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Primitive Wrapper Classes are Immutable in Java

  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 23 Aug, 2018

Consider below Java program.

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// Java program to demonstrate that prmitive
// wrapper classes are immutable
class Demo
{
    public static void main(String[] args)
    {
        Integer i = new Integer(12);
        System.out.println(i);
        modify(i);
        System.out.println(i);
    }
  
    private static void modify(Integer i)
    {
        i = i + 1;
    }
}

Output :

12
12

The parameter i is reference in modify and refers to same object as i in main(), but changes made to i are not reflected in main(), why?

Explanation:
All primitive wrapper classes (Integer, Byte, Long, Float, Double, Character, Boolean and Short) are immutable in Java, so operations like addition and subtraction create a new object and not modify the old.



The below line of code in the modify method is operating on wrapper class Integer, not an int

i = i + 1;

It does the following:

  1. Unbox i to an int value
  2. Add 1 to that value
  3. Box the result into another Integer object
  4. Assign the resulting Integer to i (thus changing what object i references)

Since object references are passed by value, the action taken in the modify method does not change i that was used as an argument in the call to modify. Thus the main routine still prints 12 after the method returns.

This article is contributed by Yogesh D Doshi. Please write comments if you find anything incorrect, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above

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