Registered Extension Number




Ratification Status


Extension and Version Dependencies

Version 1.1

Deprecation state

  • Promoted to Vulkan 1.3


Other Extension Metadata

Last Modified Date


Interactions and External Dependencies
  • Promoted to Vulkan 1.3 Core

  • Interacts with VK_KHR_create_renderpass2

  • Tobias Hector


This extension modifies the original core synchronization APIs to simplify the interface and improve usability of these APIs. It also adds new pipeline stage and access flag types that extend into the 64-bit range, as we have run out within the 32-bit range. The new flags are identical to the old values within the 32-bit range, with new stages and bits beyond that.

Pipeline stages and access flags are now specified together in memory barrier structures, making the connection between the two more obvious. Additionally, scoping the pipeline stages into the barrier structs allows the use of the MEMORY_READ and MEMORY_WRITE flags without sacrificing precision. The per-stage access flags should be used to disambiguate specific accesses in a given stage or set of stages - for instance, between uniform reads and sampling operations.

Layout transitions have been simplified as well; rather than requiring a different set of layouts for depth/stencil/color attachments, there are generic VK_IMAGE_LAYOUT_ATTACHMENT_OPTIMAL_KHR and VK_IMAGE_LAYOUT_READ_ONLY_OPTIMAL_KHR layouts which are contextually applied based on the image format. For example, for a depth format image, VK_IMAGE_LAYOUT_READ_ONLY_OPTIMAL_KHR is equivalent to VK_IMAGE_LAYOUT_DEPTH_READ_ONLY_OPTIMAL_KHR. VK_IMAGE_LAYOUT_READ_ONLY_OPTIMAL_KHR also functionally replaces VK_IMAGE_LAYOUT_SHADER_READ_ONLY_OPTIMAL.

Events are now more efficient, because they include memory dependency information when you set them on the device. Previously, this information was only known when waiting on an event, so the dependencies could not be satisfied until the wait occurred. That sometimes meant stalling the pipeline when the wait occurred. The new API provides enough information for implementations to satisfy these dependencies in parallel with other tasks.

Queue submission has been changed to wrap command buffers and semaphores in extensible structures, which incorporate changes from Vulkan 1.1, VK_KHR_device_group, and VK_KHR_timeline_semaphore. This also adds a pipeline stage to the semaphore signal operation, mirroring the existing pipeline stage specification for wait operations.

Other miscellaneous changes include:

  • Events can now be specified as interacting only with the device, allowing more efficient access to the underlying object.

  • Image memory barriers that do not perform an image layout transition can be specified by setting oldLayout equal to newLayout.

    • E.g. the old and new layout can both be set to VK_IMAGE_LAYOUT_UNDEFINED, without discarding data in the image.

  • Queue family ownership transfer parameters are simplified in some cases.

  • Where two synchronization commands need to be matched up (queue transfer operations, events), the dependency information specified in each place must now match completely for consistency.

  • Extensions with commands or functions with a VkPipelineStageFlags or VkPipelineStageFlagBits parameter have had those APIs replaced with equivalents using VkPipelineStageFlags2KHR.

  • The new event and barrier interfaces are now more extensible for future changes.

  • Relevant pipeline stage masks can now be specified as empty with the new VK_PIPELINE_STAGE_NONE_KHR and VK_PIPELINE_STAGE_2_NONE_KHR values.

  • VkMemoryBarrier2KHR can be chained to VkSubpassDependency2, overriding the original 32-bit stage and access masks.

New Base Types

New Commands

New Structures

New Enums

New Bitmasks

New Enum Constants



  • Extending VkAccessFlagBits:


  • Extending VkEventCreateFlagBits:


  • Extending VkImageLayout:



  • Extending VkPipelineStageFlagBits:


  • Extending VkStructureType:









If VK_KHR_fragment_shading_rate is supported:

Promotion to Vulkan 1.3

Functionality in this extension is included in core Vulkan 1.3, with the KHR suffix omitted. The original type, enum and command names are still available as aliases of the core functionality.


Version History

  • Revision 1, 2020-12-03 (Tobias Hector)

    • Internal revisions

See Also

Document Notes

For more information, see the Vulkan Specification

This page is a generated document. Fixes and changes should be made to the generator scripts, not directly.

Copyright 2014-2023 The Khronos Group Inc.

SPDX-License-Identifier: CC-BY-4.0