The async function declaration defines an asynchronous function, which returns an AsyncFunction object.

You can also define async functions using an async function expression.


async function name([param[, param[, ... param]]]) {
The function name.
The name of an argument to be passed to the function.
The statements comprising the body of the function.


When an async function is called, it returns a Promise. When the async function returns a value, the Promise will be resolved with the returned value.  When the async function throws an exception or some value, the Promise will be rejected with the thrown value.

An async function can contain an await expression, that pauses the execution of the async function and waits for the passed Promise's resolution, and then resumes the async function's execution and returns the resolved value.

The purpose of async/await functions are  to simplify the behavior of using promises synchronously and to perform some behavior on a group of Promises. Just like Promises are similar to structured callbacks, async/await is similar to combining generators and promises.


Simple example

function resolveAfter2Seconds(x) {
  return new Promise(resolve => {
    setTimeout(() => {
    }, 2000);

async function add1(x) {
  var a = resolveAfter2Seconds(20);
  var b = resolveAfter2Seconds(30);
  return x + await a + await b;

add1(10).then(v => {
  console.log(v);  // prints 60 after 2 seconds.

async function add2(x) {
  var a = await resolveAfter2Seconds(20);
  var b = await resolveAfter2Seconds(30);
  return x + a + b;

add2(10).then(v => {
  console.log(v);  // prints 60 after 4 seconds.

Rewriting a promise chain with an async function

An API that returns a Promise will result in a promise chain, and it splits the function into many parts. Consider the following code:

function getProcessedData(url) {
  return downloadData(url) // returns a promise
    .catch(e => {
      return downloadFallbackData(url) // returns a promise
    .then(v => {
      return processDataInWorker(v); // returns a promise

it can be rewritten with a single async function as follows:

async function getProcessedData(url) {
  let v;
  try {
    v = await downloadData(url); 
  } catch(e) {
    v = await downloadFallbackData(url);
  return processDataInWorker(v);

Note that in the above example, there is no await statement on the return statement, because the return value of an async function is implicitly wrapped in Promise.resolve.


Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 2017 Draft (ECMA-262)
The definition of 'async function' in that specification.
Draft Initial definition in ES2017.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer  Edge Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support 55 52.0 (52.0) ? ? 42 10.1
Feature Android Android Webview Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile Chrome for Android
Basic support No support No support 52.0 (52.0) ? 42 10.1 55

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: nmve,