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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Setting Up React Native Permissions
3.
Manual Linking Steps for react-native-permissions (iOS, Android, Windows)
3.1.
For iOS (using CocoaPods)
3.2.
For Android
3.3.
For Windows
4.
Understanding the Permission Flow in React Native
4.1.
iOS Flow
4.2.
Windows Flow
4.3.
iOS Location Permissions
5.
Examples
5.1.
Requesting Camera Permission in React Native
5.2.
Accessing Location Data
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
What happens if a user denies a permission request?
6.2.
Can I request a permission again after it's been denied?
6.3.
How do I check if a permission has already been granted?
7.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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React Native Permissions

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Introduction

Mobile apps today need access to various functionalities of a device, like the camera, GPS, or contacts, to offer a richer user experience. This is where React Native Permissions come into play. It's a comprehensive library designed to manage permissions smoothly across iOS & Android platforms. 

React Native Permissions

This article will give you the information on setting up these permissions, understanding the permission flow, & implementing them with practical examples. 

Setting Up React Native Permissions

Getting started with React Native Permissions is straightforward. First, you need to have React Native installed in your project. If you haven't set up React Native yet, start by installing the React Native CLI with npm or Yarn:

npm install -g react-native-cli


# or

yarn global add react-native-cli


Once you have React Native ready, adding React Native Permissions to your project is as simple as running:

npm install react-native-permissions


# or

yarn add react-native-permissions


After installing the package, you might need to link it to your project. For most projects, automatic linking will work just fine:

react-native link react-native-permissions


For newer versions of React Native (0.60 and above), auto-linking is supported, so you won't need to run the linking command. However, you'll need to do a bit more setup for iOS and Android, which we'll cover in the following sections.

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Manual Linking Steps for react-native-permissions (iOS, Android, Windows)

In some projects, especially those using older versions of React Native or with specific custom configurations, you might need to manually link the react-native-permissions library. Here's how you can do it for different platforms:

For iOS (using CocoaPods)

  • Open your iOS project in Xcode.
     
  • Navigate to the ios folder of your React Native project.
     
  • Open the Podfile.
     
  • Add pod 'Permission-<PermissionName>', :path => "#{permissions_path}/<PermissionName>" for each permission you need. Replace <PermissionName> with the actual permission, like Location or Camera.
     
  • Run pod install from the terminal within the ios folder.

For Android

  • Open your Android project with Android Studio.
     
  • Navigate to android/app/src/main/java/[...]/MainApplication.java.
     
  • Add import com.reactnativecommunity.rnpermissions.RNPermissionsPackage; at the top.
     
  • In the same file, add new RNPermissionsPackage() to the list returned by the getPackages() method.
     
  • In android/app/src/main/AndroidManifest.xml, add the necessary permission uses, such as <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERA" />, within the <manifest> tag.

For Windows

React Native Windows support is less common, but if you're working on a project that needs to run on Windows, you'll follow a similar approach to Android & iOS, adjusting for the specifics of the Windows development environment.

Manual linking ensures that your React Native app can properly communicate with native modules, allowing for permission requests & checks to work seamlessly across different devices & operating systems.

Understanding the Permission Flow in React Native

When your app needs to use a feature like the camera or GPS, it must ask the user for permission. This process is what we call the "permission flow." It's straightforward: your app requests a permission, the system shows a prompt to the user, & the user decides whether to allow or deny it.

iOS Flow

On iOS, when you request a permission for the first time, the system automatically shows a dialog box to the user with your app's request message. This message is something you set in your app's Info.plist file, explaining why your app needs this permission. Once the user responds, their choice is saved & the system won't ask again for the same permission. If you need to check or request the permission again, you can use the react-native-permissions library to see the current status & ask again if necessary.

Here's an example using the react-native-permissions library to handle camera permissions:

import {check, request, PERMISSIONS, RESULTS} from 'react-native-permissions';
const checkAndRequestCameraPermission = async () => {
  const checkResult = await check(PERMISSIONS.IOS.CAMERA);

 if (checkResult === RESULTS.DENIED) {
    const requestResult = await request(PERMISSIONS.IOS.CAMERA);
    if (requestResult === RESULTS.GRANTED) {
      console.log('Camera permission granted');
      // You can now use the camera
    } else {
      console.log('Camera permission denied');
      // Handle the denied permission
    }
  } else if (checkResult === RESULTS.GRANTED) {
    console.log('Camera permission already granted');
    // You can use the camera
  } else {
    // Handle other cases such as blocked or unavailable
  }
};


This code first checks the current permission status for the camera. If the permission is DENIED, it requests permission. Depending on the user's response, your app can proceed accordingly.

Windows Flow

React Native primarily targets iOS and Android, and support for Windows is limited and requires additional community-driven modules. For a hypothetical scenario where you're handling permissions in a React Native Windows app, the approach would be similar conceptually but would be implemented differently due to the differences in the platforms and the lack of direct support from react-native-permissions.

In a Windows app, permissions are usually declared in the app manifest (Package.appxmanifest), and the system handles permission requests automatically when the app attempts to use a protected feature for the first time. However, you can check the permission status and request permissions using Windows-specific APIs, not directly through React Native.

Here's a conceptual example in C# for a UWP (Universal Windows Platform) app, as React Native Windows is based on UWP:

using Windows.Devices.Geolocation;
async void RequestLocationPermission()
{
    var accessStatus = await Geolocator.RequestAccessAsync();
    switch (accessStatus)
    {
        case GeolocationAccessStatus.Allowed:
            // Location permission granted
            break;
        case GeolocationAccessStatus.Denied:
            // Location permission denied
            break;
        case GeolocationAccessStatus.Unspecified:
            // Unspecified error
            break;
    }
}


This example demonstrates requesting location permissions in a UWP app. React Native Windows apps would follow a similar pattern but might require bridging native modules to React Native.

iOS Location Permissions

For iOS apps, managing location permissions is crucial if your app needs to track the user's location or perform actions based on their location. React Native makes it relatively easy to handle these permissions with the react-native-permissions library.

First, you need to specify why your app needs location access by adding entries to your Info.plist file. There are two main types of location permissions:

  • When in Use: Allows your app to access the user's location only when the app is being used.
     
  • Always: Gives your app permission to access the user's location at all times, even when the app is not in use.
     

Here's how you can request these permissions in your React Native app:

import {request, PERMISSIONS} from 'react-native-permissions';
const requestLocationPermission = async () => {
  const result = await request(
    PERMISSIONS.IOS.LOCATION_WHEN_IN_USE
  );
  console.log('Location permission status: ', result);
};


Replace PERMISSIONS.IOS.LOCATION_WHEN_IN_USE with PERMISSIONS.IOS.LOCATION_ALWAYS if you need constant access to the locationAfter calling this function, the system shows a dialog asking the user to allow or deny access to their location. Your app should be prepared to handle the user's decision appropriately, either by proceeding with the location-based feature or by providing alternative functionality if permission is denied.

Handling permissions responsibly & transparently helps maintain trust between your app & its users, ensuring a better user experience.

Examples

Now let's see some examples. Understanding how to implement permissions in React Native can be much clearer with real scenario examples. Here, we'll cover a couple of scenarios that are commonly faced by developers.

Requesting Camera Permission in React Native

A common feature in many apps is the ability to take photos. To do this, your app needs permission to access the device's camera. Here's a simple example of how you can request camera permission in a React Native app:

import {PermissionsAndroid, Platform} from 'react-native';
import {check, request, PERMISSIONS, RESULTS} from 'react-native-permissions';
const requestCameraPermission = async () => {
  if (Platform.OS === 'android') {
    try {
      const granted = await PermissionsAndroid.request(
        PermissionsAndroid.PERMISSIONS.CAMERA,
        {
          title: "Camera Permission",
          message: "This app needs access to your camera",
          buttonNeutral: "Ask Me Later",
          buttonNegative: "Cancel",
          buttonPositive: "OK"
        }
      );
      if (granted === PermissionsAndroid.RESULTS.GRANTED) {
        console.log("You can use the camera");
      } else {
        console.log("Camera permission denied");
      }
    } catch (err) {
      console.warn(err);
    }
  } else if (Platform.OS === 'ios') {
    const res = await request(PERMISSIONS.IOS.CAMERA);
    res === RESULTS.GRANTED ? console.log('Camera Permission Granted') : console.log('Camera Permission Denied');
  }
};


This function checks the platform the app is running on & requests camera permission accordingly. For Android, it uses the PermissionsAndroid API from React Native, and for iOS, it uses the react-native-permissions library.

Accessing Location Data

Another common feature is accessing the user's location, which also requires permission. Here's how you can request location permission:

import {PermissionsAndroid, Platform} from 'react-native';
import {check, request, PERMISSIONS, RESULTS} from 'react-native-permissions';
const requestLocationPermission = async () => {
  if (Platform.OS === 'android') {
    try {
      const granted = await PermissionsAndroid.request(
        PermissionsAndroid.PERMISSIONS.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION,
        {
          title: "Location Permission",
          message: "This app needs access to your location",
          buttonNeutral: "Ask Me Later",
          buttonNegative: "Cancel",
          buttonPositive: "OK"
        }
      );
      if (granted === PermissionsAndroid.RESULTS.GRANTED) {
        console.log("You can use the location");
      } else {
        console.log("Location permission denied");
      }
    } catch (err) {
      console.warn(err);
    }
  } else if (Platform.OS === 'ios') {
    const res = await request(PERMISSIONS.IOS.LOCATION_WHEN_IN_USE);
    res === RESULTS.GRANTED ? console.log('Location Permission Granted') : console.log('Location Permission Denied');
  }
};


These examples illustrate how to request permissions for camera and location access. Adjusting your app's functionality based on the user's permission choice is important for creating a user-friendly experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if a user denies a permission request?

If a user denies a permission request, your app will not have access to the corresponding feature or data. It's important to handle this gracefully, either by providing alternative functionality or by informing the user why the permission is necessary.

Can I request a permission again after it's been denied?

Yes, you can request a permission again, but it's crucial to be mindful of the user's experience. Continuously prompting for permission can be intrusive. It's often better to explain the benefits of granting the permission & let the user initiate the request again.

How do I check if a permission has already been granted?

You can check the current status of a permission using the check function from the react-native-permissions library. This function returns the current status, allowing you to determine whether you need to request the permission or proceed with your app's functionality.

Conclusion

In this article, we've learned about managing permissions in React Native apps. Starting with setting up the react-native-permissions library, we've covered how to manually link it for iOS, Android, & Windows, & looked into the permission flow for these platforms. We also looked at practical examples for requesting camera & location permissions.

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