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Difference Between Data Hiding and Data Encapsulation

Data Hiding vs Data Encapsulation

For a computer novice, data hiding and data encapsulation might mean the same thing. However, there are differences between each concept.

Data encapsulation and data hiding fall under object–oriented programming and can be used in different programming languages like C, C++, and others. The two are considered as the two main concepts of the object–oriented programming system. Data encapsulation and data hiding involve objects (classified as values, data, structures, or functions), classes (collection of data and methods), the computer code, and methods.

Data encapsulation is the process of combining and assembling elements in order to create a new entity and the wrapping of private data into a class. The encapsulation involves implementation concerning the data and the method. Data with internal methods are secured into a capsule while the methods are used to access the data inside it. In this manner, the assembly and grouping of all data and requirements inside a capsule makes it independent for an object to function together.

The encapsulation also involves how the class is hidden from users and how the process can be reversed by unlocking the capsule using methods. In data encapsulation, the capsule and the object inside it can be classified as either private or public unless specified or programmed by the programmer.

On the other hand, data hiding is the process of hiding the details of an object or function. It is also a potent technique in programming that results in data security and less data complexity. One of the manifestations of data hiding is that it is used as a method to hide information inside a computer code after the code is broken down and hidden from the object. All objects in the state of data hiding are in isolated units which is the main concept of object-oriented programming.

The data inside is classified as private or non-accessible from other objects, classes, and API’s in the system. The data appear as invisible from outsiders whether objects, other classes, or users. The relationship between data encapsulation and data hiding is that the data encapsulation is one of the chief mechanisms of data hiding. Data hiding works by nesting the data or arranging the data into capsules.

Data hiding has many uses which include:

Security purposes and data protection from data misuse and unauthorized access.
Utilizing changing functions to move with difficulty from the outside.
Hiding the data unauthorized access or use from suspicious users, especially computer hackers who try to manipulate sensitive data or the program.
Hiding the physical storage layout for the data.
The programmer can avoid linking to incorrect data. If a programmer does link to the said data, the program will return an error to protect the content.

Data hiding is usually used or executed upon volatile and sensitive data. These types of data are essential in running the program efficiently and smoothly. If these types of data are manipulated in some way, any user of the program cannot use the application properly. The programmer will have to rewrite the program and fix the errors before further use.


1. Data encapsulation is a process while data hiding is both a process and a technique.
They both share the real concept of object-oriented programming.
2. The data in data encapsulation is either public or private while the data in data hiding is
considered as private and non-accessible.
3. Data encapsulation is one of the mechanisms of data hiding.
4. Data encapsulation’s concern is for consolidation which is related to data’s hiding goal
and less complexity in data. On the other hand, data hiding encompasses not only less
data complexity but also data protection and security.
5. The focus of data encapsulation is on the data inside the capsule while data hiding is
concerned with restrictions and allowance in terms of access and use.

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