Let’s say your local Git branch is out-of-date, and you need to fetch changes from your remote branch in order to bring your local branch up to speed.
In order to fetch these changes from your remote, or in other words, download the changes to your local branch, you will use the git pull command.
By default, Git will technically perform a git fetch followed by a git merge for the branch that you currently have checked out.
Let’s see how the git pull command works in the CLI.
If a merge is not required, Git will fast forward your local branch. This means that your local branch will now be pointing to the most recent commit from your remote branch without merging. However, if a fast forward is not possible because a merge is required, a merge will be executed instead.
Learn more about how to merge a Git branch, including how to merge a Git branch with master.
git pull --ff-only
You may choose to pull a branch using only fast forward if you only want non-conflicting changes brought in and never want a merge executed.
Now, if you would prefer to pull a branch only using fast forwarding, you can append the --ff-only flag to the git pull command.
Alternatively, if you prefer to rebase when combining file changes, you may choose to rebase the commits from the remote Git branch you are pulling, rather than merging them.
You can accomplish this with the --rebase flag.
git pull --rebase
Pulling changes from a remote Git branch is far more simple using the visual assistance of a Git client, like GitKraken.
In this example, we’re going to fetch changes from a remote branch and bring the local branch up to speed.
To fetch changes in GitKraken, simply click the Fetch button in the top toolbar and select one of the Pull options from the dropdown menu. This will fetch the remote for your currently checked out branch and merge the associated changes into your local branch.
You can see there are multiple options to choose from when you want to pull a remote branch in GitKraken.
GitKraken allows you to easily choose between performing a Git pull with fast forward, fast forward only, or a Git pull rebase. No need to remember or type any commands!
In GitKraken, you can quickly pull any local Git branch by right-clicking the branch from the left panel.
If you want to pull from a remote Git branch, do yourself a favor and streamline the process with the help of the legendary GitKraken Git GUI.