unset

(PHP 3, PHP 4, PHP 5)

unset -- Unset a given variable

Description

void unset ( mixed var [, mixed var [, mixed ...]] )

unset() destroys the specified variables. Note that in PHP 3, unset() will always return TRUE (actually, the integer value 1). In PHP 4, however, unset() is no longer a true function: it is now a statement. As such no value is returned, and attempting to take the value of unset() results in a parse error.

Example 1. unset() example

<?php
// destroy a single variable
unset($foo);

// destroy a single element of an array
unset($bar['quux']);

// destroy more than one variable
unset($foo1, $foo2, $foo3);
?>

Note: It is possible to unset even object properties visible in current context.

The behavior of unset() inside of a function can vary depending on what type of variable you are attempting to destroy.

If a globalized variable is unset() inside of a function, only the local variable is destroyed. The variable in the calling environment will retain the same value as before unset() was called.

<?php
function destroy_foo()
{
    global
$foo;
    unset(
$foo);
}

$foo = 'bar';
destroy_foo();
echo
$foo;
?>

The above example will output:

bar

If you would like to unset() a global variable inside of a function, you can use the $GLOBALS array to do so:

<?php
function foo()
{
    unset(
$GLOBALS['bar']);
}

$bar = "something";
foo();
?>

If a variable that is PASSED BY REFERENCE is unset() inside of a function, only the local variable is destroyed. The variable in the calling environment will retain the same value as before unset() was called.

<?php
function foo(&$bar)
{
    unset(
$bar);
    
$bar = "blah";
}

$bar = 'something';
echo
"$bar\n";

foo($bar);
echo
"$bar\n";
?>

The above example will output:

something
something

If a static variable is unset() inside of a function, unset() destroys the variable only in the context of the rest of a function. Following calls will restore the previous value of a variable.

<?php
function foo()
{
    static
$bar;
    
$bar++;
    echo
"Before unset: $bar, ";
    unset(
$bar);
    
$bar = 23;
    echo
"after unset: $bar\n";
}

foo();
foo();
foo();
?>

The above example will output:

Before unset: 1, after unset: 23
Before unset: 2, after unset: 23
Before unset: 3, after unset: 23

Note: Because this is a language construct and not a function, it cannot be called using variable functions

See also isset(), empty(), and array_splice().


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