Isar allows you to subscribe to changes in the database. You can either "watch" for changes in a specific object, an entire collection, or a query.

Watchers enable you to efficiently react to changes in the database. You can for example rebuild your UI when a contact is added, send a network request when a document is updated etc.

Watching Objects

If you want to be notified when a specific object is created, updated or deleted, you should watch an object:

Stream<User> userChanged = isar.users.watchObject(5);
userChanged.listen((newUser) {
  print('User changed: ${newUser?.name}');

final user = User(id: 5) = 'David';
await isar.users.put(user);
// prints: User changed: David

final user2 = User(id: 5) = 'Mark';
await isar.users.put(user);
// prints: User changed: Mark

await isar.users.delete(5);
// prints: User changed: null

As you can see in the example above, the object does not need to exist yet. The watcher will be notified when it is created.

There is an additional parameter initialReturn. If you set it to true, Isar will immediately add the current value of the object to the stream.

Lazy watching

Maybe you don't need to receive the new value but only be notified about the change. That saves Isar from having to fetch the object:

Stream<void> userChanged = isar.users.watchObjectLazy(5);
userChanged.listen(() {
  print('User 5 changed');

final user = User(id: 5) = 'David';
await isar.users.put(user);
// prints: User 5 changed

Watching Collections

Instead of watching a single object, you can watch an entire collection and get notified when any object is added, updated or deleted:

Stream<void> userChanged = isar.users.watchLazy();
userChanged.listen(() {
  print('A User changed');

final user = User() = 'David';
await isar.users.put(user);
// prints: A User changed

Watching Queries

It is even possible to watch entire queries. Isar does its best to only notify you when the query results actually change. You will however not be notified if links cause the query to change. Use a collection watcher if you need to be notified about that.

Query<User> usersWithA = isar.users.filter()

Stream<List<User>> queryChanged = true);
queryChanged.listen((users) {
  print('Users with A are: $users');
// prints: Users with A are: []

await isar.users.put(User() = 'Albert');
// prints: Users with A are: [User(name: Albert)]

await isar.users.put(User() = 'Monika');
// no print

awaited isar.users.put(User() = 'Antonia');
// prints: Users with A are: [User(name: Albert), User(name: Antonia)]


If you use offset & limit or distinct queries, Isar will also notify you when objects matching the filter but outside the query results change.

Just like watchObject(), you can use watchLazy() to get notified when the query results change but not actually fetch the results.


Rerunning queries for every change is very inefficient. You should use a lazy collection watcher instead.