The “git fetch” command is used to download objects and references from a remote Git repository to your local repository. It allows you to retrieve any changes that have been made in the remote repository since your last interaction with it.
Here’s how it works:
- Fetching Objects: When you run “git fetch”, Git contacts the remote repository specified by its URL and downloads any new objects (commits, trees, blobs) that exist in the remote repository but are not present in your local repository. These objects are necessary to incorporate the latest changes from the remote repository into your local copy.
- Fetching References: In addition to objects, Git also fetches references such as branches, tags, and remote-tracking branches. References are pointers to specific commits in the repository’s history. By fetching references, Git ensures that you have the most up-to-date information about the remote repository’s branch structure and tags.
- Updating Remote-tracking Branches: After fetching the objects and references, Git updates your local copy of the remote-tracking branches. Remote-tracking branches are local references that track the state of branches in the remote repository. They have the prefix “origin/” followed by the branch name. For example, if you fetch changes from a remote repository named “origin” and it has a branch named “master”, Git updates your local “origin/master” branch to reflect the latest state of the remote “master” branch.
- No Automatic Merging: It’s important to note that “git fetch” does not automatically merge the fetched changes into your working branch. It only retrieves the latest changes and updates the remote-tracking branches. To incorporate the fetched changes into your working branch, you need to use other commands like “git merge” or “git rebase”.
By regularly using “git fetch”, you can keep your local repository up to date with the changes made in the remote repository. This allows you to review the latest code, merge branches, or compare differences between branches before integrating the changes into your own work.
git fetch Command Examples
1. Fetch the latest changes from the default remote upstream repository (if set):
# git fetch
2. Fetch new branches from a specific remote upstream repository:
# git fetch remote_name
3. Fetch the latest changes from all remote upstream repositories:
# git fetch --all
4. Also fetch tags from the remote upstream repository:
# git fetch --tags
5. Delete local references to remote branches that have been deleted upstream:
# git fetch --prune