In the realm of algorithmic problem-solving, one challenge that often perplexes developers is the task of reversing a linked list. Today, we’ll aim to unravel the intricacies of this problem and equip you with the insights needed to master this common algorithm.

The Overlooked Power of Linked List Reversal

Linked lists are a fundamental data structure, and understanding how to reverse them is a crucial skill. Yet, many developers may find themselves overlooking the elegance and power hidden within this seemingly straightforward problem. Let’s dive in and explore why mastering linked list reversal is more valuable than it might initially seem.

The Essence of Linked List Reversal

At its core, reversing a linked list involves altering the direction of its elements, turning the tail into the new head. The challenge lies not only in achieving this reversal but also in doing so efficiently (O(n) time complexity) and with a clear understanding of the underlying principles.

Visualizing the Problem

Most examples you’ll find online will give an example like this: a linked list: 1 -> 2 -> 3 -> 4 -> 5. The goal is to reverse it to 5 -> 4 -> 3 -> 2 -> 1. But I think a better way to simulate what actually happens is to only reverse the arrows: 1 <- 2 <- 3 <- 4 <- 5. Visualizing the problem in this manner provides a clear target and helps lay the foundation for an effective solution.

The Iterative Approach

One common approach to solving this problem is through iteration. Here’s a concise Swift implementation:

class ListNode {
    var val: Int
    var next: ListNode?
    init(_ val: Int) {
        self.val = val

func reverseList(_ head: ListNode?) -> ListNode? {
    var prev: ListNode? = nil
    var current = head
    var next: ListNode? = nil

    while current != nil {
        next = current?.next
        current?.next = prev
        prev = current
        current = next

    return prev

Here’s our network service class or the decorate in this case:

Understanding Time Complexity

The iterative approach boasts a time complexity of O(n), where n is the number of elements in the linked list. This makes it an efficient solution for lists of varying lengths.


In this exploration, we’ve demystified the process of reversing linked lists in Swift. By visualizing the problem by simply reversing the arrows, understanding the iterative approach, and considering time complexity, you now possess the tools to tackle linked list reversal with confidence.

That’s all for now, my friends! I hope this post helps you conquer the challenge of reversing linked lists. If you have questions, share them in the comments below. For more insights and future posts, connect with me on on LinkedIn and Twitter, where I share all my new posts.