Sync localStorage Between Tabs

Using localStorage is great for storing simple user preferences such as the expanded/collapsed state of a sidebar, or the light/dark theme preference for the site. An often overlooked but useful feature of localStorage is the ability to sync changes between open tabs.

In the code snippet below, we create a simple useLocalStorage hook which is a wrapper around useState to load the initial value from localStorage and store changes to the value back into localStorage.

The magic comes in when we utilize window.addEventListener("storage") to listen for changes to localStorage from other tabs on the same domain. When another tab changes localStorage, we’ll receive an event which we can use to update the state in the current tab. Now if we have two open tabs and toggle the website theme to dark mode, both tabs will become dark. No need to refresh!

This feels quite magical as a user and it’s incredibly simple to implement!

function useLocalStorage<T>(key: string, initialValue: T) {
  const [value, setValue] = useState<T>(() => {
    const json = localStorage.getItem(key)
    return json ? JSON.parse(json) : initialValue

  useEffect(() => {
    function handleStorageChange(event: StorageEvent) {
      if (event.key === key) {
        setValue(e.newValue ? JSON.parse(e.newValue) : initialValue)

    window.addEventListener("storage", handleStorageChange)
    return () => window.removeEventListener("storage", handleStorageChange)
  }, [initialValue, key])

  const setValueAndStore = useCallback(
    (value: T) => {
      window.localStorage.setItem(key, JSON.stringify(value))

  return [value, setValueAndStore] as const