call and apply in JavaScript

Both the call and apply methods in JavaScript are used to invoke a function with a specific this value and a set of arguments. However, they differ in how they pass arguments to the function. Let's explore the differences between call and apply with examples:

The call Method

The call method is used to call a function with a given this value and arguments provided individually. The arguments are passed as a comma-separated list after the this value.

function greet(name) { console.log(`Hello, ${name}! My name is ${}.`); } const person = { name: "Mac", };, "Mary"); // Output: Hello, Mary! My name is Mac.

The apply Method

The apply method is similar to call, but it accepts arguments as an array or an array-like object. The array is unpacked, and its elements are passed as individual arguments to the function.

function introduce(age, city) { console.log(`I am ${}, ${age} years old, living in ${city}.`); } const person = { name: "Mary", }; introduce.apply(person, [25, "New York"]); // Output: I am Mary, 25 years old, living in New York.

Differences and Use Cases

Argument Format

  1. call: Accepts arguments individually after the this value.
  2. apply: Accepts arguments as an array or array-like object.

Array Unpacking

  1. call: Arguments are passed individually.
  2. apply: Arguments are unpacked from an array-like object.

Number of Arguments

  1. call: The number of arguments must match the number of parameters in the function.
  2. apply: The number of arguments can vary as long as the array-like object contains the required number of elements.

Choosing Between Them

  1. Use call when you know the exact number of arguments and can provide them individually.
  2. Use apply when you have arguments stored in an array or array-like object and want to pass them as separate arguments.
// Using call to calculate the maximum value in an array const numbers = [4, 9, 2, 7]; const max =, ...numbers); console.log(max); // Output: 9 // Using apply to calculate the maximum value in an array const max = Math.max.apply(null, numbers); console.log(max); // Output: 9


Both call and apply are used to set the this value and invoke a function with specific arguments. The choice between them depends on whether you have arguments in individual variables or an array-like object.