Javatpoint Logo
Javatpoint Logo

Python Bitwise XOR Operator

Binary language is the language of a computer. All the inner mechanisms of a computer happen concerning bits. Bitwise operators are the set of operators that allow the programmer to perform bitwise operations on integers. These operators allow the programmer to manipulate the lower-level data in a computer. There are a total of six bitwise operators in Python:

  1. Bitwise AND
  2. Bitwise OR
  3. Bitwise NOT
  4. Bitwise XOR
  5. Bitwise right shift
  6. Bitwise left shift

This article discusses the Bitwise XOR operator with examples.

  • When we apply a bitwise operator on two operands, the integer values are converted into their binary forms-into bits.
  • Then, the operator performs the operation bit-by-bit on every individual bit.
  • After the operation, the binary number is converted to decimal form and returned as the output.

Now, let us understand the operation of Bitwise XOR:

  • It is called "Exclusive OR". It excludes the 1 | 1 -> 1 condition from 'or'.
  • It is a binary operator - performed between two operands.
  • Representation: a ^ b where 'a' and 'b' are two operands.
  • Return value: It returns an integer when performed between two integers and a Boolean value when performed between two Boolean values.


  1. The given two integers are converted into binary form.
  2. In the two binary notations:
  • If both corresponding bits are the same - (1 ^ 1), (0 ^ 0), it returns 0.
  • If both corresponding bits are different - (1 ^ 0), (0 ^ 1), it returns 1.
  • After xor is performed on all the bits, the resultant binary number is converted back to decimal and returned.
  • The truth table of XOR:

    Bit 1 (operand 1) Bit 2 (operand 2) Return value
    1 1 0
    0 0 0
    1 0 1
    0 1 1

    Let us understand the concept using an example:

    If we want to perform:

    3 ^ 4:

    1. Both the integers are converted into binary forms:

    3 -> 0 1 1

    4 -> 1 0 0

    2. Now, xor is applied bitwise:

    Python Bitwise XOR Operator

    3. Finally, the resultant binary number is converted back to its decimal form.

    1 1 1 represents 7

    4. Output -> 7

    3 ^ 4 -> 7

    Now, for the same operands, let us write a code for xor:


    Python Bitwise XOR Operator

    On Boolean values:

    We can perform xor on Boolean values. When we operate on two integers, 1 is equivalent to Boolean True, and 0 is equivalent to Boolean False.

    Truth table:

    Operand 1 Operand 2 Operand 1 ^ Operand 2
    True True False
    False False False
    True False True
    False True True


    Python Bitwise XOR Operator

    Structure of outputs:

    • If we performed xor on a and b -> a ^ b. As a result, we got some integer c (a ^ b -> c) then,
    1. If we perform xor on c and a, b will be the output -> c ^ a -> b
    2. If we perform xor on c and b, a will be the output -> c ^ b -> a

    Let us take the above example:

    Python Bitwise XOR Operator



    Python Bitwise XOR Operator


    If a ^ b -> c


    c ^ a -> b

    c ^ b -> a

    • If we know the output and one operand, we can find the other operand using this relation.
    • This relation is only possible with xor because of its truth table.

    Role of xor in cryptography:

    The above relation got xor a small role in cryptography models.

    • If a person 'A' wants to send a numerically encoded message to another person 'B' confidentially, he needs one more simple cover for the encoded message.
    • Both A and B will have a secret key known to each other beforehand.
    • Now, A will XOR the message with the secret key and send it to B.
    • After receiving, B can perform xor again with the received xor result and secret key and get the message.


    If A wants to send the message 3 to B and their secret key is 4

    3 ^ 4 -> 5.

    A will send 5 to B.

    B already knows the secret key is 4.

    He will decrypt the message using xor again:

    5 ^ 4 -> 3

    Message successfully received.

    • This method is the simplest, and so is the weakest cryptography method.

    Next TopicPython New Line

    Youtube For Videos Join Our Youtube Channel: Join Now


    Help Others, Please Share

    facebook twitter pinterest

    Learn Latest Tutorials


    Trending Technologies

    B.Tech / MCA