String.equals versus == in Java

This article discusses the difference between using the String.equals() method and the "==" operator in Java when comparing strings. We will explore the reasons why the given code snippet may not be working as expected and provide examples to demonstrate how to properly compare strings in Java.

Introduction to String.equals() and "==" operator

In Java, strings are objects of the String class, and there are two common ways to compare strings - using the String.equals() method and the "==" operator.

  • String.equals(): This method compares the content of two strings and returns true if the content is equal, ignoring the case. It is the recommended method for comparing strings in Java.
  • "==" operator: This operator compares the memory addresses of two string objects and returns true if they point to the same memory location. It is not recommended for comparing the content of strings.

The Issue with using "==" operator in the given code snippet

In the provided code snippet, the "==" operator is used to compare the strings "datos[0]" and "usuario". However, this may not work as expected because the "==" operator compares memory addresses rather than the content of the strings.

Strings in Java are immutable, meaning their values cannot be changed once they are created. When a string is created, it is stored in the string pool, which is a special memory area reserved for string objects. When we use the "==" operator to compare strings, it checks if the memory addresses of the two string objects are the same.

However, in the case of the given code snippet, the string "usuario" is created explicitly using the string literal "Jorman", whereas the first token in "datos" is extracted from the "strDatos" string. Even though the content of the two strings may be the same, they are not necessarily stored at the same memory location. Therefore, comparing them using the "==" operator will yield false.

Solution: Using String.equals() method

To compare the content of two strings, we should use the String.equals() method instead of the "==" operator. This method compares the sequence of characters in the strings and returns true if they are equal.

Here's the modified code snippet that uses the String.equals() method:

            String usuario = "Jorman";
            String password = "14988611";

            String strDatos = "Jorman 14988611";
            StringTokenizer tokens = new StringTokenizer(strDatos, " ");
            int nDatos = tokens.countTokens();
            String[] datos = new String[nDatos];
            int i = 0;

            while (tokens.hasMoreTokens()) {
                String str = tokens.nextToken();
                datos[i] = str;


            if (datos[0].equals(usuario)) {

In the modified code snippet, we replace the "==" operator with the String.equals() method when comparing "datos[0]" with "usuario". Now, the comparison will correctly evaluate to true if the content of the two strings is equal.

Additional Tips for String Comparison in Java

  • Use the String.equals() method for comparing strings and not the "==" operator.
  • Be cautious of null values when using the String.equals() method to avoid NullPointerException. Consider using the following pattern to compare strings that may be null:

            if (str1 != null && str1.equals(str2)) {
                // code here


When comparing strings in Java, it is important to use the String.equals() method instead of the "==" operator. The "==" operator compares memory addresses, while the String.equals() method compares the actual content of the strings.

In the given code snippet, replacing the "==" operator with the String.equals() method solves the problem of comparing strings. By understanding the difference and using the appropriate method, you can ensure correct string comparisons in your Java programs.