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Context Link

Easily set a context on your operation, which is used by other links further down the chain.


The setContext function accepts a function that returns either an object or a promise, which then returns an object to set the new context of a request. It receives two arguments: the GraphQL request being executed, and the previous context. This link makes it easy to perform the asynchronous lookup of things like authentication tokens and more.

import { setContext } from "@apollo/client/link/context";

const setAuthorizationLink = setContext((request, previousContext) => ({
  headers: {authorization: "1234"}

const asyncAuthLink = setContext(
  request =>
    new Promise((success, fail) => {
      // do some async lookup here
      setTimeout(() => {
        success({ token: "async found token" });
      }, 10);

Caching lookups

Typically async actions can be expensive and may not need to be called for every request, especially when a lot of request are happening at once. You can setup your own caching and invalidation outside of the link, to make it faster but still flexible.

Take for example a user auth token being found, cached, then removed on a 401 response:

import { setContext } from "@apollo/client/link/context";
import { onError } from "@apollo/client/link/error";

// cached storage for the user token
let token;
const withToken = setContext(() => {
  // if you have a cached value, return it immediately
  if (token) return { token };

  return AsyncTokenLookup().then(userToken => {
    token = userToken;
    return { token };

const resetToken = onError(({ networkError }) => {
  if (
    networkError && ==='ServerError' &&
    networkError.statusCode === 401
  ) {
    // remove cached token on 401 from the server
    token = null;

const authFlowLink = withToken.concat(resetToken);
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