# What is Python Set symmetric_difference_update() ?

`Python Set symmetric_difference_update() `

method allows you to update a set by modifying it with the symmetric difference of another set. It’s a handy tool for manipulating sets and performing advanced operations. So, let’s get started and discover the magic of `symmetric_difference_update()`

!

## What is the Purpose of Python set symmetric_difference_update()?

The main purpose of Python set `symmetric_difference_update()`

method is to provide you with a convenient way to update a set with the symmetric difference of another set. But what exactly is the symmetric difference? Well, it’s like combining the unique elements from both sets while excluding the common elements. This method helps you modify a set and keep only the elements that are exclusive to either set. It’s a powerful technique for set manipulation and comparison.

### Syntax and Parameters

Before we dive into practical examples, let’s take a look at the syntax of the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method:

set1.symmetric_difference_update(set2)

In this syntax, `set1`

is the set that you want to update, and `set2`

is the set whose symmetric difference you want to incorporate into `set1`

. Importantly, the original sets will be modified in place, and the resulting set will contain the updated elements.

### I. Updating a Set with the Symmetric Difference of Two Sets

Now, let’s explore how the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method works by updating a set with the symmetric difference of two sets. Imagine we have two sets: `set1`

and `set2`

, representing the favorite destinations of two friends. Our goal is to update `set1`

with the destinations that are unique to each friend. Let’s see how it’s done:

In this example, `set1`

initially contains elements like ‘`Paris`

‘, ‘`London`

‘, ‘`Rome`

‘, and ‘`Tokyo`

‘, while `set2`

contains ‘`London`

‘, ‘`Tokyo`

‘, ‘`New York`

‘, and ‘`Sydney`

‘. By applying the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method on `set1`

with `set2`

as the parameter, we update `set1`

with the symmetric difference, which includes only the unique elements from both sets.

To further solidify our understanding, let’s walk through another example. Suppose we have two sets: `set1`

and `set2`

, representing the favorite foods of a group of friends. Our objective is to update `set1`

with the unique food choices of the group. Let’s take a look:

In this case, `set1`

initially contains elements like ‘`pizza`

‘, ‘`sushi`

‘, ‘`burger`

‘, and ‘`pasta`

‘, while `set2`

contains ‘`sushi`

‘, ‘`pasta`

‘, ‘`salad`

‘, and ‘`tacos`

‘. By applying the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method on `set1`

with `set2`

as the parameter, we update `set1`

with the symmetric difference, which includes only the food choices that are unique to either set.

### II. Handling Sets with Different Data Types

It’s worth noting that the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method can handle sets containing different data types. Whether it’s strings, numbers, or even custom objects, this method will work its magic. Let’s illustrate this with an example:

In this example, `set1`

initially contains elements like the number 1, the string ‘`apple`

‘, and the tuple (`2`

, `3`

). On the other hand, `set2`

contains ‘apple’, the tuple (2, 3), and the floating-point number `4.5`

. By applying the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method on `set1`

with `set2`

as the parameter, we update `set1`

with the symmetric difference, taking into account the unique elements from both sets, regardless of their data types.

## Common Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

When using the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method in Python sets, it’s important to be aware of some common mistakes and pitfalls. By avoiding these, you can ensure smooth and error-free execution of your code. Let’s take a look at a few common pitfalls and how to avoid them:

### I. Difference between symmetric_difference_update() and symmetric_difference()

It’s crucial to understand that `symmetric_difference_update()`

modifies the original set in place, while `symmetric_difference()`

returns a new set without modifying the original set. Be mindful of which method you intend to use based on your requirements.

### II. Passing the wrong set as a parameter

Remember that the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method updates the set on which it is called. Ensure that you’re passing the correct set as a parameter to incorporate the symmetric difference correctly. Swapping the sets can lead to unexpected results.

### III. Forgetting to store the updated set

Since `symmetric_difference_update()`

modifies the set in place, make sure you assign the result back to a variable if you need to use it later in your code. Failure to do so may lead to losing the updated set.

### IV. Mixing up the order of operations

Python set `symmetric_difference_update()`

method follows a specific order of operations. It updates the set on which it is called with the symmetric difference of the two sets. Ensure that you apply the method on the correct set and in the intended order to get the desired results.

### V. Not considering the data types in the sets

Keep in mind that the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method can handle sets with different data types. However, if the data types are not compatible or cannot be compared, it may lead to unexpected errors. Ensure that your sets contain elements that can be compared for symmetric difference operations.

By being mindful of these common mistakes and pitfalls, you can avoid unnecessary errors and make the most out of the `symmetric_difference_update()`

method in Python sets. Happy coding!

`Congratulations!`

You’ve learned all about `Python set symmetric_difference_update()`

method. Now you can confidently update sets by incorporating the symmetric difference of other sets. Remember, this method allows you to keep only the elements that are exclusive to either set. So go ahead, experiment with different sets, and unlock the full potential of set manipulation in Python!