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Processor modes, and privileged and unprivileged software execution

ARM processors support the processor modes shown in Table 1.

Table 1. ARM processor modes
Processor modeMode number
User0b10000
FIQ0b10001
IRQ0b10010
Supervisor0b10011
Abort0b10111
Undefined0b11011
System0b11111
Monitor0b10110
Hypervisor0b11010

User mode is an unprivileged mode, and has restricted access to system resources. All other modes have full access to system resources in the current security state, can change mode freely, and execute software as privileged.

Applications that require task protection usually execute in User mode. Some embedded applications might run entirely in any mode other than User mode. An application that requires full access to system resources usually executes in System mode.

Modes other than User mode are entered to service exceptions, or to access privileged resources.

Code can run in either a secure state or in a non-secure state. Hypervisor (Hyp) mode has privileged execution in non-secure state.

See also

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