notes on SafeAreaView in React Native

  • the default SafeAreaView that comes with react-native only works on iOS devices, and only on iOS version 11 or later. Plus it can cause jumpy behaviour when a screen is animating (according to React Navigation docs)
  • the recommened alternative is react-native-safe-area-context, which gives you SafeAreaProvider, SafeAreaView and useSafeAreaInsets etc, It works on Android as well as iOS.
  • you can't set padding to a SafeAreaView because implementing it's own padding is part of its behaviour. If you apply padding rules in styles, they'll be ignored.
  • you can however set padding on a View inside a SafeAreaView

React Navbigation and Safe area

  • React Navigation handles safe area inside it's default header. If you use the default header as well as a SafeArea then expect weird behaviour
  • If you're using a custom header, make sure your UI is within safe area
  • SafeArea is no longer exported by react-navigation v5. Previously you could import { SafeAreaView } from "react-navigation"
  • React Navigation recommends using react-native-safe-area-context
  • When using nested headers, you get extra empty space at the top on Android but not on iOS

If using default header, don't use SafeArea, default header handles both Android and iOS.

If you use default header and SafeArea both, you get extra empty space at the top in nested headers.

On Android, React Navigation default header shows extra empty space at top when it's a nested header

headerForceInset: { top: 'never', bottom: 'never' },
headerForceInset: { vertical: 'never' }, // get rid of extra empty space at top


  • On iOS if you don't add the SafeArea, the screen gets inside the status bar


Please note that this site and the posts on it are, and will always be, a work in progress. If i waited for perfection, i’d never get anything done.