Why do I get ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException in Java?

The ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException exception is thrown to indicate that an array has been accessed with an illegal index. The index is either negative or greater than or equal to the size of the array.

Array with 10 elements

For example see the code snippet below:

String[] vowels = new String[]{"a", "i", "u", "e", "o"}
String vowel = vowels[10]; // throws the ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException

Above we create a vowels array with five elements. This will make the array have indexes between 0..4. On the next line we tried to access the tenth element of the array which is illegal. This statement will cause the ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException thrown.

We must understand that arrays in Java are zero indexed. The first element of the array will be at index 0 and the last element will be at index array-size - 1. So be careful with your array indexes when accessing array elements. For example if you have an array with 5 elements this mean that the index of the array is from 0 to 4.

If you are trying to iterate an array using for loop. Make sure the index start from 0 and execute the loop while the index is less than the length of the array, you can get the length of the array using the array length property. Let’s see the code snippet below:

for (int i = 0; i < vowels.length; i++) {
    String vowel = vowels[i];
    System.out.println("vowel = " + vowel);
}

Or if you don’t need the index you can simplify your code using the for-each or enhanced for-loop statement instead of the classic for loop statement as shown below:

for (String vowel : vowels) {
    System.out.println("vowel = " + vowel);
}

How do I use for-each in Java?

Using for-each command to iterate arrays or a list can simplified our code. Below is an example how to do it in Java. The first loop is for iterating array and the second for iterating a list containing a some names.

package org.kodejava.example.lang;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class ForEachExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Integer[] numbers = {10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, 1000000};

        for (Integer i : numbers) {
            System.out.println("Number: " + i);
        }

        List<String> names = new ArrayList<>();
        names.add("James");
        names.add("Joshua");
        names.add("Scott");

        for (String name : names) {
            System.out.println("Name: " + name);
        }
    }
}

The result of the code snippet:

Number: 10
Number: 100
Number: 1000
Number: 10000
Number: 100000
Number: 1000000
Name: James
Name: Joshua
Name: Scott