This article generalizes our previous results [Le Maître. The number of topological generators for full groups of ergodic equivalence relations. Invent. Math. 198 (2014), 261–268] to the non-ergodic case by giving a formula relating the topological rank of the full group of an aperiodic probability-measure-preserving (pmp) equivalence relation to the cost of its ergodic components. Furthermore, we obtain examples of full groups that have a dense free subgroup whose rank is equal to the topological rank of the full group, using a Baire category argument. We then study the automatic continuity property for full groups of aperiodic equivalence relations, and find a connected metric for which they have the automatic continuity property. This allows us to provide an algebraic characterization of aperiodicity for pmp equivalence relations, namely the non-existence of homomorphisms from their full groups into totally disconnected separable groups. A simple proof of the extreme amenability of full groups of hyperfinite pmp equivalence relations is also given, generalizing a result of Giordano and Pestov to the non-ergodic case [Giordano and Pestov. Some extremely amenable groups related to operator algebras and ergodic theory. J. Inst. Math. Jussieu
6(2) (2007), 279–315, Theorem 5.7].