A splash screen, also known as a launch screen, is the first screen that a user sees when opening your app, and it stays visible while the app is loading. You can control when the splash screen disappears by using the AppLoading component or SplashScreen module.
Customize the splash screen for your app
The default splash screen is a blank white screen. This might work for you, if it does, you're in luck! If not, you're also in luck because it's quite easy to customize using app.json and the splash key. Let's walk through it.
Make a splash image
The iOS Human Interface Guidelines list the static launch image sizes. I'll go with 1242 pixels wide and 2436 pixels tall -- this is the width of the iPhone 8 Plus (the widest iPhone) and the height of the iPhone X (the tallest iPhone). Expo will resize the image for you depending on the size of the device, and we can specify the strategy used to resize the image with splash.resizeMode.
Android screen sizes vary greatly with the massive variety of devices on the market. One strategy to deal with this is to look at the most common resolutions and design around that - you can see some statistics on this published by Unity here. Given that we can resize and crop our splash image automatically, it looks like we can stick with our dimensions, as long as we don't depend on the splash image fitting the screen exactly. This is convenient because we can use one splash image for both iOS and Android - less for you to read in this guide and less work for you to do.
You can work off of this Sketch template if you like. I did, and I changed the background color to a faint yellow and put a Noodle emoji in the middle. It's worth noting that the splash image supports transparency, although we didn't use it here.
Export the image as a PNG and put it in your project directory. I'll assume it's in the assets directory and named splash.png.
Open your app.json and add the following inside of the "expo" field:
Now re-open the Expo client and open your app, and you should see your beautiful splash screen. There may be a delay before it shows up, see "Differences between environments" below for more information on that.
Note: It's required to close and re-open the Expo client app on iOS in order to see changes to the splash screen in the manifest. This is a known issue that we are working to resolve. On Android, you need to press the refresh button from the notification drawer.
If you set a background color other than white for your splash image, you may see white border around it. This is due to the splash.resizeMode property (which we will discuss shortly) and the default background color, which is #ffffff (white). Let's resolve this by setting the splash.backgroundColor to be the same as our splash image background color.
Any splash image that you provide will be resized to maintain its aspect ratio and to fit the resolution of the user's device. There are two strategies that can be used for resizing: contain (default) and cover. In both cases, the splash image is within the splash screen. These work the same as the React Native <Image> component's resizeMode style equivalents, as demonstrated in the following diagram.
Applying this to our noodles example, let's remove the backgroundColor and try it out:
Notice that in the last example, we stretched the image to fill the entire width, while maintaining the aspect ratio, and so the noodles emoji ended up being larger than it was when resizeMode was set to contain. If you are still unclear about the difference between contain and cover, this blog post describes precisely what they mean.
Customizing the configuration for iOS and Android
Any of the splash options can be configured on a per-platform basis by nesting the configuration under the android or ios keys within app.json (the same as how you would customize an icon for either platform). In addition to this, certain configuration options are only available on iOS or Android.
As long as AppLoading is the only component rendered in your application, your splash screen will remain visible. We recommend using AppLoading while caching assets or fetching any data from AsyncStorage to set the app up. However, if you want to control the moment of splash screen visibility change use SplashScreen.
Your app can be opened from the Expo client or in a standalone app, and it can be either published or in development. There are slighty differences in the splash screen behavior between these environments.
In the middle, we are in the Expo client and we are loading a published app. Notice that again the splash image does not appear immediately.
On the right, we are in a standalone app. Notice that the splash image appears immediately.
Splash screen API limitations on Android
Splash screen behaves in most cases exactly the same as in iOS case.
There is a slight difference when it comes down to standalone Android applications.
In this scenario extra attention should be paid to android.splash section configuration inside app.json.
Depending on the resizeMode you will get the following behavior:
contain - on Android, the splash screen API is unable to stretch/scale the splash image (see the native mode). As a result, the contain mode will initially display only the background color, and when the initial view hierarchy is mounted then splash.image will be displayed.
cover - this mode has the limitations as contain for the same reasons.
native - in this mode your app will be leveraging Android's ability to present a static bitmap while the application is starting up. Android (unlike iOS) does not support stretching the provided image, so the application will present the given image centered on the screen. By default splash.image would be used as the xxxdpi resource. It's up to you to provide graphics that meet your expectations and fit the screen dimension. To achieve this, use different resolutions for different device DPIs, from mdpi to xxxhdpi.
Ejected ExpoKit apps
If you run expo eject (choosing the ExpoKit option) on iOS and your app already uses the splash API, the resulting ExpoKit project will contain an Interface Builder launch screen file configured correctly for your app. After this, if you want to make changes to your app's splash screen, just edit the Interface Builder file directly.
For people who run expo eject without the splash API, we add isSplashScreenDisabled: YES in your EXShell plist (iOS). If you later decide to use a splash screen in your ejected iOS project, add an Interface Builder file called LaunchScreen to your Xcode project, and delete this key from the plist.
The following exists are known to us and will be resolved shortly.
iOS splash screen status bar is white in standalone apps but dark in Expo client. It should be dark in standalone apps by default too, and also it should be customizable.
Splash Screens on iOS standalone apps can sometimes encounter a caching issue where the previous image will flash before showing the new, intended image. When this occurs, we recommend you try power cycling your device and uninstalling and re-installing the application. However,the caching sometimes can persist for a day or two so be patient if the aforementioned steps were unable to resolve the issue.
Migrating from the loading API
The loading API is deprecated as of SDK 22 and has a strictly worse user experience, so we recommend you change over to splash as soon as you have time - the loading API will be removed in favor of splash in SDK 25.