POLL(2) System Calls Manual POLL(2)

pollsynchronous I/O multiplexing

#include <poll.h>

int
poll(struct pollfd fds[], nfds_t nfds, int timeout);

() examines a set of file descriptors to see if some of them are ready for I/O or if certain events have occurred on them. The fds argument is a pointer to an array of pollfd structures, as defined in ⟨poll.h⟩ (shown below). The nfds argument specifies the size of the fds array.

struct pollfd {
    int    fd;       /* file descriptor */
    short  events;   /* events to look for */
    short  revents;  /* events returned */
};

The fields of struct pollfd are as follows:

fd
File descriptor to poll.
events
Events to poll for. (See below.)
revents
Events which may occur or have occurred. (See below.)

The event bitmasks in events and revents have the following bits:

POLLERR
An exceptional condition has occurred on the device or socket. This flag is output only, and ignored if present in the input events bitmask.
POLLHUP
The device or socket has been disconnected. This flag is output only, and ignored if present in the input events bitmask. Note that POLLHUP and POLLOUT are mutually exclusive and should never be present in the revents bitmask at the same time.
POLLIN
Data other than high priority data may be read without blocking. This is equivalent to ( POLLRDNORM | POLLRDBAND ).
POLLNVAL
The file descriptor is not open. This flag is output only, and ignored if present in the input events bitmask.
POLLOUT
Normal data may be written without blocking. This is equivalent to POLLWRNORM.
POLLPRI
High priority data may be read without blocking.
POLLRDBAND
Priority data may be read without blocking.
POLLRDNORM
Normal data may be read without blocking.
POLLWRBAND
Priority data may be written without blocking.
POLLWRNORM
Normal data may be written without blocking.

The distinction between normal, priority, and high-priority data is specific to particular file types or devices.

If timeout is greater than zero, it specifies a maximum interval (in milliseconds) to wait for any file descriptor to become ready. If timeout is zero, then () will return without blocking. If the value of timeout is -1, the poll blocks indefinitely.

poll() returns the number of descriptors that are ready for I/O, or -1 if an error occurred. If the time limit expires, poll() returns 0. If poll() returns with an error, including one due to an interrupted call, the fds array will be unmodified and the global variable errno will be set to indicate the error.

poll() will fail if:

[]
Allocation of internal data structures fails. A subsequent request may succeed.
[]
Fds points outside the process's allocated address space.
[]
A signal is delivered before the time limit expires and before any of the selected events occurs.
[]
The nfds argument is greater than OPEN_MAX or the timeout argument is less than -1.

The poll() system call currently does not support devices.

accept(2), connect(2), connectx(2), kevent(2), read(2), recv(2), select(2), send(2), write(2)

The poll() function call appeared in AT&T System V UNIX.

March 18, 2015 macOS 14.4