Renaming master to main on GitHub

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The idea of renaming the master branch scared the git out of me, but it’s easy and quick.

You will need to rename the remote branch and all local branches that target it.

Changing the Name of the Remote Repository

Step 1: Open your Branches Settings

In your browser, on your GitHub repository page, open your Branch Settings: branches settings

Step 2:

Click the pencil icon, enter “main” in the textbox, and click the Rename branch button: branches settings

That’s it for GitHub.

Renaming the Local master Branch

The next time any developers visit the repository on GitHub, they will be presented with this screen: git commands

Those commands are:

git branch -m master main
git fetch origin
git branch -u origin/main main
git remote set-head origin -a

Here‘s the result of running those at the terminal:

> git branch -m master main
> git fetch origin
> git branch -u origin/main main
Branch 'main' set up to track remote branch 'main' from 'origin'.
> git remote set-head origin -a
origin/HEAD set to main

And let’s do a git status just to be sure:

> git status
On branch main
Your branch is up to date with 'origin/main'.

nothing to commit, working tree clean

All set. Easy peasy. Have no fear. Make the change.

Written by Nat Dunn.