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Version: 20.x

Using Launch Arguments

In Detox, the app under test is launched via an explicit call to device.launchApp(). Through various means, Detox enables specifying a set of user-defined arguments (key-value pairs) to be passed on to the app when launched, so as to make them available inside the launched app itself at runtime (both on the native side, and - if applicable, on the JavaScript side).


If this is clear to you first hand, you can skip right to the section about arguments setup.

In particular, the common use case of using launch argument (although not distinctly), is for mocking external entities such as servers - replacing them with equivalent mock servers, sporting equivalent (yet fake) API-endpoints that run alongside the testing host (i.e. the one running Detox). These mock servers can typically be configured during the test, to return deterministic responses to network requests coming from the app.

Typically, the process of setting up such servers - especially in a parallel test-execution environment, involves three major steps (within the context of a test set-up):

  1. Allocating a port for a mock server, dynamically.
  2. Bringing up a mock server instance bound to that port (e.g. at localhost:1234).
  3. Launching the app with a predefined argument that holds the port, for example mockServerPort=1234. (It is assumed here that there’s designated mocked code inside the app that can read mockServerPort and rewire all connections to localhost:1234 instead of to the real production server).

In this context, launch argument are useful for implementing step #3.

Arguments Setup

User-defined launch arguments specification is very flexible, and can be defined on 4 levels:

1. Static ConfigurationAs a part of a static Detox configuration, using the launchArgs property.
This is can sufficient, for example, if you only require one mock server instance, and can use the same static port throughout the entire testing execution session.
2. Static via CLIAs arguments specified explicitly in the command-line execution of detox test, using --app-launch-args.
3.device.appLaunchArgsDynamically, using the device.appLaunchArgs API, which initially holds the static configuration, and then allows for the modification of it before applied through device.launchApp().
Mostly required in complex test environments, where the servers and ports are dynamic, and are determined via distinct software components (e.g. separate test kits).
4. device.launchApp() with launchArgsDynamically and explicitly, using on-site arguments specified in calls to device.launchApp() through the launchArgs parameter.
Ideal for fairly simple test environments, where the ports are dynamic but are in complete control of the user.

Important: Arguments specified in each level take precedence over equivalent underlying levels.


  1. In an environment where mockServerPort is statically pre-set to 1001 in Detox configuration, and then set to 1003 using device.appLaunchArgs inside a test, the app would eventually be launched with 1003 as its value, in calls to device.launchApp() in that test.
  2. (Scenario continues) In subsequent calls to device.launchApp() with this parameter: device.launchApp({ launchArgs: {mockServerPort: 1004} }), the app will be (re-)launched with 1004 as the value for mockServerPort.

In-App Arguments Access

Our official recommendation for getting the arguments inside the app is by integrating the react-native-launch-arguments project, which provides that seamlessly. For those who are interested, here are the underlying details:

  • On iOS, the specified launch arguments are passed as the process launch arguments and available through normal means, such as accesing [[NSProcessInfo processInfo] arguments].
  • On Android, the launch arguments are set as bundle-extra’s into the activity’s intent. They are therefore accessible on the native side via the current activity as: currentActivity.getIntent().getBundleExtra("launchArgs").