Toggle an Integer Between 1 and 0

If you ever come upon a need to toggle an integer value between 1 and 0, consider using the bitwise exclusive-OR (^) operator in C to get the job done.

In a recent application I wrote a method with one parameter, an integer, that is expected to be 1 or 0. In creating a demo of the application I wanted to pass in alternating values of 1 and 0 as part of a test for a specific use case. Instead of using an if statement in the calling method to decide when to send a 1 or 0, I wrote something similar to the code below:

- (void)someMethod
{
  static int x = 0;
 
  // Toggles 1 to 0 and 0 to 1 using xor
  x ^= 1;
 
  // Call the method that expects a 1 or 0
  [methodCallHere toggle:x];
}

More often than not, exclusive-OR (^), AND (&) and inclusive-OR (|) are consider a bit-level operations (see this post on bitfields). However, there are times when these operators work equally well with integer values.

  1. Pretty handy to use this with the bitfields from a previous post of yours.

    typedef struct {
    unsigned preLoaded;
    unsigned saveState;
    unsigned saveLoginName;
    } SomeStatus;

    SomeStatus status;
    status.preLoaded = 1;
    status.saveState = 0;
    status.saveLoginName = 1;

    status.preLoaded ^= 1;

    if( status.preLoaded == 0 )
    NSLog(@”preloaded is off”);
    else
    NSLog(@”preloaded is on”);

    if( status.saveState == 0 )
    NSLog(@”saveState is off”);
    else
    NSLog(@”saveState is on”);

    if( status.saveLoginName == 0 )
    NSLog(@”saveLoginName is off”);
    else
    NSLog(@”saveLoginName is on”);

  2. Same as using a bool and doing..

    BOOL someBool = NO;

    someBool = !someBool;

    //someBool is now YES

  3. Another way is this:

    x = 1 – x;

    If x is 1, it is now 0. If it was 0, it’s now 1. Pretty much the same thing as using XOR, but much simpler to understand.

  4. bitwise operations like ^ tend to be significantly faster than other operations.

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