Storing a function in React state

June 07, 2023 · 1 min read

I felt very React-dumb today. I simply wanted to store a function in the state of a React component. So, I would initialize the component state:

const [myCallback, setMyCallback] = useState<() => void>()

and later in the code I would have a button that sets this state:

const cb = () => console.log('hi!')

I’ve been breaking my head on why the hell my callback function gets called even though I never call it anywhere in my code! Notice that we didn’t execute cb() or myCallback() anywhere.

The problem is that the argument of the setState functions can be a function that let’s us update the state based on the previous value. See the docs of setState for details. React cannot tell if the function we pass is the aforementioned function, or the value that we want to store in our state. A solution to this is to simply wrap the value we want to store into a function:

setMyCallback(() => cb)

So funny yet so frustrating at the same time! Hope I save someone’s time!

Ilias Trichopoulos

Written by Ilias Trichopoulos who lives in Zurich creating stuff. You should follow his playlists on Spotify and his DJ sets on SoundCloud!