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If you insert a record into a table that contains an AUTO_INCREMENT column, you can obtain the value stored into that column by calling the mysql_insert_id() function.

You can check from your C applications whether a value was stored in an AUTO_INCREMENT column by executing the following code (which assumes that you've checked that the statement succeeded). It determines whether the query was an INSERT with an AUTO_INCREMENT index:

if ((result = mysql_store_result(&mysql)) == 0 &&
    mysql_field_count(&mysql) == 0 &&
    mysql_insert_id(&mysql) != 0)
    used_id = mysql_insert_id(&mysql);

When a new AUTO_INCREMENT value has been generated, you can also obtain it by executing a SELECT LAST_INSERT_ID() statement with mysql_query() and retrieving the value from the result set returned by the statement.

For LAST_INSERT_ID(), the most recently generated ID is maintained in the server on a per-connection basis. It is not changed by another client. It is not even changed if you update another AUTO_INCREMENT column with a nonmagic value (that is, a value that is not NULL and not 0). Using LAST_INSERT_ID() and AUTO_INCREMENT columns simultaneously from multiple clients is perfectly valid. Each client will receive the last inserted ID for the last statement that client executed.

If you want to use the ID that was generated for one table and insert it into a second table, you can use SQL statements like this:

INSERT INTO foo (auto,text)
    VALUES(NULL,'text');         # generate ID by inserting NULL
INSERT INTO foo2 (id,text)
    VALUES(LAST_INSERT_ID(),'text');  # use ID in second table

mysql_insert_id() returns the value stored into an AUTO_INCREMENT column, whether that value is automatically generated by storing NULL or 0 or was specified as an explicit value. LAST_INSERT_ID() returns only automatically generated AUTO_INCREMENT values. If you store an explicit value other than NULL or 0, it does not affect the value returned by LAST_INSERT_ID().

For more information on obtaining the last ID in an AUTO_INCREMENT column: