Conan computes a unique package_id reference for each configuration, including settings, options and dependencies versions. This package_id() method allows some customizations and changes over the computed package_id, in general with the goal to relax some of the global binary compatibility assumptions.

The general rule is that every different value of settings and options creates a different package_id. This rule can be relaxed or expanded following different approaches:

  • A given package recipe can decide in its package_id() that the final binary is independent of some settings, for example if it is a header-only library, that uses input settings to build some tests, it might completely clear all configuration, so the resulting package_id is always the same irrespective of the inputs. Likewise a C library might want to remove the effect of compiler.cppstd and/or compiler.libcxx from its binary package_id, because as a C library, its binary will be independent.

  • A given package recipe can implement some partial erasure of information, for example to obtain the same package_id for a range of compiler versions. This type of binary compatibility is in general better addressed with the global compatibility plugin, or with the compatibility() method if the global plugin is not enough.

  • A package recipe can decide to inject extra variability in its computed package_id, adding conf items or “target” settings.

Available automatic implementations


This feature is experimental and subject to breaking changes. See the Conan stability section for more information.

When the package_id() method is not defined, the following automatic implementation can be specified in the implements ConanFile attribute:


Conan will automatically manage the package ID clearing settings and options when the recipe declares an option header_only=True or when package_type is "header-library". It can be added to the recipe like this:

from conan import ConanFile

class Pkg(ConanFile):
    implements = ["auto_header_only"]

Then, if no package_id() method is specified in the recipe, Conan will automatically manage it and call in the package_id() automatically, to make the package_id independent of settings, options, configuration and requirements.

If you need to implement custom behaviors in your recipes but also need this logic, it must be explicitly declared, for example, something like this:

def package_id(self):
    def package_id(self):
        if self.package_type == "header-library":

Information erasure

This is a package_id relaxing strategy. Let’s check the first case: a header-only library, that has input settings, because it still wants to use them for some unit-tests in its build() method. In order to have exactly one final binary for all configurations, because the final artifact should be identical in all cases (just the header files), it would be necessary to do:

settings = "os", "compiler", "arch", "build_type"

def build(self):
    cmake = CMake(self) # need specific settings to build
    cmake.test()  # running unit tests for the current configuration

def package_id(self):
    # Completely clear all the settings from the ``package_id`` information ("info" object)
    # All resulting ``package_id`` will be the same, irrespective of configuration


The modifications of the information always happen over the object, not on self.settings or self.options

If a package is just a C library, but it couldn’t remove the compiler.cppstd and compiler.libcxx in the configure() method (the recommended approach for most cases, to guarantee those flags are not used in the build), because there are C++ unit tests to the C library, then as the tests are not packaged and the final binary will be independent of C++, those could be removed with:

settings = "os", "compiler", "arch", "build_type"

def build(self):
    # building C++ tests for a C library

def package_id(self):
    # Some compilers might not declare libcxx subsetting"compiler.libcxx")

If a package is building an executable to be used as a tool, and only 1 executable for each OS and architecture is desired to be more efficient, the package_id() could remove the other settings and options if existing:

# this will be a "tool_require"
package_type = "application"
settings = "os", "compiler", "arch", "build_type"

def package_id(self):

Note that this doesn’t mean that the compiler and build_type should be removed for every application executable. For other things that are not tools, but final products to release, the most common situation is that maintaining the different builds for the different compilers, compiler versions, build types, etc. is the best approach. It also means that we are erasing some information. We will not have the information of the compiler and build type that was used for the binary that we are using (it will not be in the conan list output, and it will not be in the server metadata either). If we compile a new binary with a different compiler or build type, it will create a new package revision under the same package_id.

Partial information erasure

It is also possible to partially erase information for given subsets of values. For example, if we want to have the same package_id for all the binaries compiled with gcc between versions 4.5 and 5.0, we can do:

def package_id(self):
    v = Version(str(
    if == "gcc" and (v >= "4.5" and v < "5.0"):
        # The assigned string can be arbitrary = "GCC 4 between 4.5 and 5.0"

This will result in all other compilers rather than gcc and other versions outside of that range to have a different package_id, but there will be only 1 package_id binary for all gcc 4.5-5.0 versions. This also has the disadvantage mentioned above about losing the information that created this binary.

This approach is not recommended in the general case, and it would be better approached with the global compatibility plugin or the recipe compatibility() method.

Adding information

There is some information not added by default to the package_id. If we are creating a package for a tool, to be used as a tool_require, and it happens that such package binary will be different for each “target” configuration, like it is the case for some cross-compilers, if the compiler itself might be different for the different architectures that it is targeting, it will be necessary to add the settings_target to the package_id with:

def package_id(self): = self.settings_target

The conf items do not affect the package_id by default. It is possible to explicitly make them part of it at the recipe level with:

def package_id(self):"user.myconf:myitem", self.conf.get("user.myconf:myitem"))

Although this can be achieved for all recipes without the package_id() method, using the = ["user.myconf:myitem"] configuration.

Using regex patterns: You can use regex patterns in the This means that instead of specifying each individual configuration item, you can use a regex pattern to match multiple configurations. This is particularly useful when dealing with a large number of configurations or when configurations follow a predictable naming pattern. For instance:

  •[".*"] matches all configurations.

  •["tools\..*"] matches configurations starting with “tools.”.

  •["(tools\.deploy|core)"] matches configurations starting with “tools.deploy” or “core”.

See also