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Iterators in Python

  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 16 Nov, 2020

Iterator in python is an object that is used to iterate over iterable objects like lists, tuples, dicts, and sets. The iterator object is initialized using the iter() method. It uses the next() method for iteration.

  1. __iter(iterable)__ method that is called for the initialization of an iterator. This returns an iterator object
  2. next ( __next__ in Python 3) The next method returns the next value for the iterable. When we use a for loop to traverse any iterable object, internally it uses the iter() method to get an iterator object which further uses next() method to iterate over. This method raises a StopIteration to signal the end of the iteration.

How an iterator really works in python

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# Here is an example of a python inbuilt iterator
# value can be anything which can be iterate
iterable_value = 'Geeks'
iterable_obj = iter(iterable_value)
while True:
        # Iterate by calling next
        item = next(iterable_obj)
    except StopIteration:
        # exception will happen when iteration will over

Output : 


Below is a simple Python custom iterator that creates iterator type that iterates from 10 to a given limit. For example, if the limit is 15, then it prints 10 11 12 13 14 15. And if the limit is 5, then it prints nothing.


# A simple Python program to demonstrate
# working of iterators using an example type
# that iterates from 10 to given value
# An iterable user defined type
class Test:
    # Constructor
    def __init__(self, limit):
        self.limit = limit
    # Creates iterator object
    # Called when iteration is initialized
    def __iter__(self):
        self.x = 10
        return self
    # To move to next element. In Python 3,
    # we should replace next with __next__
    def __next__(self):
        # Store current value ofx
        x = self.x
        # Stop iteration if limit is reached
        if x > self.limit:
            raise StopIteration
        # Else increment and return old value
        self.x = x + 1;
        return x
# Prints numbers from 10 to 15
for i in Test(15):
# Prints nothing
for i in Test(5):

Output : 


In the following iterations, the for loop is internally(we can’t see it) using iterator object to traverse over the iterables 


# Sample built-in iterators
# Iterating over a list
print("List Iteration")
l = ["geeks", "for", "geeks"]
for i in l:
# Iterating over a tuple (immutable)
print("\nTuple Iteration")
t = ("geeks", "for", "geeks")
for i in t:
# Iterating over a String
print("\nString Iteration")   
s = "Geeks"
for i in s :
# Iterating over dictionary
print("\nDictionary Iteration")  
d = dict()
d['xyz'] = 123
d['abc'] = 345
for i in d :
    print("%s  %d" %(i, d[i]))

Output : 

List Iteration

Tuple Iteration

String Iteration

Dictionary Iteration
xyz  123
abc  345

Generators in Python
This article is contributed by Shwetanshu Rohatgi. Please write comments if you find anything incorrect, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above

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