Bit manipulation in Go

Bit manipulation is important to know when doing data compression, cryptography and optimization.

Bitwise operations include AND, NOT, OR, XOR and bit shifts.

Go supported bit operations include:

| OR
<< left-shift
>> right-shift

Go does not have a dedicated NOT operator like C++ or Python. Instead we have to use the XOR operator to toggle the bits.

var n byte = 0x0F  
fmt.Printf("%08b\n", n)
n = ^n
fmt.Printf("%08b\n", n)

This is the output:


Here are some common bit manipulation algorithms that can be done in Go

  • Swapping integers using XOR since XOR will result in 1 only if both bits are the same.
func swap(a, b int) (int, int) {   
a = a ^ b
b = b ^ a
a = a ^ b
return a, b
  • Toggle bits using XOR
func flip(a int) int{  
return a
  • Find Odd/even using AND
func isEven(n int) bool{  
if n&1 == 1 {
return false
return true
  • Find if a number is power of 2
func isPowerofTwo(n int) bool{  
if (n & (n-1) == 0){
return true
return false
  • Left  Shift to multiply by 2
func multiplyBy2(uint num) uint{
return num << 1
  • Right Shift to divide by 2
func divideBy2(uint num) uint{
return num >> 1
  • Add without using addition operator
func add(a, b int64) int64 {
    for b != 0 {

        // common bits of a and b go to carry
        carry := a & b

        // xor - sum bits where one is not set
        a = a ^ b

        // shift carry by 1
        b = carry << 1

    return a

Go has a built in package that has functions to manipulate bits


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