283. Move Zeroes

Updated: 2024-03-12
2 min read

LeetCode problem

Problem Statement

The problem is asking to move all zeros in an integer array to the end of the array while maintaining the relative order of the non-zero elements. You must do this in-place without making a copy of the array.

Naive Solution

A naive solution could be to create a new list, iterate over the array, add non-zero elements to the new list and count zero elements. Then extend the new list with the same amount of zeros as counted. But this solution requires creating a new list, which contradicts the in-place requirement of the problem.

Hints & Tips

The key to solve this problem is to keep a pointer, let’s call it i, that would track the position where the next non-zero element should be placed.


The provided solution employs a two-pass approach. In the first pass, it iterates over the list and whenever it encounters a non-zero element, it places it at the position i and increments i. After this pass, all non-zero elements are at the beginning of the list and i is set to the position of the first zero element.

In the second pass, it simply assigns zero to all positions from i to the end of the list.


  1. Initialize i to 0.
  2. Iterate over nums. For each element, if it is not zero, assign it to nums[i] and increment i.
  3. After the iteration, i is at the position of the first zero in nums. Now assign zero to nums[i] and increment i. Repeat this step until i reaches the end of nums.

Python Solution

class Solution:
    def moveZeroes(self, nums: List[int]) -> None:
        i = 0
        for x in nums:              # Set the non-zero elements
            if x != 0:
                nums[i] = x
                i += 1

        while i <= len(nums) - 1:   # Set the rest number of zeros
            nums[i] = 0
            i += 1

The solution maintains the relative order of the non-zero elements and minimizes the total number of operations by only doing a single pass through the non-zero elements and then assigning zeros in one go.