Objective-c – What’s the meaning of static variables in an implementation of an interface


I don't quite understand static variables when defined in the implementation of an interface. In methods I do understand how they differ from local variables, but not when defined directly in an implementation.

Look at these examples. What difference do these two make practically?

#include "MyClass.h"

@implementation MyClass
int myInt;


#include "MyClass.h"

@implementation MyClass
static int myInt;

myInt is in both cases visible to all the methods, and if I interpreted a test I ran correctly, myInt will in both cases be the same variable for different instances of the class.

Best Solution

Unfortunately, it has different effects depending on where you use it.

Static Functions:
By default, all functions have a global scope. The static specifier lets you limit the function’s scope to the current file.

Static Local Variables:
When you use the static modifier on a local variable, the function “remembers” its value across invocations. For example, the currentCount variable in the following snippet never gets reset, so instead of storing the count in a variable inside of main(), we can let countByTwo() do the recording for us.

// main.m
#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>

int countByTwo() {
    static int currentCount = 0;
    currentCount += 2;
    return currentCount;

int main(int argc, const char * argv[]) {
    @autoreleasepool {
        NSLog(@"%d", countByTwo());    // 2
        NSLog(@"%d", countByTwo());    // 4
        NSLog(@"%d", countByTwo());    // 6
    return 0;

This use of the static keyword does not affect the scope of local variables.
Read more about the static keyword.