Trait core::marker::Copy1.0.0[][src]

pub trait Copy: Clone { }
Expand description

Types whose values can be duplicated simply by copying bits.

By default, variable bindings have ‘move semantics.’ In other words:

#[derive(Debug)]
struct Foo;

let x = Foo;

let y = x;

// `x` has moved into `y`, and so cannot be used

// println!("{:?}", x); // error: use of moved value
Run

However, if a type implements Copy, it instead has ‘copy semantics’:

// We can derive a `Copy` implementation. `Clone` is also required, as it's
// a supertrait of `Copy`.
#[derive(Debug, Copy, Clone)]
struct Foo;

let x = Foo;

let y = x;

// `y` is a copy of `x`

println!("{:?}", x); // A-OK!
Run

It’s important to note that in these two examples, the only difference is whether you are allowed to access x after the assignment. Under the hood, both a copy and a move can result in bits being copied in memory, although this is sometimes optimized away.

How can I implement Copy?

There are two ways to implement Copy on your type. The simplest is to use derive:

#[derive(Copy, Clone)]
struct MyStruct;
Run

You can also implement Copy and Clone manually:

struct MyStruct;

impl Copy for MyStruct { }

impl Clone for MyStruct {
    fn clone(&self) -> MyStruct {
        *self
    }
}
Run

There is a small difference between the two: the derive strategy will also place a Copy bound on type parameters, which isn’t always desired.

What’s the difference between Copy and Clone?

Copies happen implicitly, for example as part of an assignment y = x. The behavior of Copy is not overloadable; it is always a simple bit-wise copy.

Cloning is an explicit action, x.clone(). The implementation of Clone can provide any type-specific behavior necessary to duplicate values safely. For example, the implementation of Clone for String needs to copy the pointed-to string buffer in the heap. A simple bitwise copy of String values would merely copy the pointer, leading to a double free down the line. For this reason, String is Clone but not Copy.

Clone is a supertrait of Copy, so everything which is Copy must also implement Clone. If a type is Copy then its Clone implementation only needs to return *self (see the example above).

When can my type be Copy?

A type can implement Copy if all of its components implement Copy. For example, this struct can be Copy:

#[derive(Copy, Clone)]
struct Point {
   x: i32,
   y: i32,
}
Run

A struct can be Copy, and i32 is Copy, therefore Point is eligible to be Copy. By contrast, consider

struct PointList {
    points: Vec<Point>,
}
Run

The struct PointList cannot implement Copy, because Vec<T> is not Copy. If we attempt to derive a Copy implementation, we’ll get an error:

the trait `Copy` may not be implemented for this type; field `points` does not implement `Copy`

Shared references (&T) are also Copy, so a type can be Copy, even when it holds shared references of types T that are not Copy. Consider the following struct, which can implement Copy, because it only holds a shared reference to our non-Copy type PointList from above:

#[derive(Copy, Clone)]
struct PointListWrapper<'a> {
    point_list_ref: &'a PointList,
}
Run

When can’t my type be Copy?

Some types can’t be copied safely. For example, copying &mut T would create an aliased mutable reference. Copying String would duplicate responsibility for managing the String’s buffer, leading to a double free.

Generalizing the latter case, any type implementing Drop can’t be Copy, because it’s managing some resource besides its own size_of::<T> bytes.

If you try to implement Copy on a struct or enum containing non-Copy data, you will get the error E0204.

When should my type be Copy?

Generally speaking, if your type can implement Copy, it should. Keep in mind, though, that implementing Copy is part of the public API of your type. If the type might become non-Copy in the future, it could be prudent to omit the Copy implementation now, to avoid a breaking API change.

Additional implementors

In addition to the implementors listed below, the following types also implement Copy:

  • Function item types (i.e., the distinct types defined for each function)
  • Function pointer types (e.g., fn() -> i32)
  • Array types, for all sizes, if the item type also implements Copy (e.g., [i32; 123456])
  • Tuple types, if each component also implements Copy (e.g., (), (i32, bool))
  • Closure types, if they capture no value from the environment or if all such captured values implement Copy themselves. Note that variables captured by shared reference always implement Copy (even if the referent doesn’t), while variables captured by mutable reference never implement Copy.

Implementors

This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on AArch64 only.
This is supported on ARM only.
This is supported on ARM only.
This is supported on ARM only.
This is supported on ARM only.
This is supported on PowerPC or PowerPC-64 only.
This is supported on PowerPC or PowerPC-64 only.
This is supported on PowerPC or PowerPC-64 only.
This is supported on PowerPC or PowerPC-64 only.
This is supported on WebAssembly only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.
This is supported on x86 or x86-64 only.

Shared references can be copied, but mutable references cannot!