Swift 3 Methods

Mutating Methods

Structures and enumerations are value types. By default, the properties of a value type cannot be modified from within its instance methods.

However, if you need to modify the properties of your structure or enumeration within a particular method, you can opt in to mutating behavior for that method. The method can then mutate (that is, change) its properties from within the method, and any changes that it makes are written back to the original structure when the method ends. The method can also assign a completely new instance to its implicit self property, and this new instance will replace the existing one when the method ends.

You can opt in to this behavior by placing the mutating keyword before the func keyword for that method:

struct Point { var x = 0.0, y = 0.0 mutating func moveBy(x deltaX: Double, y deltaY: Double) { x += deltaX y += deltaY } } var somePoint = Point(x: 1.0, y: 1.0) somePoint.moveBy(x: 2.0, y: 3.0) print("The point is now at (\(somePoint.x), \(somePoint.y))") // Prints "The point is now at (3.0, 4.0)"

Note that you cannot call a mutating method on a constant of structure type, because its properties cannot be changed, even if they are variable properties, as described in Stored Properties of Constant Structure Instances:

let fixedPoint = Point(x: 3.0, y: 3.0) fixedPoint.moveBy(x: 2.0, y: 3.0) // this will report an error

Assigning to self Within a Mutating Method

Mutating methods can assign an entirely new instance to the implicit self property. The Point example shown above could have been written in the following way instead:

struct Point { var x = 0.0, y = 0.0 mutating func moveBy(x deltaX: Double, y deltaY: Double) { self = Point(x: x + deltaX, y: y + deltaY) } }

This version of the mutating moveBy(x:y:) method creates a brand new structure whose x and y values are set to the target location. The end result of calling this alternative version of the method will be exactly the same as for calling the earlier version.

Mutating methods for enumerations can set the implicit self parameter to be a different case from the same enumeration:

enum TriStateSwitch { case off, low, high mutating func next() { switch self { case .off: self = .low case .low: self = .high case .high: self = .off } } } var ovenLight = TriStateSwitch.low ovenLight.next() // ovenLight is now equal to .high ovenLight.next() // ovenLight is now equal to .off

This example defines an enumeration for a three-state switch. The switch cycles between three different power states (off, low and high) every time its next() method is called.