Building Serverless or Debug APK for React Native apps

shubhkirtisharma profile image Shubhkirti Sharma Updated on ・2 min read

Photo by [Artem Sapegin](https://unsplash.com/photos/ZMraoOybTLQ?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/search/photos/react-native?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)
Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

So I have been working on React Native for a long time, now and no one actually asked me this till I actually asked myself, “So every time, I have to create a signed APK to test it on another device?”. And as usual, I started googling but came up with a lot of results but none of them actually worked for all the apps that I created or worked with. Eventually, I came up with a solution to build a complete, working serverless APK that runs without the npm packager.

Basically, the process is very easy. Open a terminal/command prompt inside the root directory of your project and run the following commands:

1. Start the node packaging bundler:

npm start

2. When the terminal shows: “Loading dependency graphs….”, open a new terminal in the same directory and now run the following to create a new directory inside the app to store the assets:

mkdir -p android/app/src/main/assets

3. Use react-native’s bundle to bundle the assets in the directory created above:

react-native bundle --platform android --dev false --entry-file index.js --bundle-output android/app/src/main/assets/index.android.bundle --assets-dest android/app/src/main/res

4. Curl the .js files created to the index.android.bundle:

curl "http://localhost:8081/index.bundle?platform=android" -o "android/app/src/main/assets/index.android.bundle"

5. Change to /android directory and run gradlew to build the APK:

cd android && ./gradlew clean assembleDebug

Well, that’s it. Easy, peasy! After everything is done and it shows “Build successful”, your APK will be present in the folder


If you have some suggestions, comment below or give a clap!

Posted on by:

shubhkirtisharma profile

Shubhkirti Sharma


developer | designer | trance music |


markdown guide

Form me it worked with
react-native bundle --platform android --dev false --entry-file index.js --bundle-output android/app/src/main/assets/index.android.bundle --assets-dest android/app/src/main/res_

the entry file, index.js, not _index.js


Yes. will edit the post to make the update.
Thanks for the help, man!


Mine gets stuck on the asyncstorage module. First, the metro bundler crashes with permission error (even as admin) and the debug build just gets stuck.

Here's the error:

Error w/ Text

The bundler runs just fine when used normally using react-native run-android


This is generally the issue when CMD is not run as ADMIN.
Try running it as admin and then proceeding as given.


Hi my friend!
is it possible generate a serverless APK on Expo builder?
I've tried following what you indicate, but it didn't work.
thanks a lot!

output :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

λ react-native bundle --platform android --dev false --entry-file App.js --bundle-output android/app/src/main/assets/index.android.bundle --assets-dest android/app/src/main/res
Loading dependency graph, done.
info Writing bundle output to:, android/app/src/main/assets/index.android.bundle
info Done writing bundle output
info Copying 51 asset files
info Done copying assets

C:\myWork\dev-movil (master)
λ curl "localhost:8081/index.bundle?platfo..." -o "android/app/src/main/assets/index.android.bundle"
% Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current
Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 --:--:-- 0:00:01 --:--:-- 0curl: (7) Failed to connect to localhost port 8081: Connection refused

C:\myWork\dev-movil (master)
λ curl "" -o "android/app/src/main/assets/index.android.bundle"
% Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current
Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed
100 151 100 151 0 0 151 0 0:00:01 --:--:-- 0:00:01 4870

C:\myWork\dev-movil (master)
λ cd android && ./gradlew clean assembleDebug
"." no se reconoce como un comando interno o externo,
programa o archivo por lotes ejecutable.


My images were not being displayed if I follow this process. Using react native - 0.61


I want to apologise for the mistake that happened that in the end of the react-native command and underscore occurred, which is probably why the images didn't got bundled correctly.
You can try it again I have fixed the latest issues.
Thanks for pointing it out.


Great!! Simple and straightforward!! Thank you very much. That worked for me.


thanks for great post.
how to build release apk with removing console logs?