How do I rename a local Git branch?

6 988

1 016

I don't want to rename a remote branch, as described in Rename master branch for both local and remote Git repositories.

How can I rename a local branch which hasn't been pushed to a remote branch?

In case you need to rename remote branch as well:
How to rename a remote git branch name


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 39 167


11 138

If you want to rename a branch while pointed to any branch, do:

git branch -m <oldname> <newname>

If you want to rename the current branch, you can do:

git branch -m <newname>

A way to remember this, is -m is for "move" (or mv), which is how you rename files.


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 123 756

49What I really wanted to know was whether this will necessarily effect the remote branch when/if you push – PandaWood – 2012-01-23T00:15:35.387


@PandaWood: it will add the new branch when you push, but won't delete the old branch. If you use git push -f --mirror, then it will rename the branch on the remote, but you should only use this method if the remote is simply to be a copy of your current repository. See also this question:

– siride – 2012-01-23T06:02:09.320

15@PandaWood, it depends on how push.default is configured. By default (matching) it will push to a remote whose name matches. You would have to do git push origin &lt;newname&gt;:&lt;oldname&gt; or you will create a new remote branch. However, if push.default is set to upstream, then you can push origin head and things will go to the oldname on the remote. – Erin Stanfill – 2013-10-31T23:46:51.823

7@NightOwl888: the -m probably is short for "move", following the Unix convention of using the mv to rename files. The reason for this is that moving and renaming, in a directory-based inode file system, are entirely equivalent. – siride – 2014-09-03T02:27:41.310

May not work on Windows. Git on Windows complains the branch already exists. – Sam Rueby – 2015-03-30T12:23:41.137

2@Sam.Rueby: I am not able to reproduce that error. It works fine for me. I'm using msysgit (git version 1.9.5.msysgit.0) on Windows 7, 64-bit. – siride – 2015-03-30T14:12:48.697

1@Sam.Rueby worked for me, too. I'm using 1.9.0.msysgit.0. – Charles Wood – 2015-04-02T14:04:06.413

36The long name of the -m option is --move, e.g., git branch --move master renames the current branch to be called "master". – robenk – 2015-09-22T17:56:25.647

interesting, it seems that the rename is temporarily case insensitive, even on OSX. Starting from FB12.show_hide_cols, -m fb12.show_hide_cols got me an existing branch error. But -m fb12.show_hide_col, then -m fb12.show_hide_cols got me where I wanted. afterwards, git branch only shows the one renamed branch, just like I wanted. – JL Peyret – 2016-03-22T01:01:27.190

2After doing this, you should also run git push origin :&lt;old_name&gt; &lt;new_name&gt; to update your remote branch names. – David Meza – 2016-04-01T14:52:32.723

1@Sam.Rueby You will need to use -M to rename if you are only changing capitalization, as git will tell you that branch already exists. – Chiel ten Brinke – 2016-07-01T10:09:04.050

6for those who stumble upon this thread and comment, be wary when considering using git push -f --mirror. this will also push all local branches to remote as well, including any unpruned branched. i did this and pushed 30+ old branches to remote...whoops! – liltitus27 – 2016-12-01T17:00:34.690

2Also be very wary of git push -f --mirror because it will quite literally "mirror" your local repo. This may be fine if you are working alone but if you are contributing to a code base with a team git push -f --mirror will delete any branches that aren't on your local. – Bueno – 2018-09-05T20:47:02.930

1Bueno your reply was proven to be true, and should override @robenk's very very dangerous recommendation... – Ezeewei – 2018-11-26T18:54:13.787


git branch -m old_branch_name new_branch_name

The above command will change your branch name, but you have to be very careful using the renamed branch, because it will still refer to the old upstream branch associated with it, if any.

If you want to push some changes into master after your local branch is renamed into new_branch_name (example name):

git push origin new_branch_name:master (now changes will go to master branch but your local branch name is new_branch_name)

For more details, see "How to rename your local branch name in Git."

Madhan Ayyasamy

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 10 081


To rename your current branch:

git branch -m <newname>


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 15 845

126You will need to use -M to rename if you are only changing capitalization, as git will tell you that branch already exists. – cjspurgeon – 2015-05-08T21:04:31.583

1You saved me with this comment. – jpadilladev – 2018-06-19T15:12:16.123

@cjspurgeon Git keeps on amazing me by being so intuitive, to an unexpected extent. Since years. – 0xc0de – 2018-07-16T06:16:56.623


Here are the steps to rename the branch:

1. switch to branch which needs to be renamed
2. git branch -m <new_name>
3. git push origin :<old_name>
4. git push origin <new_name>:refs/heads/<new_name>

EDIT(12/01/2017) : Make sure you run command git status and check that newly created branch is pointing to its own ref and not older one. If you find the reference to older branch, you need to unset the upstream using:

git branch --unset-upstream

Milind Anantwar

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 68 462

In which step would one unset the upstream? Before step 4? – Cyclonecode – 2018-07-01T07:06:44.920

@Cyclonecode: yes. after step 4. But make sure you run git status to check if its has reference to old branch. – Milind Anantwar – 2018-07-01T13:50:22.850


Rename the branch will be useful once your branch is finished. Then new stuff is coming, and you want to develop in the same branch instead of deleting it and create the new one.

From my experience, to rename a local and remote branch in Git you should do the following steps.

Quoting from Multiple States - Rename a local and remote branch in git

1. Rename your local branch

If you are on the branch you want to rename:

git branch -m new-name

If you are on a different branch:

git branch -m old-name new-name

2. Delete the old-name remote branch and push the new-name local branch

git push origin :old-name new-name

3. Reset the upstream branch for the new-name local branch

git push origin -u new-name


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 13 193


The answers so far have been correct but here is some additional info: One can rename a branch with '-m' (move), but one has to be careful, because '-M' forces the rename, even if there is an existing branch with the same name already. Here is the excerpt from the 'git-branch' man page:

With a -m or -M option, <oldbranch> will be renamed to <newbranch>. If <oldbranch> had a corresponding reflog, it is renamed to match <newbranch>, and a reflog entry is created to remember the branch renaming. If <newbranch> exists, -M must be used to force the rename to happen.


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 984

2What happens to the overwritten branch? – Kevin Dice – 2015-06-22T20:06:10.530

It is overwritten by the new name/branch. For example if you have the following branches in git: master b1 <-- current branch b2 after you do 'git branch -M b2' you will only have: master b2 <-- current branch

b1 will be gone and if you wish to recover it you should check it out by its hash. You can see it by typing 'git reflog'. Cheers. – Vanchev – 2015-06-26T16:48:39.503

The -M flag is also useful to force a rename if you are just correcting the case of the branch name, e.g. changing myBranch to MyBranch. (With -m, git returns fatal: A branch named 'MyBranch' already exists.) – Jon Schneider – 2018-02-14T20:10:16.253


1. Rename

If it is your current branch, just do

git branch -m new_name

If it is another branch you want to rename

git branch -m old_name new_name

2. Track a new remote branch

- If your branch was pushed, then after renaming you need to delete it from the remote Git repository and ask your new local to track a new remote branch:

git push origin :old_name
git push --set-upstream origin new_name


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 3 542


I foolishly named a branch starting with a hyphen, and then checked out master. I didn't want to delete my branch, I had work in it.

Neither of these worked:

git checkout -dumb-name

git checkout -- -dumb-name

"s, 's and \s didn't help either. git branch -m doesn't work.

Here's how I finally fixed it. Go into your working copy's .git/refs/heads, find the filename "-dumb-name", get the hash of the branch. Then this will check it out, make a new branch with a sane name, and delete the old one.

git checkout {hash}
git checkout -b brilliant-name
git branch -d -- -dumb-name

Samuel Meacham

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 7 729

8Couldn't you just have renamed the file in refs/heads? – android.weasel – 2013-11-13T18:07:24.773

Ditto. If you have to dig into the directory structure to do this magic, go all the way and do a 'mv -- -dumb-name brilliant-name' Do a 'git branch -av' and you'll see an directory structure of .git/refs. Or maybe 'grep -R ^ .git/refs' to see the hashes directly. – Dave X – 2013-12-19T17:15:08.367

2You could probably have used reflog – Code Whisperer – 2015-01-14T20:27:20.523

Honestly, if that's the route you wanted to take, I'd avoid the (IMO confusing and potentially dangerous if you don't know what you're doing) jaunt through .git directory in the first place, and just do it with some normal commands with some "git log" parsing (using appropriate flags to show branches, and to figure out which shasum you want to checkout a new branch from), and then do it. Then, remove the wonky-named branch. I despise that git insists that you need to understand all of its inner workings to do some things, but greatly appreciate that you can do those things. – Jon V – 2016-02-27T14:37:58.117

It's harder to create a branch with a bad name in 2.10.1+. If you do somehow do it, you can use git branch -v to get the short hash version of your branches(add -r for remote). You can then use git rev-parse <shorthash> to get the full hash if you need it. – House of Dexter – 2017-03-06T17:19:57.380

You can also use git show-ref this will give you the long hash of everything in your local repo. and I mean everything...branches/stashes/tags...etc – House of Dexter – 2017-03-07T19:40:55.860


To rename a branch locally:

git branch -m [old-branch] [new-branch]

Now you'll have to propagate these changes on your remote server as well.

To push changes of the deleted old branch:

git push origin :[old-branch]

To push changes of creation of new branch:

git push origin [new-branch]


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 672


Rename the branch using this command:

git branch -m [old_branch_name] [new_branch_name]

-m: It renames/moves the branch. If there is already a branch, you will get an error.

If there is already a branch and you want to rename with that branch, use:

 git rename -M [old_branch_name] [new_branch_name]

For more information about help, use this command in the terminal:

git branch --help


man git branch

Hafiz Shehbaz Ali

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 547


Advanced Git users can rename manually:

Rename the old branch under .git/refs/heads to the new name

Rename the old branch under .git/logs/refs/heads to the new name

Update the .git/HEAD to point to yout new branch name


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 325


Probably as mentioned by others, this will be a case mismatch in branch naming.

If you have such a situation, I can guess that you're on Windows which will also lead you to:

$ git branch -m CaseSensitive casesensitive
fatal: A branch named 'casesensitive' already exists.

Then you have to do an intermediate step:

$ git branch -m temporary
$ git branch -m casesensitive

Nothing more.


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 369

1Note that this situation might also arise on a Mac, which is also (exceptionally annoyingly) case insensitive in its file system. – Jon V – 2016-02-27T14:41:07.040

Alternatively, you can use -M instead of -m to do this kind of "casing fix" rename in a single step. – Jon Schneider – 2018-02-14T20:09:07.017


Here are three steps: A command that you can call inside your terminal and change branch name.

git branch -m old_branch new_branch         # Rename branch locally
git push origin :old_branch                 # Delete the old branch
git push --set-upstream origin new_branch   # Push the new branch, set local branch to track the new remote

If you need more: step-by-step, How To Change Git Branch Name is a good article about that.

Hazarapet Tunanyan

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 466


Trying to answer specifically to the question (at least the title).

You can also rename local branch, but keeps tracking the old name on the remote.

git branch -m old_branch new_branch
git push --set-upstream origin new_branch:old_branch

Now, when you run git push, the remote old_branch ref is updated with your local new_branch.

You have to know and remember this configuration. But it can be useful if you don't have the choice for the remote branch name, but you don't like it (oh, I mean, you've got a very good reason not to like it !) and prefer a clearer name for your local branch.

Playing with the fetch configuration, you can even rename the local remote-reference. i.e, having a refs/remote/origin/new_branch ref pointer to the branch, that is in fact the old_branch on origin. However, I highly discourage this, for the safety of your mind.

Pierre-Olivier Vares

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 686


To rename current branch (except for detached HEAD state) you can also use this alias:

    mvh = !sh -c 'git branch -m `git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD` $1'


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 490


Another option is not to use the command line at all. Git GUI clients such as SourceTree take away much of the syntactical learning curve / pain that causes questions such as this one to be amongst the most viewed on Stack Overflow.

In SourceTree, right click on any local branch in the "Branches" pane on the left and select "Rename ...".

Steve Chambers

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 21 311

5I wouldn't call it pain. The git command is very easy to use, once you've seen this answer, you'll probably never come back again. The problem is more that, so it seems, the documentation of the git command-line isn't intuitive enough. – Nearoo – 2015-03-08T17:05:54.363

1True but with SourceTree I hardly ever need to worry about checking documentation. Everything is generally intuitive - just right click and see what the options are. (BTW I'm not affiliated with them in any way - just like the tool!) – Steve Chambers – 2015-03-08T17:17:03.267


If you are willing to use SourceTree (which I strongly recommend), you can right click your branch and chose 'Rename'.

enter image description here

Marcin Szymczak

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 6 673


  1. Rename your local branch.

If you are on the branch you want to rename:

git branch -m new-name

If you are on a different branch:

git branch -m old-name new-name
  1. Delete the old-name remote branch and push the new-name local branch.

git push origin :old-name new-name

  1. Reset the upstream branch for the new-name local branch. Switch to the branch and then:

git push origin -u new-name

Or for a fast way to do that, you can use these 3 steps:

# Rename branch locally

git branch -m old_branch new_branch  

# Delete the old remote branch

git push origin :old_branch  

# Push the new branch, set local branch to track the new remote

git push --set-upstream origin new_branch   



Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 495


Since you do not want to push the branch to a remote server, this example will be useful:

Let's say you have an existing branch called "my-hot-feature," and you want to rename it to "feature-15."

First, you want to change your local branch. This couldn't be easier:

git branch -m my-hot-feature feature-15

For more information, you can visit Locally and Remotely Renaming a Branch in Git.


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 186


Changing the branch locally is quite easy...

If you are on the branch you want to change the name, simply do this:

git branch -m my_new_branch

Otherwise, if you are on master or any other branch other than the one you'd like to change the name, simply do:

git branch -m my_old_branch my_new_branch

Also, I create the image below to show this in action in a command line, in this case, you are on master branch for example:

Change branch name locally


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 43 514


git version 2.9.2

If you want to change the name of the local branch you are on:

git branch -m new_name

If you want to change the name of a different branch:

git branch -m old_name new_name

If you want to change the name of a different branch to a name that already exists:

git branch -M old_name new_name_that_already_exists

Note: The last command is destructive and will rename your branch, but you will lose the old branch with that name and those commits because branch names must be unique.


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 232


If you want to change the name of the current branch, run:

git branch -m [old_branch] [new_branch]

If you want to delete the old remote branch, run:

git push origin :[old_branch]

If you want to delete the old remote branch and create a new remote branch, run:

git push origin :old_branch new_branch


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 121


Rename branch:

git branch -m old_branchname new_branchname

here The long name of the -m option is --move. So we can also use

git branch --move old_branchname new_branchname

If you want to rename the current branch then use this.

git branch -m new_branchname


git branch -move new_branchname

If you want to move these changes to remote, then use the following.

git push origin :old_branchname new_branchname

This will delete the old_branchname remote branch and push the new_branchname local branch.

git push origin -u new_branchname

This will reset the upstream branch for the new_branchname local branch.

Ajmal sha

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 047


Simple way to do it :

git branch -m old_branch new_branch         # Rename branch locally    
git push origin :old_branch                 # Delete the old branch    
git push --set-upstream origin new_branch   # Push the new branch, set local branch to track the new remote

For more, see this.


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 239


All of the above are talking about git branch -m.Of course, it's easy to operate, but for me, it may be a little hard to remember another git command. So I tried to get the work down by the command I was familiar with.Yeah, you may guessed it.

I use git branch -b <new_branch_name>.And if you don't want to save the old branch now you can execute git branch -D <old_branch_name> to remove it.

I know it may be a little tedious but it's easier to understood and remember.Hope it‘s helpful for you.

Dai Kaixian

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 697


git branch rename can be done by using

  1. git branch -m oldBranch newBranch

  2. git branch -M oldBranch ExistingBranch

Difference between -m and -M ,

-m: if your trying to rename your branch with exising branch name using -m it will raise an error says, branch already exist. you need to give unique name.


-M: this will help you to force rename with given name even it is exist. so existing branch will overwrite entirely with it...

Here is git terminal example,

[email protected]:~/project/myapp/sunithamakeup$ git branch 
* test1
[email protected]:~/project/myapp/sunithamakeup$ git branch -m test1 test
fatal: A branch named 'test' already exists.
[email protected]:~/project/myapp/sunithamakeup$ git branch -M test1 test
[email protected]:~/project/myapp/sunithamakeup$ git branch 
* test
[email protected]:~/project/myapp/sunithamakeup$ 

Mohideen ibn Mohammed

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 6 869


If you want to:

  • Rename the git repository, run: git branch -m <oldname> <newname>
  • Delete old branch by: git push origin: old-name new-name
  • Commit it using: git commit <newname>
    • and then push using: git push origin new_branch_name:master
  • If you want to check status then use: git status
  • If you want to check out then use: git checkout

Vineet Jain

Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 861



VCS->Git->Branches...->Local Branches->_your_branch_->Rename


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 11


git branch -m old_branch_name  new_branch_name


git branch --move old_branch_name new_branch_name


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 864


For Git GUI users it couldn't be much simpler. In Git GUI, choose the branch name from the drop down list in the "Rename Branch" dialog box created from the menu item Branch:Rename, type a New Name, and click "Rename". I have highlighted where to find the drop down list.

Rename a local Git branch


Posted 2011-07-06T03:20:36.830

Reputation: 1 284