NEW: My new book Pro SwiftUI is out now – level up your SwiftUI skills today! >>

How to skip loop items with break and continue

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Updated for Xcode 14.2

Swift gives us two ways to skip one or more items in a loop: continue skips the current loop iteration, and break skips all remaining iterations. Like while loops these are sometimes used, but in practice much less than you might think.

Let’s look at them individually, starting with continue. When you’re looping over an array of data, Swift will take out one item from the array and execute the loop body using it. If you call continue inside that loop body, Swift will immediately stop executing the current loop iteration and jump to the next item in the loop, where it will carry on as normal. This is commonly used near the start of loops, where you eliminate loop variables that don’t pass a test of your choosing.

Here’s an example:

let filenames = ["me.jpg", "work.txt", "sophie.jpg", "logo.psd"]

for filename in filenames {
    if filename.hasSuffix(".jpg") == false {

    print("Found picture: \(filename)")

That creates an array of filename strings, then loops over each one and checks to make sure it has the suffix “.jpg” – that it’s a picture. continue is used with all the filenames failing that test, so that the rest of the loop body is skipped.

As for break, that exits a loop immediately and skips all remaining iterations. To demonstrate this, we could write some code to calculate 10 common multiples for two numbers:

let number1 = 4
let number2 = 14
var multiples = [Int]()

for i in 1...100_000 {
    if i.isMultiple(of: number1) && i.isMultiple(of: number2) {

        if multiples.count == 10 {


That does quite a lot:

  1. Create two constants to hold two numbers.
  2. Create an integer array variable that will store common multiples of our two numbers.
  3. Count from 1 through 100,000, assigning each loop variable to i.
  4. If i is a multiple of both the first and second numbers, append it to the integer array.
  5. Once we hit 10 multiples, call break to exit the loop.
  6. Print out the resulting array.

So, use continue when you want to skip the rest of the current loop iteration, and use break when you want to skip all remaining loop iterations.

Hacking with Swift is sponsored by Essential Developer

SPONSORED From March 20th to 26th, you can join a FREE crash course for mid/senior iOS devs who want to achieve an expert level of technical and practical skills – it’s the fast track to being a complete senior developer!

Click to save your free spot now

Sponsor Hacking with Swift and reach the world's largest Swift community!

Buy Pro Swift Buy Pro SwiftUI Buy Swift Design Patterns Buy Testing Swift Buy Hacking with iOS Buy Swift Coding Challenges Buy Swift on Sundays Volume One Buy Server-Side Swift Buy Advanced iOS Volume One Buy Advanced iOS Volume Two Buy Advanced iOS Volume Three Buy Hacking with watchOS Buy Hacking with tvOS Buy Hacking with macOS Buy Dive Into SpriteKit Buy Swift in Sixty Seconds Buy Objective-C for Swift Developers Buy Beyond Code

Was this page useful? Let us know!

Average rating: 4.5/5

Unknown user

You are not logged in

Log in or create account

Link copied to your pasteboard.