optimistic updates can enhance the perceived speed of your application by immediately reflecting the changes in the UI while the mutation request is being processed. However, it’s crucial to implement error handling strategies for rolling back these optimistic changes in case of failures.

As your React Native application scales, maintaining and optimizing your implementation of React Query becomes increasingly important. Regularly revisiting your query and cache management strategies to ensure they align with the evolving data patterns and user interactions can help sustain app performance over time. Techniques like query prefetching, where you anticipate and fetch data before it's needed, can further enhance the user experience by reducing wait times. Cache invalidation strategies also play a crucial role in ensuring users see the most up-to-date information without making unnecessary requests, thereby balancing efficiency with accuracy.


This article explores the best practices for using the React Query library in React Native applications. It covers the fundamentals of React Query in React Native, such as fetching data using the useQuery hook and handling server state with the useMutation hook. The article also discusses structuring API calls using custom hooks, optimizing local and server state synchronization, and handling errors and loading states. Key takeaways include the benefits of using React Query for data management, the importance of encapsulating API calls within custom hooks, and the features of React Query that enhance user experience. The article concludes with a thought-provoking question asking readers how they can leverage React Query to reduce the cognitive load on users during data-intensive operations.

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