Let's say you're using Expo Router or React Navigation, and you want to:

  1. Use a Tabs layout
  2. Nest a Stack inside one of the tabs
  3. Hide the tab bar when a user navigates to certain routes.

This can be a little tricky.

The React Navigation Recommendations

The recommended solution from React Navigation is to nest the tab navigator inside the first screen of the stack instead of nesting the stack inside the tab navigator. Like this:

function HomeTabs() {
return (
<Tab.Screen name="Home" component={Home} />
<Tab.Screen name="Feed" component={Feed} />
<Tab.Screen name="Notifications" component={Notifications} />

function App() {
return (
<Stack.Screen name="Home" component={HomeTabs} />
<Stack.Screen name="Profile" component={Profile} />
<Stack.Screen name="Settings" component={Settings} />

Since Expo Router is built on top of React Navigation, this solution will work for you if you're using Expo Router as well.

But what if I still want to hide the tabs?

Rearranging the navigation structure doesn't solve your problem if:

  1. You want to make the tab bar dismissable by the user.
  2. You don't have permission to rearrange the navigation structure for some external reason.
  3. Rearranging your navigation structure would introduce some other technical challenge (maybe just a lot of merge conflicts on an existing project)
  4. You want the tab bar toggling to be a little fancier than just rendering/not rendering.

If you find yourself in any of those scenarios, here's how you can make the Expo Router/React Navigation tab bar a little more flexible.

Skip the blog post, I just want the solution

If you just want to poke around some code, I have a sample repository here. You'll want to look at:

  1. app/(fancytabs) directory - sets up a tab navigator, nested stack, and a screen that will hide the tab bar
  2. components/FancyTabBar.tsx - wraps the BottomTabBar component from @react-navigation/bottom-tabs and reads from
  3. app/(fancytabs)/_layout.tsx - uses the FancyTabBar component we wrote
  4. context/FancyTabBarContext.tsx - React context and an associated provider to control the FancyTabBar state.

If you just wanted sample code, I hope you find that helpful!

For those of you who want to understand the thinking behind that set up, read on.

Here's the plan

The fundamental problem isn't really "the tab navigator tab bar doesn't hide itself on nested routes". Instead, the problem is that we want to have more control over the tab bar.

So to get more control over our tab bar and its behavior, we can:

  1. Set up a custom tab bar component, and use that in the tab navigator, rather than the built-in component.
  2. Use React hooks to abstract out control of that custom component.
  3. Consume that control logic elsewhere in our codebase.

Fancy Tab Bar Component

We're going to create a custom component and pass it to the tab navigator as the tabBar prop.

To keep things simple, we'll just wrap the built-in BottomTabBar component and give it a little conditional rendering logic:

* components/FancyTabBar.tsx
* https://github.com/coolsoftwaretyler/expo-router-dynamic-tab-bar-example/blob/main/components/FancyTabBar.tsx

import React from "react";
// Importing `BottomTabBarProps` allows us to ask for the same types as React Navigation
import { BottomTabBar, BottomTabBarProps } from "@react-navigation/bottom-tabs";
import { useFancyTabBar } from "../context/FancyTabBarContext"; // We'll get to this later

const FancyTabBar: React.FC<BottomTabBarProps> = (props: BottomTabBarProps) => {
const { isTabBarVisible } = useFancyTabBar(); // We'll get to this later

if (!isTabBarVisible) {
return null;

return <BottomTabBar {...props} />;

export default FancyTabBar;

Fancy Tab Bar Hook

Up next, we'll need to have a way to tell the FancyTabBar whether or not it should render. We need to put something in the useFancyTabBar hook. That hook should basically report a boolean value to the component, which we use to either render null, or render the React Navigation BottomTabBar component (passing in the props from the wrapper component).

Here's a minimal example of how you can write that:

* context/FancyTabBarContext.tsx
* https://github.com/coolsoftwaretyler/expo-router-dynamic-tab-bar-example/blob/main/context/FancyTabBarContext.tsx

import React, { createContext, useContext, useState } from "react";

const FancyTabBarContext = createContext({
isTabBarVisible: true,
hideTabBar: () => {}, // We'll show how to use this function later on
showTabBar: () => {}, // We'll show how to use this function later on.

* This custom hook will provide the context to its consuming component.
* This is what we give to the `FancyTabBar` so it can know if it should render or not.

export const useFancyTabBar = () => {
return useContext(FancyTabBarContext);

* We'll get to this part later on

export const FancyTabBarProvider = ({
}: {
children: React.ReactNode;
}) => {
const [isTabBarVisible, setIsTabBarVisible] = useState(true);

const value = {
hideTabBar: () => setIsTabBarVisible(false),
showTabBar: () => setIsTabBarVisible(true),

return (
<FancyTabBarContext.Provider value={value}>

This file defines a context (FancyTabBarContext) with initial visibility for the tab bar set to true. It provides functions (hideTabBar and showTabBar) to toggle the visibility state. The hook (useFancyTabBar) allows components to access this context, and the exported FancyTabBarProvider will allow us to share that visibility values across the app quite easily.

Fancy Tab Bar Provider

I think the easiest thing to do with the provider is to wrap our root app with it, over in app/_layout.tsx. Like this:

* app/_layout.tsx
* https://github.com/coolsoftwaretyler/expo-router-dynamic-tab-bar-example/blob/main/app/_layout.tsx

import FontAwesome from "@expo/vector-icons/FontAwesome";
import { useFonts } from "expo-font";
import { SplashScreen, Stack } from "expo-router";
import { useEffect } from "react";
import { FancyTabBarProvider } from "../context/FancyTabBarContext";

export {
// Catch any errors thrown by the Layout component.
} from "expo-router";

export const unstable_settings = {
// Ensure that reloading on `/modal` keeps a back button present.
initialRouteName: "(standardtabs)",

// Prevent the splash screen from auto-hiding before asset loading is complete.

export default function RootLayout() {
const [loaded, error] = useFonts({
SpaceMono: require("../assets/fonts/SpaceMono-Regular.ttf"),

// Expo Router uses Error Boundaries to catch errors in the navigation tree.
useEffect(() => {
if (error) throw error;
}, [error]);

useEffect(() => {
if (loaded) {
}, [loaded]);

if (!loaded) {
return null;

return <RootLayoutNav />;

function RootLayoutNav() {
return (
<Stack.Screen name="(standardtabs)" options={{ headerShown: true }} />
<Stack.Screen name="(fancytabs)" options={{ headerShown: true }} />

Most of the code here comes straight from create-expo-app, but notice how we've imported FancyTabBarProvider and wrapped our root Stack with it. By doing this, any of the child components of that provider (so, our whole app) can get access to values like this:

const { isTabBarVisible, hideTabBar, showTabBar } = useFancyTabBar();

This means the FancyTabBar component can read isTabBarVisible and react to it, and other parts of our app can hide or show it. Here's how:

Using the Fancy Tab Bar in Tab Navigator

Finally, we need to tell our Tabs component to actually use the FancyTabBar component, and we'll spread the props that Tabs gets down into our FancyTabBar component. We can do this with the tabBar prop In the _layout.tsx file where the tabs are, we write:

* app/(fancytabs)/_layout.tsx
* https://github.com/coolsoftwaretyler/expo-router-dynamic-tab-bar-example/blob/main/app/(fancytabs)/_layout.tsx

import FontAwesome from "@expo/vector-icons/FontAwesome";
import { Tabs } from "expo-router";
import { useColorScheme } from "react-native";
import Colors from "../../constants/Colors";
import FancyTabBar from "../../components/FancyTabBar";

* You can explore the built-in icon families and icons on the web at https://icons.expo.fyi/

function TabBarIcon(props: {
name: React.ComponentProps<typeof FontAwesome>["name"];
color: string;
}) {
return <FontAwesome size={28} style={{ marginBottom: -3 }} {...props} />;

export default function TabLayout() {
const colorScheme = useColorScheme();

return (
tabBarActiveTintColor: Colors[colorScheme ?? "light"].tint,

tabBar={(props) => {
return <FancyTabBar {...props} />;


title: "Tab One",
tabBarIcon: ({ color }) => <TabBarIcon name="code" color={color} />,


title: "Tab Two",
tabBarIcon: ({ color }) => <TabBarIcon name="code" color={color} />,



Hiding the Fancy Tab Bar

Inside a nested screen in the tab bar, what we might want to do is set up a useEffect hook to hide the tab bar, and make sure that once we un-mount the component, the tabs come back. Here's what that looks like:

* app/(fancytabs)/fancy-stack/fancy-nested-screen.tsx
* https://github.com/coolsoftwaretyler/expo-router-dynamic-tab-bar-example/blob/main/app/(fancytabs)/fancy-stack/fancy-nested-screen.tsx

import { StyleSheet } from "react-native";
import { Text, View } from "../../../components/Themed";
import { useFancyTabBar } from "../../../context/FancyTabBarContext";
import { useEffect } from "react";

export default function StandardNestedScreen() {
const { hideTabBar, showTabBar } = useFancyTabBar();

useEffect(() => {

// Whatever you return from useEffect runs on unmount, so we can ensure we show the tab bar again.
return () => {
}, []);

return (
<View style={styles.container}>
<Text style={styles.title}>
This nested screen does not show the tab bar, but it technically lives
nested in the (fancytabs)/fancy-stack folder.

const styles = StyleSheet.create({
container: {
flex: 1,
alignItems: "center",
justifyContent: "center",
title: {
fontSize: 20,
fontWeight: "bold",

And that's just about it! I really like using this approach. It gives me more control over navigation. I can structure my files and navigators how I want, and I can even hook into the show/hide functions from other UI elements to allow users to dismiss the tabs in certain flows if they want. In some cases, it can be less work than restructuring your navigation. In other cases (like a brand new project), it might be a little extra work, but I find the benefits are usually worth it.

This is also a good place to start if you want to customize your tab bar for other reasons. I think starting by augmenting the existing component keeps things consistent, but provides more control over your application.

Smoothing out the user experience

If you run the sample code and check out the fancy nested screen, you'll notice that showing the tab bar again causes a little bit of layout jank. I think we could resolve that by using something like React Native Reanimated to animate the position of the tab bar, so instead of conditionally rendering null or a BottomTabBar, we could conditionally set the position of the tabs, and animate it smoothly with Reanimated. I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.