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A void pointer is a C convention for "a raw address." The compiler has no idea what type of object a void pointer "really points to." If you write int *ip; ip points to an int. If you write void *p; p doesn't point to a void! In C and C++, any time you need a void pointer, you can use another pointer type. For example, if you have a char*, you can pass it to a function that expects a void*. You don't even need to cast it. In C (but not in C++), you can use a void* any time you need any kind of pointer, without casting. (In C++, you need to cast it.)