When to use functional setState

First things first, in your case the two syntaxes are entirely different, what you might be looking for is the difference between

this.setState({pictures: this.state.picture.concat(pics)})


this.setState(prevState => ({
   pictures: prevState.pictures.concat(pics)

To understand why the second method is a preferred one,you need to understand what React does with setState() internally.

React will first merge the object you passed to setState() into the current state. Then it will start that reconciliation thing. Because of the calling setState() might not immediately update your state.

React may batch multiple setState() calls into a single update for better performance.

Consider the simple case, to understand this, in your function you might call setState() more than once like:

myFunction = () => {

   this.setState({pictures: this.state.picture.concat(pics1)})
   this.setState({pictures: this.state.picture.concat(pics1)})
   this.setState({pictures: this.state.picture.concat(pics1)})


which isn’t a valid use case in a simple app but as the app gets complex, multiple setState() calls may be happening from multiple places, doing the same thing.

So now to perform an efficient update, React does the batching thing by extracting all the objects passed to each setState() call, merges them together to form a single object, then uses that single object to do setState(). According to the setState() documentation:

This form of setState() is also asynchronous, and multiple calls during the same cycle may be batched together. For example, if you attempt to increment an item quantity more than once in the same cycle, that will result in the equivalent of:

  {quantity: state.quantity + 1},
  {quantity: state.quantity + 1},

Subsequent calls will override values from previous calls in the same cycle, so the quantity will only be incremented once. If the next state depends on the current state, we recommend using the updater function form, instead:

this.setState((state) => {
  return {quantity: state.quantity + 1};

For more detail, see:

setState() – Other APIs – React.Component – React.

So if any of the objects contains the same key, the value of the key of the last object with same key is stored. And hence the update only happens once with the last value.

Demo Codesandbox

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