Rust code is incorrect if it exhibits any of the behaviors in the following
list. This includes code within
unsafe blocks and
unsafe only means that avoiding undefined behavior is on the programmer; it
does not change anything about the fact that Rust programs must never cause
It is the programmer’s responsibility when writing
unsafe code to ensure that
any safe code interacting with the
unsafe code cannot trigger these
unsafe code that satisfies this property for any safe client is
called sound; if
unsafe code can be misused by safe code to exhibit
undefined behavior, it is unsound.
Warning: The following list is not exhaustive. There is no formal model of Rust’s semantics for what is and is not allowed in unsafe code, so there may be more behavior considered unsafe. The following list is just what we know for sure is undefined behavior. Please read the Rustonomicon before writing unsafe code.
- Data races.
- Dereferencing (using the
*operator on) a dangling or unaligned raw pointer.
- Breaking the pointer aliasing rules.
&Tfollow LLVM’s scoped noalias model, except if the
- Mutating immutable data. All data inside a
constitem is immutable. Moreover, all data reached through a shared reference or data owned by an immutable binding is immutable, unless that data is contained within an
- Invoking undefined behavior via compiler intrinsics.
- Executing code compiled with platform features that the current platform
does not support (see
- Calling a function with the wrong call ABI or unwinding from a function with the wrong unwind ABI.
- Producing an invalid value, even in private fields and locals. “Producing” a
value happens any time a value is assigned to or read from a place, passed to
a function/primitive operation or returned from a function/primitive
The following values are invalid (at their respective type):
A value other than
1) in a
A discriminant in an
enumnot included in the type definition.
A value in a
charwhich is a surrogate or above
!(all values are invalid for this type).
An integer (
u*), floating point value (
f*), or raw pointer obtained from uninitialized memory.
A reference or
Box<T>that is dangling, unaligned, or points to an invalid value.
Invalid metadata in a wide reference,
Box<T>, or raw pointer:
dyn Traitmetadata is invalid if it is not a pointer to a vtable for
Traitthat matches the actual dynamic trait the pointer or reference points to.
- Slice metadata is invalid if the length is not a valid
usize(i.e., it must not be read from uninitialized memory).
Non-UTF-8 byte sequences in a
rustcachieves this with the unstable
A reference/pointer is “dangling” if it is null or not all of the bytes it
points to are part of the same allocation (so in particular they all have to be
part of some allocation). The span of bytes it points to is determined by the
pointer value and the size of the pointee type. As a consequence, if the span is
empty, “dangling” is the same as “non-null”. Note that slices point to their
entire range, so it is important that the length metadata is never too
large. In particular, allocations and therefore slices cannot be bigger than
Note: Undefined behavior affects the entire program. For example, calling a function in C that exhibits undefined behavior of C means your entire program contains undefined behaviour that can also affect the Rust code. And vice versa, undefined behavior in Rust can cause adverse affects on code executed by any FFI calls to other languages.