Version: 1.x

Header buttons

Now that we know how to customize the look of our headers, let's make them sentient! Actually perhaps that's ambitious, let's just make them able to respond to our touches in very well defined ways.

Adding a button to the header

The most common way to interact with a header is by tapping on a button either to the left or the right of the title. Let's add a button to the right side of the header (one of the most difficult places to touch on your entire screen, depending on finger and phone size, but also a normal place to put buttons).

class HomeScreen extends React.Component {
static navigationOptions = {
headerTitle: <LogoTitle />,
headerRight: (
<Button
onPress={() => alert('This is a button!')}
title="Info"
color="#fff"
/>
),
};
}
โ†’ Run this code

The binding of this in navigationOptions is not the HomeScreen instance, so you can't call setState or any instance methods on it. This is pretty important because it's extremely common to want the buttons in your header to interact with the screen that the header belongs to. So, we will look how to do this next.

There is a community-developed package for rendering buttons in the header with the correct styling available react-navigation-header-buttons.

Header interaction with its screen component

The most commonly used pattern for giving a header button access to a function on the component instance is to use params. We'll demonstrate this with a classic example, the counter.

class HomeScreen extends React.Component {
static navigationOptions = ({ navigation }) => {
const params = navigation.state.params || {};
return {
headerTitle: <LogoTitle />,
headerRight: (
<Button onPress={params.increaseCount} title="+1" color="#fff" />
),
};
};
componentWillMount() {
this.props.navigation.setParams({ increaseCount: this._increaseCount });
}
state = {
count: 0,
};
_increaseCount = () => {
this.setState({ count: this.state.count + 1 });
};
/* later in the render function we display the count */
}
โ†’ Run this code

React Navigation doesn't guarantee that your screen component will begin mounting before the header for the screen is rendered, and because the increaseCount param is set in componentWillMount, we may not have it available to us in navigationOptions, which is why we include the || {} when grabbing the params (there may not be any). We know this is an awkward API and we do plan on improving it!

As an alternative to setParams, you could use a state management library (such as Redux or MobX) and communicate between the header and the screen in the same way you would with two distinct components.

Customizing the back button

StackNavigator provides the platform-specific defaults for the back button. On iOS this includes a label next to the button, which shows the title of the previous screen when the title fits in the available space, otherwise it says "Back".

You can change the label behavior with headerBackTitle and headerTruncatedBackTitle (read more).

To customize the back button image, you can use headerBackImage.

Overriding the back button

The back button will be rendered automatically in a StackNavigator whenever it is possible for the user to go back from their current screen โ€” in other words, the back button will be rendered whenever there is more than one screen in the stack.

Generally, this is what you want. But it's possible that in some circumstances that you want to customize the back button more than you can through the options mentioned above, in which case you can specify a headerLeft, just as we did with headerRight, and completely override the back button.

Summary

  • You can set buttons in the header through the headerLeft and headerRight properties in navigationOptions.
  • The back button is fully customizable with headerLeft, but if you just want to change the title or image, there are other navigationOptions for that โ€” headerBackTitle, headerTruncatedBackTitle, and headerBackImage.
  • Full source of what we have built so far.