Auto-release Pools and Background Threads

Regarding Objective-C programming for MAC OS X and IOS:

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Cocoa always expects there to be an autorelease pool available. If a pool is not available, autoreleased objects do not get released and your application leaks memory. If you send an autorelease message when a pool is not available, Cocoa logs a suitable error message. The AppKit and UIKit frameworks automatically create a pool at the beginning of each event-loop iteration, such as a mouse down event or a tap, and drain it at the end. Therefore you typically do not have to create a pool, or even see the code that is used to create one. There are, however, three occasions when you might use your own autorelease pools:

If you are writing a program that is not based on a UI framework, such as a command-line tool.

If you write a loop that creates many temporary objects.

You may create an autorelease pool inside the loop to dispose of those objects before the next iteration. Using an autorelease pool in the loop helps to reduce the maximum memory footprint of the application.

If you spawn a secondary thread.

You must create your own autorelease pool as soon as the thread begins executing; otherwise, your application will leak objects. (See “Autorelease Pools and Threads” for details.)