Frequently asked questions around Git and Version Control.
Git FAQ featured image

git stash - How to Save Your Changes Temporarily

There are lots of situations where a clean working copy is recommended or even required: when merging branches, when pulling from a remote, or simply when checking out a different branch.

The "git stash" command can help you to (temporarily but safely) store your uncommitted local changes - and leave you with a clean working copy.

The Git Cheat Sheet

No need to remember all those commands and parameters: get our popular "Git Cheat Sheet" - for free!

git stash: a Clipboard for Your Changes

Let's say you currently have a couple of local modifications:

$ git status
  modified:   index.php
  modified:   css/styles.css

If you have to switch context - e.g. because you need to work on an urgent bug - you need to get these changes out of the way. You shouldn't just commit them, of course, because it's unfinished work.

This is where "git stash" comes in handy:

$ git stash
Saved working directory and index state WIP on master:
   2dfe283 Implement the new login box
HEAD is now at 2dfe283 Implement the new login box

Your working copy is now clean: all uncommitted local changes have been saved on this kind of "clipboard" that Git's Stash represents. You're ready to start your new task (for example by pulling changes from remote or simply switching branches).

Continuing Where You Left Off

As already mentioned, Git's Stash is meant as a temporary storage. When you're ready to continue where you left off, you can restore the saved state easily:

$ git stash pop

The "pop" flag will reapply the last saved state and, at the same time, delete its representation on the Stash (in other words: it does the clean-up for you).

In case you want to apply a specific Stash item (not the most recent one), you can provide the index name of that item in the "pop" option:

$ git stash pop stash@{2}

Using the Stash in Tower

In case you are using the Tower Git client, saving to and restoring from the Stash can be performed right from the toolbar. Tower even lets you restore the exact state of your Working Copy when you restore a Stash:

Learn More

About Us

As the makers of Tower, the best Git client for Mac and Windows, we help over 100,000 users in companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Twitter, and Ebay get the most out of Git.

Just like with Tower, our mission with this platform is to help people become better professionals.

That's why we provide our guides, videos, and cheat sheets (about version control with Git and lots of other topics) for free.