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⬆️ Update Strategies

Automatic (Default)​

By default, Shorebird checks for and installs new patches in the background on launch. It does this via a background thread to ensure that it does not affect the launch speed of your application. Patches installed via Shorebird are then available on next launch of the app.


Shorebird also provides you with the ability to control when patches are applied. You may want finer-grained control over updates to:

  • Control rollout of patches (to only update some accounts at a time to reduce your server load or reduce rollout risk, for example).
  • Require users to update to the latest version before they can use the app (see note below).

To manually manage updates, you can use the package:shorebird_code_push, which enables programmatic control over when the Shorebird updater checks for and downloads patches. See the package documentation for more information and usage examples.

You will also want to disable the default automatic update behavior by adding this line to your shorebird.yaml file:

auto_update: false

Disabling automatic updates is not required to use shorebird_code_push, but Shorebird will automatically download and apply updates if your shorebird.yaml file does not contain auto_update: false.


Because Shorebird can only download and apply patches when your app is running, the user will see the unpatched release version that was first published in the store when they first launch your app. If it is important to your business to gate usage of your app on users having the latest code, it could be appropriate for you to check for updates as part of a login screen, or other launch gate.

Triggering updates via notification

It is possible to trigger updates via push notifications.

Shorebird does not provide its own notification service, but it's possible to use others, such as Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) to send a notification to your app, and then use that notification to trigger an update. Because these services typically allow you to target specific devices, you could use this to trigger updates for specific users.

Because any notification service which uses Dart (e.g. FCM) will also trigger the launch of the Flutter engine when the notification is delivered, the app will update if it is not already running.

If you are manually managing updates with the shorebird_code_push package, you can check for and trigger updates in your notification handler.

How should Shorebird interact with other update systems (e.g. in_app_update)?

For applications that already ensure users are on the latest version (e.g. with in_app_update, a system on Android whereby the Play Store will automatically prompt users to update your app), you will likely want to write some code to coordinate between Shorebird and your existing update system.

package:shorebird_code_push can help you here. For example, with in_app_update, you could use package:shorebird_code_push to check if the user has already applied the necessary patch and not then prompt them to update.

Shorebird patches are typically much smaller than full app downloads (a few KB on Android, a few hundred KB on iOS), so it is likely better for your users if you can use Shorebird to deliver patches instead of in_app_update. However, there are changes which Shorebird cannot make, so in_app_update may be the best solution in some cases.

Shorebird "patches" also do not change the version number of your app, so in_app_update will not see them as a new version. This is by design – patches are applied to releases, rather than being new releases themselves. This can complicate your analytics/reporting code as you will have the case where e.g. 1.0.1+13, patch 1 has identical dart code to 1.0.1+13, no patches. You can get the current booted patch number via package:shorebird_code_push's [currentPatchNumber] ( method.

Shorebird also currently makes the guarantee that we do not see or store your code. Implementing "push to deploy" may not be possible without source code access, which is not a change we would make lightly.