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Register accesses

16-bit Thumb instructions can access only a limited set of registers. There are also some restrictions on the use of special-purpose registers by ARM and 32-bit Thumb instructions.

Most 16-bit Thumb instructions can only access R0 to R7. Only a small number of these instructions can access R8-R12, SP, LR, and PC. Registers R0 to R7 are called Lo registers. Registers R8-R12, SP, LR, and PC are called Hi registers.

All 32-bit Thumb instructions can access R0 to R12, and LR. However, apart from a few designated stack manipulation instructions, most Thumb instructions cannot use SP. Except for a few specific instructions where PC is useful, most Thumb instructions cannot use PC.

In ARM state, all instructions can access R0 to R12, SP, and LR, and most instructions can also access PC (R15). However, the use of the SP in an ARM instruction, in any way that is not possible in the corresponding Thumb instruction, is deprecated. Explicit use of the PC in an ARM instruction is not usually useful, and except for specific instances that are useful, such use is deprecated. Implicit use of the PC, for example in branch instructions or load (literal) instructions, is never deprecated.

The MRS instructions can move the contents of a status register to a general-purpose register, where they can be manipulated by normal data processing operations. You can use the MSR instruction to move the contents of a general-purpose register to a status register.

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