How to delete an element from an array in PHP

While working with PHP array, you may want to remove few elements from an array. PHP has huge variety of array functions by which you can do this. There are different ways to delete an array element from an array in different situations, where some are more useful for some specific tasks than others.

Deleting a single array element

If you want to delete an element from array by key, unset() is the best and simple way.


$arr = [0 => 'a', 1 => 'b', 2 => 'c'];

unset($arr[1]); // specify index of element you want to remove

print_r($arr); // Array ( [0] => a [2] => c )

Note that when you use unset() method, array key remains same. If you also want to reindex the array after element remove, array_splice() is the right option. The array_splice() function removes selected elements from an array and reindex them. 


$arr1 = [0 => 'a', 1 => 'b', 2 => 'c', 3 => 'd'];

array_splice($arr1, 1, 1);


You can also insert new element in place of old element. array_splice() takes forth argument as array for replacement.

// syntax
array_splice($array, offset, length, replacement)

Where $array is selected array, offset is start of the removed portion of array, length is how many elements will be removed. replacement array will be replaced with removed element.


$arr1 = [0 => 'a', 1 => 'b', 2 => 'c', 3 => 'd'];
$arr2 = [4 => 'e', 5 => 'f'];

array_splice($arr1, 1, 2, $arr2);


If you simply want to remove last element of array, array_pop() can be use for that. array_pop() returns the value of the last element of array, shortening the array by one element.


$arr = [0 => 'a', 1 => 'b', 2 => 'c', 3 => 'd'];

$pop = array_pop($arr);


print_r($arr); // Array ( [0] => a [1] => b )
print_r($pop); // d

If you don't know key of element you want to remove, then you can use array_search() to get the key and remove it with unset if found.


$arr = [0 => 'a', 1 => 'b', 2 => 'c', 3 => 'd'];

if (($key = array_search('b', $arr)) !== false) {

Delete multiple array elements

If you want to delete multiple elements from the array and you don't want to use unset() or array_splice() function multiple times, array_diff() will help to remove multiple elements.


$arr = ['blue', 'green', 'yellow', 'red', 'orange', 'yellow'];

$new_arr = array_diff($arr, ['yellow', red]);

print_r($new_arr); // Array ( [0] => blue [1] => green [4] => orange )

I hope you will like this article.