< cpp‎ | memory‎ | c
Utilities library
General utilities
Relational operators (deprecated in C++20)
Integer comparison functions
Swap and type operations

Common vocabulary types

Elementary string conversions
Dynamic memory management
Smart pointers
(until C++17)
Memory resources
Uninitialized storage
Uninitialized memory algorithms
Constrained uninitialized memory algorithms
Garbage collection support
(C++11)(until C++23)
(C++11)(until C++23)
(C++11)(until C++23)
(C++11)(until C++23)
(C++11)(until C++23)
(C++11)(until C++23)
Defined in header <cstdlib>
void* malloc( std::size_t size );

Allocates size bytes of uninitialized storage.

If allocation succeeds, returns a pointer to the lowest (first) byte in the allocated memory block that is suitably aligned for any scalar type.

If size is zero, the behavior is implementation defined (null pointer may be returned, or some non-null pointer may be returned that may not be used to access storage, but has to be passed to std::free)

The following functions are required to be thread-safe:

Calls to these functions that allocate or deallocate a particular unit of storage occur in a single total order, and each such deallocation call happens-before the next allocation (if any) in this order.

(since C++11)


[edit] Parameters

size - number of bytes to allocate

[edit] Return value

On success, returns the pointer to the beginning of newly allocated memory. To avoid a memory leak, the returned pointer must be deallocated with std::free() or std::realloc().

On failure, returns a null pointer.

[edit] Notes

This function does not call constructors or initialize memory in any way. There are no ready-to-use smart pointers that could guarantee that the matching deallocation function is called. The preferred method of memory allocation in C++ is using RAII-ready functions std::make_unique, std::make_shared, container constructors, etc, and, in low-level library code, new-expression.

For loading a large file, file mapping via OS-specific functions, e.g. mmap on POSIX or CreateFileMapping(A/W) along with MapViewOfFile on Windows, is preferable to allocating a buffer for file reading.

[edit] Example

#include <iostream>   
#include <cstdlib> 
#include <string>
#include <memory>
int main() 
    constexpr std::size_t size = 4;
    if (auto ptr = reinterpret_cast<std::string*>(
            std::malloc(size * sizeof(std::string))))
    {   try
        {   for (std::size_t i = 0; i < size; ++i)
                std::construct_at(ptr + i, 5, 'a' + i);
            for (std::size_t i = 0; i < size; ++i)
                std::cout << "ptr[" << i << "] == " << ptr[i] << '\n';
            std::destroy_n(ptr, size);
        catch(...) {}


p[0] == aaaaa
p[1] == bbbbb
p[2] == ccccc
p[3] == ddddd

[edit] See also

allocation functions
(function) [edit]
(deprecated in C++17)(removed in C++20)
obtains uninitialized storage
(function template) [edit]
C documentation for malloc