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React to Changes - .NET SDK

On this page

  • Register a Realm Change Listener
  • Watch for Collection Changes
  • Register a Collection Change Listener
  • Unregister a Change Listener
  • Handle the CollectionChanged Event
  • Register an Object Change Listener
  • Unregister a Change Listener
  • Change Notification Limits

All Realm objects are live objects, which means they automatically update whenever they're modified. Realm emits a notification event whenever any property changes.

Realm's notification system allows you to watch for and react to changes in your data, independent of the writes that caused the changes. To observe changes, you create a notification handler for a Realm, a managed collection, or a Realm object that you want to watch. You can then add your specific app logic related to the change.


For information on binding data changes to the UI in your project, see Data Binding.

Realm emits three kinds of notifications:


Notifications only work when your realm regularly refreshes. In the Main or UI thread of your application, realm refreshes happen automatically. On background threads, you need to handle this yourself by either calling Realm.Refresh() or installing a SynchronizationContext on the thread before opening the realm. The third-party library Nito.AsyncEx.Context provides a SynchronizationContext implementation and a convenient API to install it.

You can register a notification handler on an entire realm. Realm invokes the notification handler whenever any write transaction on that realm is committed.

The handler receives no specific information about the change. This is useful when you want to know that there has been a change but do not need to know specifically what change has occurred.

Suppose you are building a real-time collaborative app and you want to have a counter that increases every time a change is made. In this scenario, you could subscribe to the realm notification handler and add the code that controls the indicator.

// Observe realm notifications.
realm.RealmChanged += (sender, eventArgs) =>
// The "sender" object is the realm that has changed.
// "eventArgs" is reserved for future use.
// ... update UI ...

You can watch for changes on a collection of realm objects and realm collection properties on an object. There are two ways to be notified about changes to a collection: register a notification handler on the collection or handle the CollectionChanged event.

You can register a notification handler on a specific collection within a realm. The collection can be of realm objects (like realm.All<Person>()) or a collection property on a realm object (like house.Owners, where "Owners" is of type IList).

The handler receives a description of changes made to the collection since the last notification. Unlike realm-wide notifications, collection notifications contain detailed information about the change and provide the information you need to manage a list or other view that represents the collection in the UI.

Realm emits an initial notification when a subscription is added. After the initial notification, Realm delivers notifications asynchronously whenever a write transaction adds, modifies, or removes objects in the collection.

Specifically, the notification contains a ChangeSet with 6 properties:

  • DeletedIndices is an int[] that contains the indices of the objects that were deleted.

  • InsertedIndices is an int[] that contains the indices of the objects that were inserted.

  • ModifiedIndices is an int[] that contains the old indices of the objects that were modified. These indices indicate the position of the modified objects in the original collection before any deletions or insertions ocurred.

  • NewModifiedIndices is an int[] that represents the same entries as the ModifiedIndices property, but the indices represent the new locations in the collection after all changes have been accounted for.

  • IsCleared is a boolean set to true when a collection has been cleared by calling the Clear() method.

  • Moved is an array of ChangeSet.Move structs that contain the previous and new index of an object moved within the collection.

To subscribe to collection notifications, call the SubscribeForNotifications method. SubscribeForNotifications returns a subscription token which can be disposed at any time to stop receiving notifications on the collection.

The following code shows how to observe a collection for changes.

// Watch for collection notifications.
var subscriptionToken = realm.All<Dog>()
.SubscribeForNotifications((sender, changes) =>
if (changes == null)
// This is the case when the notification is called
// for the first time.
// Populate tableview/listview with all the items
// from `collection`
// Handle individual changes
foreach (var i in changes.DeletedIndices)
// ... handle deletions ...
foreach (var i in changes.InsertedIndices)
// ... handle insertions ...
foreach (var i in changes.NewModifiedIndices)
// ... handle modifications ...
if (changes.IsCleared)
// A special case if the collection has been cleared:
// i.e., all items have been deleted by calling
// the Clear() method.


Order Matters

In collection notification handlers, always apply changes in the following order:

  1. deletions

  2. insertions

  3. modifications

Handling insertions before deletions may result in unexpected behavior.

To unregister a change listener, call Dispose on the token. The following code shows how to do this:

// Watch for collection notifications.
// Call Dispose() when you are done observing the
// collection.
var token = realm.All<Dog>()
.SubscribeForNotifications((sender, changes) =>
// etc.
// When you no longer want to receive notifications:

Every Realm collection implements INotifyCollectionChanged, which allows you to use a collection directly in data-binding scenarios. Because collections implement INotifyCollectionChanged, another approach to monitoring collection changes is to handle the CollectionChanged event and check for the type of NotifyCollectionChangedAction.


Less Detailed Information

The CollectionChanged event handler does not provide the same level of detail about changes as SubscribeForNotifications does.

The following code shows you how to implement the CollectionChanged event handler:

// Subscribe to a query
realm.All<Dog>().AsRealmCollection().CollectionChanged +=
// Subscribe to a property collection
gracie.Owners.AsRealmCollection().CollectionChanged +=
private void HandleCollectionChanged(object? sender,
NotifyCollectionChangedEventArgs e)
// Use e.Action to get the
// NotifyCollectionChangedAction type.
if (e.Action == NotifyCollectionChangedAction.Add)
// etc.

You can register a notification handler on a specific object within a realm so that the SDK notifies you when any of the object's properties change. The handler receives information about which field has changed. With the field name, you can get the new value.

The following code shows how to observe an object for changes.

var artist = realm.All<Person>()
.FirstOrDefault(p => p.Name == "Elvis Presley");
artist.PropertyChanged += (sender, eventArgs) =>
var changedProperty = eventArgs.PropertyName!;
$@"New value set for 'artist':
'{changedProperty}' is now {artist.GetType()
realm.Write(() =>
artist.Name = "Elvis Costello";

When you no longer want to receive notifications on a change listener, you unregister the handler. The code is the same for both a collection of realm objects and a collection property. The following code shows how to unregister a change listener on both:

// Unsubscribe from notifications on a
// realm listener
realm.RealmChanged -= OnRealmChanged;
// Unsubscribe from notifications on a
// collection of realm objects
.CollectionChanged -= OnItemsChangedHandler;
// Unsubscribe from notifications on a
// collection property
items.AsRealmCollection().CollectionChanged -= OnItemsChangedHandler;

Changes in nested documents deeper than four levels down do not trigger change notifications.

If you have a data structure where you need to listen for changes five levels down or deeper, workarounds include:

  • Refactor the schema to reduce nesting.

  • Add something like "push-to-refresh" to enable users to manually refresh data.

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