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The Bitwise XOR operator (^) is a binary operator which takes two bit patterns of equal length and performs the logical exclusive OR operation on each pair of corresponding bits. It returns 1 if only one of the bits is 1, else returns 0.

Bit_1Bit_2Bit_1 ^ Bit_2
000
101
011
110

The below example describes how bitwise XOR operator works:

50 ^ 25 returns 16

     50    ->    110010  (In Binary)
   ^ 25    ->  ^ 011001  (In Binary)
    ----        --------
     43    <-    101011  (In Binary)  

The code of using Bitwise XOR operator (^) is given below:

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
 
int main (){
  int x = 50;
  int y = 25;
  int z;

  //Bitwise XOR operation
  z = x ^ y;

  //Displaying the result
  cout<<"z = "<<z;
  return 0;
}

The output of the above code will be:

z = 43

Example: Swap two numbers without using temporary variable

The bitwise XOR operator can be used to swap the value of two variables. Consider the below example.

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

static void swap(int x, int y) {
  cout<<"Before Swap.\n";
  cout<<"x = "<<x<<"\n";
  cout<<"y = "<<y<<"\n";

  //Swap technique
  x = x ^ y;
  y = x ^ y;
  x = x ^ y;

  cout<<"After Swap.\n";
  cout<<"x = "<<x<<"\n";
  cout<<"y = "<<y<<"\n";
}

int main() {
  swap(10, 25);
  return 0;
}

The above code will give the following output:

Before Swap.
x = 10
y = 25
After Swap.
x = 25
y = 10

❮ C++ - Operators