react native: how to debug android in release mode

react native: how to debug android in release mode
Photo by Luke Miller / Unsplash

Debugging React Native apps in release mode for Android can be challenging because release builds are optimized and obfuscated, making it difficult to inspect code and debug in real-time. However, there are several techniques you can use to debug your app effectively:

1. Debugging with Chrome DevTools

You can use Chrome DevTools to debug your React Native app running in release mode on an Android device or emulator:

  1. Open your app on the device or emulator.
  2. Shake the device or press Ctrl + M (Cmd + M on macOS) to open the developer menu.
  3. Select "Debug JS Remotely." This will open Chrome with DevTools.
  4. Open the DevTools console to view logs and errors.
  5. You can also use the "Sources" tab to inspect and debug your JavaScript code.

2. Logging and Remote Debugging

You can use console.log() statements in your code to log information, warnings, and errors. These logs will appear in the console of your development machine when your device is connected via USB.

console.log('Debugging message');

3. React Native Debugger

Use React Native Debugger, which is a standalone app that includes DevTools and additional debugging features:

  1. Install React Native Debugger:
  2. Run your app in release mode.
  3. Open React Native Debugger and connect to your running app.

4. Sentry or Bugsnag

Integrate a crash reporting tool like Sentry or Bugsnag into your app. These tools capture and report errors, crashes, and performance issues in release builds.

5. Android Logcat

You can view Android log messages using Logcat:

adb logcat *:E

This will display error-level logs. You can adjust the filter to display other log levels (*:W for warnings, *:D for debug, etc.).

6. Debug Symbols and Source Maps

Make sure you have generated debug symbols and source maps for your release build. This will allow you to symbolicate crash reports and view meaningful stack traces.

7. Debugging with adb reverse

If you are debugging on a physical device connected via USB, you can use adb reverse to forward debug server requests to your development machine:

adb reverse tcp:8081 tcp:8081

This allows your release build to connect to the Metro Bundler running on your development machine.

8. TestFlight or Google Play Internal Testing

Deploy your release build to a testing environment such as TestFlight (iOS) or Google Play Internal Testing (Android) to gather feedback from testers before releasing to production.

9. Manual Testing

Perform thorough manual testing on release builds to identify and reproduce issues that may not be caught during development.

While debugging in release mode can be more challenging, combining these techniques should help you effectively identify and resolve issues in your React Native app.

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