Jest mock and spy — mockClear vs mockReset vs mockRestore

Photo by Edgar Moran on Unsplash

When writing unit tests we need to make sure that every test is independent of others. When using shared mocks/spies we need to remember that they should have initial values and states for each test.

We cannot allow that one test will use the mock and that mock will be used in another test. That can lead to situation when test are passing but only in specific order. When we will be updating one tests all other might start failing. If something like this is happening we most probably don’t have mocks properly cleaned up.

The most common mistake I saw many times is usage of jest.resetAllMocks when we should actually use jest.clearAllMocks and other way around.

But there is also third method — the restore method.

Let’s try a simple module with one function:

We will be cleaning up only this one mock/spy so we will use methods: mockClear , mockReset and mockRestore.

We need also to remember that the mockReset and mockRestore methods works a little bit differently for mocks and spies. Let’s take a look at separate examples with spy and mock.


In this example we are using spyOn to hook to the whoAreYou function and replace (mock) the implementation with our own.

The output will be as follows:

The clear and reset methods cleans the internal state of the mock so our expect on how many times the mock was called are always 1.

The difference between those two is that the reset destroys also our mock implementation and replaces it with function with no return value. That is why in output we have undefined.

The restore method however removes the mocked implementation and replaces it with original method. Because the mock was not called we expect that the mock will be called 0 times.


Here we are mocking whole module and mock the whoAreYou function. We also introduce new implementation for that function.

The output is slightly different than in previous example:

In this case all methods cleans the internal state of the mock and we expect them to be called 1 time. In this case mockRestore does not restore original implementation — it just restores the mock to original value: jest.fn() .

BONUS: How to restore the mock

As we can see in above example, the mockRestore method does not give us the original implementation like in case of spy.

To do that we need to mock implementation with the original implementation (no matter how weird it may sound).

And we got the original implementation. The only difference is that the original implementation is inside the mock. So we have the second expect with called times equal to 2. In case of spies the spy internal state did not change as the original function was called.


We usually use both — mocks and spies in same tests suites. So we need to remember the differences of those methods, not just blindly clear, reset or restore.

Our tests should not make side effects for other test.

Use the clear method when sufficient and be careful with the reset method.

It is pretty easy to remember which method is the most destructive. Just use the alphabetical order of those methods: clear, reset, restore. The first one is the less destructive and the last one the most.

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Marek Rozmus

Marek Rozmus

Senior Frontend Developer at ???

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