Why can't I use context.read in build(), but I can use Provider.of with listen: false?


It’s stated in the docs that these are the same, and context.read is just a shortcut for Provider.of<x>(context, listen: false).
There’s also an error in the console if I try to use context.read in a build method, but it doesn’t explain the reason.

I also found this topic: Is Provider.of(context, listen: false) equivalent to context.read()?
But it doesn’t answer "why".


  • context.read is not allowed inside build because it is very dangerous to use there, and there are much better solutions available.

  • Provider.of is allowed in build for backward-compatibility.

Overall, the reasoning behind why context.read is not allowed inside build is explained in its documentation:

DON’T call [read] inside build if the value is used only for events:

Widget build(BuildContext context) {
  // counter is used only for the onPressed of RaisedButton
  final counter = context.read<Counter>();

  return RaisedButton(
    onPressed: () => counter.increment(),

While this code is not bugged in itself, this is an anti-pattern.
It could easily lead to bugs in the future after refactoring the widget
to use counter for other things, but forget to change [read] into [watch].

CONSIDER calling [read] inside event handlers:

Widget build(BuildContext context) {
  return RaisedButton(
    onPressed: () {
      // as performant as the previous previous solution, but resilient to refactoring

This has the same efficiency as the previous anti-pattern, but does not
suffer from the drawback of being brittle.

DON’T use [read] for creating widgets with a value that never changes

Widget build(BuildContext context) {
  // using read because we only use a value that never changes.
  final model = context.read<Model>();

  return Text('${model.valueThatNeverChanges}');

While the idea of not rebuilding the widget if something else changes is
good, this should not be done with [read].
Relying on [read] for optimisations is very brittle and dependent
on an implementation detail.

CONSIDER using [select] for filtering unwanted rebuilds

Widget build(BuildContext context) {
  // Using select to listen only to the value that used
  final valueThatNeverChanges = context.select((Model model) => model.valueThatNeverChanges);

  return Text('$valueThatNeverChanges');

While more verbose than [read], using [select] is a lot safer.
It does not rely on implementation details on Model, and it makes
impossible to have a bug where our UI does not refresh.

Answered By – Rémi Rousselet

Answer Checked By – Katrina (FlutterFixes Volunteer)

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