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How to Rename a Git branch From master to main

May 01, 2021

Local

To change the local repository you need to run:

git branch -m master main

To make sure the branch has been renamed run git status and you should see the following:

$ git status
On branch main
Your branch is up to date with 'origin/master'.
nothing to commit, working tree clean

Remote

First you need to push the newly created branch to the remote

Make sure you’re on the main branch before running this

git push -u origin main

Then you can delete the master branch

git push origin --delete master

This might not work, especially in GitHub where the default branch used to be master. If that’s the case there’s a bit more that needs to happen in GitHub before the master branch can be deleted.

Github default branch and protection considerations

In GitHub, the default branch used to be set to master when the repository was created through the UI. In order to be able to delete the master branch, you’ll need to change the default to the newly created main branch.

To change the default, you’ll need to navigate to Branches in the repository settings.

GitHub Repository Branch Settings

Once the default branch has been switched, the master branch can be deleted.

Either by running

git push origin --delete master

or through the GitHub UI.


Marcus Lyons