Solving the ‘Your branch is ahead of ‘origin/master’ by x commits’ issue after pulling using git.

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This is an annoyingly simple issue – so simple that it may not be blogged elsewhere.

You have a remote repository and push some code updates to it from a local repository – you then switch to a different local repository and pull down the updated code from the remote repository with:

$ git pull origin mybranch

which updates your local mybranch nicely.

Now when you run

$ git status

it says everything is up-to-date – but you get the horrible ‘Your branch is ahead of ‘origin/master’ by x commits’ message – WTF!

EDIT: What this is saying is that your local master branch is ahead of your local copy of the remote master branch – origin/master – which you’ve just pulled down.

EDIT: Your local master branch must have new commits which you had not pushed to origin.

The thing is – I was being too clever and trying to avoid pulling and updating master.  What I should have run was:

$ git pull origin

This will fetch and merge the current branch from the remote to my local branch- and also update my local tracking branch – origin/mybranch – to point to the latest commit – and – it will pull the remote master branch into origin/master and merge that into your local master branch.

If you run

$ git pull origin

after running

$ git pull origin mybranch

it seems to be safe and to sort out the issue of ‘Your branch is ahead of ‘origin/master’ by x commits’.

Hopefully this quick note might help someone who found themselves in the same position as me.

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  • dan
    22nd December 2011 at 9:16 pm 

    Bingo 🙂

    Thanks for that, was driving me insane!

  • John
    10th March 2012 at 9:55 pm 

    Awesome, was really making me nervous, what the hell am I doing wrong here?

  • Alex
    8th May 2014 at 1:35 pm 


  • Giovane Tomaz
    15th May 2014 at 8:33 pm 

    Thanks for the explanation!

    I had this problem with a production branch and after reading this post I decided to use git fetch (I thought it would be safer) and it worked perfectly too!

  • Igor Cavalcante
    29th May 2014 at 3:18 pm 

    thanks a lot

  • Uma
    27th October 2014 at 10:03 am 

    Thank you very much for sharing this! Saved my day

  • gazza
    23rd January 2015 at 11:28 pm 

    Great, thanks!

  • deepa
    19th February 2015 at 12:03 pm 

    Thanks very much solved my problem

  • Dan
    10th November 2015 at 5:44 pm 

    Wow. Did a git pull origin and… Still says I’m 1 commit ahead of origin/master.

    Wonderful. I’m wonderfully hosed.

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