What Is the Difference between ‘Git Pull’ and ‘Git Fetch’?

Better Stack Team
Updated on June 21, 2024

git pull and git fetch are both Git commands used to update your local repository with changes from a remote repository. However, they work differently.

git pull

  • git pull is used to fetch changes from a remote repository and integrate them into your current branch.
  • It automatically merges the fetched changes into your current branch.
  • It is essentially a combination of git fetch followed by git merge.

git fetch

  • git fetch is used to retrieve changes from a remote repository without integrating them into your current branch.
  • It updates your remote tracking branches (e.g., origin/master) to reflect the changes in the remote repository.
  • It does not modify your working directory or your current branch.
  • After fetching, you can review the changes and decide how to integrate them into your local repository using commands like git merge or git rebase.

Key Differences

  1. Integration of Changes
    • git pull integrates changes automatically into your current branch.
    • git fetch only retrieves changes and leaves it to you to decide how to integrate them.
  2. Safety and Control
    • git pull can potentially lead to unexpected merge conflicts if there are changes both locally and remotely.
    • git fetch gives you more control over the integration process and allows you to review changes before merging.
  3. Workflow
    • git pull is convenient for quickly updating your local branch with changes from the remote and immediately incorporating them.
    • git fetch is suitable for more cautious workflows where you want to review changes before merging them into your local branch.


  • If you're working in a collaborative environment and want to quickly update your local branch with remote changes, git pull might be more convenient.
  • If you prefer a more controlled approach and want to review changes before integrating them, use git fetch followed by a merge or rebase.
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