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Understanding Pointer Events in React Native

In the world of rapid development, React Native has emerged as a powerful tool for building cross-platform supported applications. A deep understanding of pointer events in React Native is extremely important in creating interactive and user-friendly applications. 

Pointer events in React Native play a vital role in capturing and handling user input through mouse or touch events so developers can improve the interactivity of application user interfaces. 

In this guide, we will take a deeper look at the pointerEvents prop in React Native with code examples and what benefits using the pointer event will bring to React Native users.

Understanding Pointer Events in React Native

React Native is a widely used framework for building cross-platform supported applications that support handing user input and interactions through pointer events. These events can be triggered by user input, such as touch, gestures, and mouse interactions, allowing developers to capture, handle, and respond to actions.

Pointer events can be classified into different events, such as mouse events and touch events:

  • Mouse events: Mouse events are the events in react native that are triggered by the movement or the action of the mouse. Mouse events include the onMouseEnter, onDoubleClick, onMouseLeave, onDragEnter, and many more. The developers utilize these events to handle mouse-based actions. 
  • Touch events: Touch events are the events in react native that are triggered when a user interacts with the touch screen devices. These events are used to capture and handle the touch interactions of the user. Touch events include onTouchCancel, onLongPress, onTouchMove and many more.  

However, writing code logic to handle different events for different devices is quite cumbersome and unnecessary. Even the logic for the touch event will not work for the mouse and vice versa.

Therefore, a new input called pointerEvents prop was created by the React Native development team to combine all types of events to handle input and write more maintainable and optimized code.

What is the React Native pointerEvents prop?

React Native pointerEvents allows developers to easily control how a component reacts to touch events or whether the component can be triggered with a touch event. It also determines how the component will behave in relation to user input.

Let’s look at the example below:

{/* App.js */}

<View style={} pointerEvents="none">
      <View style={styles.header}>
        <Text style={styles.title}>React Native pointerEvents  prop</Text>
      <Button onPress={() => console.log("pointerEvents")} title="test" />

The above examples show that we have added the pointerEvents to the root View component and set its value to “none, ” meaning the View component and its children are deactivated from being the target of any pointer event. More simply, the child element button will not be clickable.  

The “none” value is one of four values of the pointerEvents prop in React Native. Let’s learn more about other values and how these values affect the component.

pointerEvents Prop Values

In React Native, the pointerEvents prop has four possible values:

  1. none: it deactivates the pointer events of the components and its children.
  2. auto: The component and its children react normally to touch events or pointer events. This is the same as not adding a prop, but it gives additional support for activating or deactivating the event at any time.
  3. box-none: The component does not respond to the events, but its children can respond to the events. 
  4. box-only: As the name suggests, the component can respond to the touch or pointer events, but its children cannot.    

You can pass any value to the pointerEvents prop to handle your component accordingly. Understanding the effective use of the PointerEvents prop can help you create more interactive React Native applications.

Advantages of pointerEvents

The pointerEvents have many benefits and improve the creation of interactive and responsive user interfaces. Below are the most common benefits:

  1. Cross-Platform Compatibility: You can utilize the pointerEvents prop to write a single logic for the event listener and apply the same logic for all the input types across different platforms. 
  2. Improved app performance: The pointerEvents prop reduces duplicate code writing for different events and devices. Ultimately, it helps improve the application’s performance.
  3. Flexible Event Handling: It allows developers to customize how components respond to the touch events. 
  4. Streamlined Event Handling: The pointerEvents prop streamlines the event handling and directly improves the event handling and responding. 

The pointerEvents prop reduces duplicate code writing for different events and devices. Ultimately, it helps improve the application’s performance.

Currently Supported Pointer Events

The development of pointer events in React Native is still in progress, and the list below shows the events that are fully implemented and ready to use:

  • onPointerOver
  • onPointerEnter
  • onPointerDown
  • onPointerMove
  • onPointerUp
  • onPointerOut
  • onPointerLeave

‎Porting Web Platform Tests

Web Platform Tests are a mechanism that browsers use to ensure compliance and interoperability. Web Platform tests work against the browser’s mandatory DOM APIs, so React Native does not support them because React Native uses its own view primitives. React Native uses a tailored testing API, making porting web platform tests much easier.

React Native uses the RNTester platform test, which provides an API to construct test cases as components. The components of these test cases are rendered on the UI to show the test results.

The React Native team continues to grow the number of tests in the suite and is working on automating tests in the future.


In this article, we covered the pointerEvents prop which provides a great way to handle input events and react to those events accordingly. Pointer events allow developers to write cross-platform supported pointer events that can also handle touch, mouse, and other types of input.

Pointer events are still in development, and eventually, it will provide an easier way to handle pointer events. We’ve also covered the benefits of pointer events prop, the currently supported pointer events, and the porting web platform tests.

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