Using NSNull

The NSNull class defines a singleton object you use to represent null values in situations where nil is prohibited as a value (typically in a collection object such as an array or a dictionary).

NSNull *nullValue = [NSNull null];
NSArray *arrayWithNull = @[nullValue];
NSLog(@"arrayWithNull: %@", arrayWithNull);
// Output: "arrayWithNull: (<null>)"

It is important to appreciate that the NSNull instance is semantically different from NO or false—these both represent a logical value; the NSNull instance represents the absence of a value. The NSNull instance is semantically equivalent to nil, however it is also important to appreciate that it is not equal to nil. To test for a null object value, you must therefore make a direct object comparison.

id aValue = [arrayWithNull objectAtIndex:0];
if (aValue == nil) {
    NSLog(@"equals nil");
else if (aValue == [NSNull null]) {
    NSLog(@"equals NSNull instance");
    if ([aValue isEqual:nil]) {
// Output: "equals NSNull instance"