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Unique ownership

12345678910111213#include <memory> #include <utility> struct foo {}; void func(std::unique_ptr<foo> obj) { } int main() { std::unique_ptr<foo> obj = std::make_unique<foo>(); func(std::move(obj)); }

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Requires c++11 or newer.


Transfer unique ownership of a dynamically allocated object to another unit of code.


On line 11, we create a std::unique_ptr which has ownership of a dynamically allocated foo object (created with the std::make_unique utility function). Line 12 then demonstrates passing ownership of this object to the function func. After passing ownership, main no longer has access to the foo object.

As std::unique_ptr is non-copyable, it must be moved instead of being copied. The call to std::move on line 12 allows obj to be treated like a temporary object (the expression std::move(obj) is an rvalue) so that it can be moved into the function.

In other cases, you may instead wish to share ownership of an object.

Note: std::make_unique was introduced in C++14. For C++11, you can roll your own implementation.


  • Joseph Mansfield

Last Updated

27 August 2018


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