How to rename a local Git branch via the command line?

More often than not, I would create a new branch with git checkout -b branch_name and I would realize that I’ve made a typo or I would come up with a better name for the branch later on.

If I have just created the branch it is ok as I can create a new one, but sometimes I would notice this after a couple of commits.

So here’s how you could rename a local Git branch via your command line!

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Bobby Iliev
Site Moderator
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November 6, 2020
Accepted Answer

If you want to test this on a fresh new repository, then you can do the following prep work:

  • Quickly create a new folder and cd into it:
  1. mkdir my-repo ; cd my-repo
  • Then initialize a new git repository:
  1. git init .
  • After that create a new branch:
  1. git checkout -b wrong-branch-name
  • Then check your the available branches with the following command:
  1. git branch


* wrong-branch-name
  • Then similar in order to rename the branch you could just run the following command:
  1. git branch -m wrong-branch-name correct-branch-name
  • If you want to rename your current branch, you could just run the following:
  1. git branch -m my-branch-name

After that, if you run git branch again you will be able to see the correct branch name!

An easy way to remember the -m flag is from the mv command in Linux, the mv command is used to move files but also rename them, just like the -m flag for Git!

This is pretty much it! Hope that this helps. Regards, Bobby

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