How do I check out a remote Git branch?

GitGit CheckoutRemote Branch

Git Problem Overview

Somebody pushed a branch called test with git push origin test to a shared repository. I can see the branch with git branch -r.

How do I check out the remote test branch? I've tried:

  • git checkout test, which does nothing
  • git checkout origin/test gives * (no branch)

Git Solutions

Solution 1 - Git

The answer has been split depending on whether there is one remote repository configured or multiple. The reason for this is that for the single remote case, some of the commands can be simplified as there is less ambiguity.

Updated for Git 2.23: For older versions, see the section at the end.

With One Remote

In both cases, start by fetching from the remote repository to make sure you have all the latest changes downloaded.

$ git fetch

This will fetch all of the remote branches for you. You can see the branches available for checkout with:

$ git branch -v -a


The branches that start with remotes/* can be thought of as read only copies of the remote branches. To work on a branch you need to create a local branch from it. This is done with the Git command switch (since Git 2.23) by giving it the name of the remote branch (minus the remote name):

$ git switch test

In this case Git is guessing (can be disabled with --no-guess) that you are trying to checkout and track the remote branch with the same name.

With Multiple Remotes

In the case where multiple remote repositories exist, the remote repository needs to be explicitly named.

As before, start by fetching the latest remote changes:

$ git fetch origin

This will fetch all of the remote branches for you. You can see the branches available for checkout with:

$ git branch -v -a

With the remote branches in hand, you now need to check out the branch you are interested in with -c to create a new local branch:

$ git switch -c test origin/test

For more information about using git switch:

$ man git-switch

I also created the image below for you to share the differences, look at how to fetch works, and also how it's different to pull:

enter image description here

Prior to Git 2.23

git switch was added in Git 2.23, prior to this git checkout was used to switch branches.

To checkout out with only a single remote repository:

git checkout test

if there there are multiple remote repositories configured it becomes a bit longer

git checkout -b test <name of remote>/test

Solution 2 - Git

Sidenote: With modern Git (>= 1.6.6), you are able to use just

git checkout test

(note that it is 'test' not 'origin/test') to perform magical" title="Do What I Mean">DWIM-mery and create local branch 'test' for you, for which upstream would be remote-tracking branch 'origin/test'.

The * (no branch) in git branch output means that you are on unnamed branch, in so called "detached HEAD" state (HEAD points directly to commit, and is not symbolic reference to some local branch). If you made some commits on this unnamed branch, you can always create local branch off current commit:

git checkout -b test HEAD

A more modern approach as suggested in the comments:

> @Dennis: git checkout <non-branch>, for example git checkout > origin/test results in detached HEAD / unnamed branch, while git > checkout test or git checkout -b test origin/test results in local > branch test (with remote-tracking branch origin/test as upstream) – > Jakub Narębski Jan 9 '14 at 8:17

emphasis on git checkout origin/test

Solution 3 - Git

In this case, you probably want to create a local test branch which is tracking the remote test branch:

$ git branch test origin/test

In earlier versions of git, you needed an explicit --track option, but that is the default now when you are branching off a remote branch.

To create the local branch and switch to it, use:

$ git checkout -b test origin/test

Solution 4 - Git

Accepted answer not working for you?

While the first and selected answer is technically correct, there's the possibility you have not yet retrieved all objects and refs from the remote repository. If that is the case, you'll receive the following error:

$ git checkout -b remote_branch origin/remote_branch

> fatal: git checkout: updating paths is incompatible with switching branches.
> Did you intend to checkout 'origin/remote_branch' which can not be resolved as commit?


If you receive this message, you must first do a git fetch origin where origin is the name of the remote repository prior to running git checkout remote_branch. Here's a full example with responses:

$ git fetch origin
remote: Counting objects: 140, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (30/30), done.
remote: Total 69 (delta 36), reused 66 (delta 33)
Unpacking objects: 100% (69/69), done.
   e6ef1e0..5029161  develop    -> origin/develop
 * [new branch]      demo       -> origin/demo
   d80f8d7..359eab0  master     -> origin/master

$ git checkout demo
Branch demo set up to track remote branch demo from origin.
Switched to a new branch 'demo'

As you can see, running git fetch origin retrieved any remote branches we were not yet setup to track on our local machine. From there, since we now have a ref to the remote branch, we can simply run git checkout remote_branch and we'll gain the benefits of remote tracking.

Solution 5 - Git

I tried the above solution, but it didn't work. Try this, it works:

git fetch origin 'remote_branch':'local_branch_name'

This will fetch the remote branch and create a new local branch (if not exists already) with name local_branch_name and track the remote one in it.

Solution 6 - Git

This will DWIM for a remote not named origin (documentation):

$ git checkout -t remote_name/remote_branch

To add a new remote, you will need to do the following first:

$ git remote add remote_name location_of_remote
$ git fetch remote_name

The first tells Git the remote exists, the second gets the commits.

Solution 7 - Git



Other answers do not work with modern Git in my benign case. You might need to pull first if the remote branch is new, but I haven't checked that case.

Solution 8 - Git

You basically see the branch, but you don't have a local copy yet!...

You need to fetch the branch...

You can simply fetch and then checkout to the branch, use the one line command below to do that:

git fetch && git checkout test

I also created the image below for you to share the differences, look at how fetch works and also how it's different to pull:

git fetch

Solution 9 - Git

To clone a Git repository, do:

git clone <either ssh url /http url>

The above command checks out all of the branches, but only the master branch will be initialized. If you want to checkout the other branches, do:

git checkout -t origin/future_branch (for example)

This command checks out the remote branch, and your local branch name will be same as the remote branch.

If you want to override your local branch name on checkout:

git checkout -t -b enhancement origin/future_branch

Now your local branch name is enhancement, but your remote branch name is future_branch.

Solution 10 - Git

You can try

git fetch remote
git checkout --track -b local_branch_name origin/branch_name


git fetch
git checkout -b local_branch_name origin/branch_name

Solution 11 - Git

I was stuck in a situation seeing error: pathspec 'desired-branch' did not match any file(s) known to git. for all of the suggestions above. I'm on Git version

So this worked for me:

git fetch origin desired-branch
git checkout -b desired-branch FETCH_HEAD

The explanation behind is that I've noticed that when fetching the remote branch, it was fetched to FETCH_HEAD:

git fetch origin desired-branch

    * branch            desired-branch -> FETCH_HEAD

Solution 12 - Git

First, you need to do:

git fetch # If you don't know about branch name

git fetch origin branch_name

Second, you can check out remote branch into your local by:

git checkout -b branch_name origin/branch_name

-b will create new branch in specified name from your selected remote branch.

Solution 13 - Git

I use the following command:

git checkout --track origin/other_remote_branch

Solution 14 - Git


git fetch --all
git checkout -b <ur_new_local_branch_name> origin/<Remote_Branch_Name>

are equal to

 git fetch --all

and then

 git checkout -b fixes_for_dev origin/development

Both will create a latest fixes_for_dev from development

Solution 15 - Git

Simply run git checkout with the name of the remote branch. Git will automatically create a local branch that tracks the remote one:

git fetch
git checkout test

However, if that branch name is found in more than one remote, this won't work as Git doesn't know which to use. In that case you can use either:

git checkout --track origin/test


git checkout -b test origin/test

In 2.19, Git learned the checkout.defaultRemote configuration, which specifies a remote to default to when resolving such an ambiguity.

Solution 16 - Git

If the branch is on something other than the origin remote I like to do the following:

$ git fetch
$ git checkout -b second/next upstream/next

This will checkout the next branch on the upstream remote in to a local branch called second/next. Which means if you already have a local branch named next it will not conflict.

$ git branch -a
* second/next

Solution 17 - Git

None of these answers worked for me. This worked:

git checkout -b feature/branch remotes/origin/feature/branch

Solution 18 - Git

git fetch && git checkout your-branch-name

Solution 19 - Git

The git remote show <origin name> command will list all branches (including un-tracked branches). Then you can find the remote branch name that you need to fetch.


$ git remote show origin

Use these steps to fetch remote branches:

git fetch <origin name> <remote branch name>:<local branch name>
git checkout <local branch name > (local branch name should the name that you given fetching)


$ git fetch origin test:test
$ git checkout test

Solution 20 - Git

git branch -r says the object name is invalid, because that branch name isn't in Git's local branch list. Update your local branch list from origin with:

git remote update

And then try checking out your remote branch again.

This worked for me.

I believe git fetch pulls in all remote branches, which is not what the original poster wanted.

Solution 21 - Git

Fetch from the remote and checkout the branch.

git fetch <remote_name> && git checkout <branch_name> 

E.g.: >git fetch origin && git checkout feature/XYZ-1234-Add-alerts

Solution 22 - Git

Other guys and gals give the solutions, but maybe I can tell you why.

> git checkout test which does nothing

Does nothing doesn't equal doesn't work, so I guess when you type 'git checkout test' in your terminal and press enter key, no message appears and no error occurs. Am I right?

If the answer is 'yes', I can tell you the cause.

The cause is that there is a file (or folder) named 'test' in your work tree.

When git checkout xxx parsed,

  1. Git looks on xxx as a branch name at first, but there isn't any branch named test.
  2. Then Git thinks xxx is a path, and fortunately (or unfortunately), there is a file named test. So git checkout xxx means discard any modification in xxx file.
  3. If there isn't file named xxx either, then Git will try to create the xxx according to some rules. One of the rules is create a branch named xxx if remotes/origin/xxx exists.

Solution 23 - Git

To get newly created branches

git fetch

To switch into another branch

git checkout BranchName

Solution 24 - Git

git checkout -b "Branch_name" [ B means Create local branch]

git branch --all

git checkout -b "Your Branch name"

git branch

git pull origin "Your Branch name"

successfully checkout from the master branch to dev branch

enter image description here

Solution 25 - Git

You can start tracking all remote branches with the following Bash script:

git fetch --all
for branch in `git branch -r --format="%(refname:short)" | sed 's/origin\///'`
  do git branch -f --track "$branch" "origin/$branch"

Here is also a single-line version:

git fetch --all; for branch in `git branch -r --format="%(refname:short)" | sed 's/origin\///'`; do git branch --track "$branch" "origin/$branch" ; done ;

Solution 26 - Git

For us, it seems the remote.origin.fetch configuration gave a problem. Therefore, we could not see any other remote branches than master, so git fetch [--all] did not help. Neither git checkout mybranch nor git checkout -b mybranch --track origin/mybranch did work, although it certainly was at remote.

The previous configuration only allowed master to be fetched:

$ git config --list | grep fetch

Fix it by using * and fetch the new information from origin:

$ git config remote.origin.fetch '+refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*'

$ git fetch
 * [new branch] ...

Now we could git checkout the remote branch locally.

No idea how this config ended up in our local repo.

Solution 27 - Git

For some reason, I couldn't do:

$ git checkout -b branch-name origin/branch-name

It was throwing the error:

fatal: 'origin/branch-name' is not a commit and a branch 'branch-name' cannot be created from it

I had to do:

$ git checkout -b branch-name commit-sha

Solution 28 - Git

to get all remote branches use this :

git fetch --all

then checkout to the branch :

git checkout test

Solution 29 - Git

I used that one:

git clean -fxd                         # removes untracked (new added plus ignored files)

git fetch
git checkout {branchname}

git reset --hard origin/{branchname}   # removes staged and working directory changes

Solution 30 - Git

I always do: git fetch origin && git checkout --track origin/branch_name

Solution 31 - Git

TL;DR using git switch rather than git checkout, more detail in this link

I think the answer is obsolete. Git split some function of checkout to switch and restore now.

The following is my summary:

If you want to update something for remote branch, you should create local branch to "track" remote branch. You can update anything you want in local and finally push to remote. If you checkout to remote branch directly after cloning your repository, you may see "detached HEAD" status and following message from Git:

Note: switching to 'origin/asd'.

You are in 'detached HEAD' state. You can look around, make experimental
changes and commit them, and you can discard any commits you make in this
state without impacting any branches by switching back to a branch.

If you want to create a new branch to retain commits you create, you may
do so (now or later) by using -c with the switch command. Example:

  git switch -c <new-branch-name>

Or undo this operation with:

  git switch -

Turn off this advice by setting config variable advice.detachedHead to false

HEAD is now at d3e1083 Update a

So how to create local branch to track remote branch?

To create local branch to track remote branch, you can use git checkout <remote branch name> or git switch <remote branch name>. If you have a file or folder has same name as your remote branch name, git checkout would output some error message, but git switch can work normarly!


  1. see all branch, and we want to create local branch to track remote branch remotes/origin/asd, and we also have the file name asd
$ git branch -a
* master
  remotes/origin/HEAD -> origin/master
$ ls                                
a  asd
  1. The filename is same as remote branch, Git should output some error messages if we using git checkout command to create local branch to track remote branch
$ git checkout asd  
fatal: 'asd' could be both a local file and a tracking branch.
Please use -- (and optionally --no-guess) to disambiguate
  1. It work if we using git switch!
$ git switch ereres  
Branch 'ereres' set up to track remote branch 'ereres' from 'origin'.
Switched to a new branch 'ereres'

$ git branch -vv
* ereres 3895036 [origin/ereres] Update a
  master f9e24a9 [origin/master] Merge branch 'master' of 

Solution 32 - Git

If the remote branch name begins with special characters you need to use single quotes around it in the checkout command, or else Git won't know which branch you are talking about.

For example, I tried to checkout a remote branch named #9773, but the command didn't work properly, as shown in the picture below:

Enter image description here

For some reason, I wondered if the sharp symbol (#) could have something to do with it, and then I tried surrounding the branch name with single quotes, like '#9773' rather than just #9773, and fortunately it worked fine.

git checkout -b '#9773' origin/'#9773'

Solution 33 - Git

Just run these two commands and you should be good to go.

git checkout <branch-name>
git pull <remote> <branch-name>

Solution 34 - Git

git fetch --all

would fetch all the remote branches to your local

git checkout test

would switch you to the test branch

Solution 35 - Git

It seems to my that no one suggested the simplest way (or maybe I'm too dumb to think this is "a way"). But anyway, have you tried this?

$ git pull origin remoteBranchName
$ git switch remoteBranchName

This worked for me in the same case (a branch created on the remote after my last pull request).

Solution 36 - Git

Please follow the command to create an empty folder. Enter that and use this command:

saifurs-Mini:YO-iOS saifurrahman$ git clone your_project_url
Cloning into 'iPhoneV1'...
remote: Counting objects: 34230, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (24028/24028), done.
remote: Total 34230 (delta 22212), reused 15340 (delta 9324)
Receiving objects: 100% (34230/34230), 202.53 MiB | 294.00 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (22212/22212), done.
Checking connectivity... done.
saifurs-Mini:YO-iOS saifurrahman$ cd iPhoneV1/
saifurs-Mini:iPhoneV1 saifurrahman$ git checkout 1_4_0_content_discovery
Branch 1_4_0_content_discovery set up to track remote branch 1_4_0_content_discovery from origin.
Switched to a new branch '1_4_0_content_discovery'

Solution 37 - Git

Use fetch to pull all your remote

   git fetch --all

To list remote branches:

   git branch -r

For list all your branches

   git branch -l
   >>outpots like-
     * develop

To checkout/change a branch

   git checkout master

Solution 38 - Git

There are many alternatives, for example:

  • Alternative 1:

     git fetch && git checkout test

    > It's the most simple way.

  • Alternative 2:

     git fetch
     git checkout test

    >It's the same but in two steeps.

Solution 39 - Git

You can add a new branch test on local and then use:

git branch --set-upstream-to=origin/test test

Solution 40 - Git

Not sure, I keep doing this day in and day out. Following command works like gem.

dev being the branch you want to checkout. > git fetch && git checkout dev


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