Update notifications for your CLI app
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Update notifications for your CLI app

Inform users of your package of updates in a non-intrusive way.



$ npm install update-notifier



const updateNotifier = require('update-notifier');
const pkg = require('./package.json');



const updateNotifier = require('update-notifier');
const pkg = require('./package.json');

// Checks for available update and returns an instance
const notifier = updateNotifier({pkg});

// Notify using the built-in convenience method

// `notifier.update` contains some useful info about the update
	latest: '1.0.1',
	current: '1.0.0',
	type: 'patch', // Possible values: latest, major, minor, patch, prerelease, build
	name: 'pageres'

Options and custom message

const notifier = updateNotifier({
	updateCheckInterval: 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24 * 7 // 1 week

if (notifier.update) {
	console.log(`Update available: ${notifier.update.latest}`);


Whenever you initiate the update notifier and it's not within the interval threshold, it will asynchronously check with npm in the background for available updates, then persist the result. The next time the notifier is initiated, the result will be loaded into the .update property. This prevents any impact on your package startup performance. The update check is done in a unref'ed child process. This means that if you call process.exit, the check will still be performed in its own process.

The first time the user runs your app, it will check for an update, and even if an update is available, it will wait the specified updateCheckInterval before notifying the user. This is done to not be annoying to the user, but might surprise you as an implementer if you're testing whether it works. Check out example.js to quickly test out update-notifier and see how you can test that it works in your app.


notifier = updateNotifier(options)

Checks if there is an available update. Accepts options defined below. Returns an instance with an .update property there is an available update, otherwise undefined.



Type: Object


Type: string


Type: string


Type: number
Default: 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24 (1 day)

How often to check for updates.

callback(error, update)

Type: Function

Passing a callback here will make it check for an update directly and report right away. Not recommended as you won't get the benefits explained in How. update is equal to notifier.update.


Type: boolean
Default: false

Allows notification to be shown when running as an npm script.


Convenience method to display a notification message. (See screenshot)

Only notifies if there is an update and the process is TTY.


Type: Object


Type: boolean
Default: true

Defer showing the notification to after the process has exited.


Type: string
Default: See above screenshot

Message that will be shown when an update is available.


Type: boolean
Default: auto-detect

Include the -g argument in the default message's npm i recommendation. You may want to change this if your CLI package can be installed as a dependency of another project, and don't want to recommend a global installation. This option is ignored if you supply your own message (see above).


Type: Object
Default: {padding: 1, margin: 1, align: 'center', borderColor: 'yellow', borderStyle: 'round'} (See screenshot)

Options object that will be passed to boxen.

User settings

Users of your module have the ability to opt-out of the update notifier by changing the optOut property to true in ~/.config/configstore/update-notifier-[your-module-name].json. The path is available in notifier.config.path.

Users can also opt-out by setting the environment variable NO_UPDATE_NOTIFIER with any value or by using the --no-update-notifier flag on a per run basis.

The check is also skipped on CI automatically.


The idea for this module came from the desire to apply the browser update strategy to CLI tools, where everyone is always on the latest version. We first tried automatic updating, which we discovered wasn't popular. This is the second iteration of that idea, but limited to just update notifications.


There are a bunch projects using it:

  • npm - Package manager for JavaScript
  • Yeoman - Modern workflows for modern webapps
  • AVA - Simple concurrent test runner
  • XO - JavaScript happiness style linter
  • Pageres - Capture website screenshots
  • Node GH - GitHub command line tool

And 1600+ more…


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