th 269 - Automatic Closure of Filehandles in Python: Myth or Fact?

Automatic Closure of Filehandles in Python: Myth or Fact?

Posted on
th?q=Does Filehandle Get Closed Automatically In Python After It Goes Out Of Scope? - Automatic Closure of Filehandles in Python: Myth or Fact?

As a Python developer, you may have heard about the concept of automatic closure of file handles. Some say it is a myth while others firmly believe in its existence. So, what is it exactly? Is this a real thing or just a figment of imagination?

Well, the truth is that the automatic closure of file handles is a fact in Python. It is a feature implemented in the language itself to improve the code’s reliability and prevent programming errors. This feature ensures that file handles are automatically closed when they are no longer needed, freeing up system resources and preventing potential memory leaks.

If you are skeptical about the validity of this feature, rest assured that it has been tested and proven. Numerous developers have demonstrated its effectiveness, and it is widely used in production code across different fields.

In conclusion, the automatic closure of file handles is not a myth but a proven fact in Python. If you are a Python developer, it is important to be aware of this feature and make use of it to improve the overall reliability of your code. Read on to discover more about this feature and how you can implement it in your projects.

th?q=Does%20Filehandle%20Get%20Closed%20Automatically%20In%20Python%20After%20It%20Goes%20Out%20Of%20Scope%3F - Automatic Closure of Filehandles in Python: Myth or Fact?
“Does Filehandle Get Closed Automatically In Python After It Goes Out Of Scope?” ~ bbaz


When it comes to programming, every programmer comes across the necessity of working with files. Reading data from or writing data into a file is a part and parcel of any software project. In Python, the built-in function ‘open’ allows us to open files in different modes, which helps in reading or writing data. However, when it comes to closing the file after reading or writing, there is a belief among some programmers that Python automatically closes the file once we are done with accessing its contents. But is this true? Let’s explore this topic further in this article.

What is Automatic Closure of Filehandles?

The automatic closure of filehandles is a mechanism where a programming language automatically closes a file handle once it finishes using it. This is done to ensure that resources are not being held unnecessarily, which can cause issues like memory leaks. The idea behind automatic closure of file handles is that the programming language takes care of resources on behalf of the programmer, preventing unnecessary coding overheads.

The Myth of Automatic Closure of Filehandles in Python

Python’s documentation emphasizes that developers should take care of closing file handles to decrease the chances of data corruption and unexpected result that a good practice to follow. In general, Python leaves the decision to the developers – i.e., whether to close the file handle explicitly or not.

Illusion of Automatic Closure

Many people believe that file handles in Python are automatically closed once the script reaches the end without explicitly calling close(). However, careful inspection of the issue may reveal that it is nothing more than an illusion. When a Python script is finished, the associated file handles are closed as part of the process completion. It is not actually Python closing the handles for you; it is the operating system cleaning up.

Python’s Garbage Collection

Garbage collection is a mechanism in Python where objects that are no longer in use get identified, and their resources are released. Python has a provision where objects can be explicitly deleted via the del keyword or indirectly through the garbage collector. However, closing file handles isn’t handled by the garbage collector since opening file handles isn’t considered as creating new objects. It means Python’s garbage collection mechanism doesn’t ensure the automatic closing of opened file handles.

The Need for Closing File Handles

Keeping an open file handle without closing it can lead to issues such as memory leaks, lowering overall performance, and even corrupting the file being read/written. Explicitly closing the file handle could free up system resources and help prevent unwanted data modifications, ensuring the file’s integrity. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended that developers should close file handles once they are no longer in use.

Table comparison between Explicit vs Implicit closure

Explicit Closure Implicit Closure
Manual closing of file handle using close() Handled by OS on script completion
User control over closing file handles No user control over file handle closure
Recommended practice Illusionary and against convention
Ensures file integrity Inconsistent and prone to errors


To sum up, it is a myth that Python automatically closes file handles once the script has opened and read or written data from it. Instead, leaving an open file handle can lead to memory issues and even corrupt data. Explicitly closing the file handle once done prevents unwanted modifications, ensuring file integrity. In conclusion, developers should follow recommended practices, explicitly close file handles, and avoid relying on illusionary automatic closures.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article about the automatic closure of filehandles in Python. We hope that we were able to provide you with valuable insights into this topic and help you understand whether it is a myth or a fact.

It is clear that some developers have concerns about the automatic closure of filehandles, and there are certainly valid points to be made on both sides of the argument. However, after researching the topic and analyzing the available data, we can confidently say that automatic closure of filehandles in Python is indeed a fact.

While it is important to take precautions and ensure that your code is properly structured and organized, you can rest easy knowing that Python’s built-in mechanisms will handle the closing of filehandles for you. So, the next time you’re coding in Python and working with filehandles, remember to trust in the language’s automatic closure capabilities and focus on building great software.

People also ask about Automatic Closure of Filehandles in Python: Myth or Fact?

  1. Do filehandles in Python automatically close?
  2. Yes, filehandles in Python are automatically closed when their reference goes out of scope or when the program terminates. This behavior is achieved through the use of a garbage collector that frees up system resources such as file handles.

  3. What happens if a filehandle is not closed in Python?
  4. If a filehandle is not closed in Python, it can lead to resource leaks and other problems. For example, if a program opens too many files without closing them, it may eventually run out of available file handles and crash.

  5. Can I force a filehandle to close in Python?
  6. Yes, you can force a filehandle to close in Python by calling the close() method on the file object. This is especially important if you are working with large files or if you need to release system resources immediately after using a file.

  7. Is it good practice to rely on automatic closure of filehandles in Python?
  8. While Python’s automatic closure of filehandles is convenient, it is generally considered good practice to explicitly close filehandles when they are no longer needed. This helps to prevent resource leaks and ensures that your code behaves predictably across different platforms and versions of Python.