Moving a git ‘master’ branch to ‘main’

By default, the git install on my MacOS 11.5 creates new projects with a ‘master’ branch, but GitHub which I push to for my remote projects has been creating new projects with a default branch of ‘main’ for some time now.

To move a master branch to main locally, set it as the default branch and then push to GitHub I use the following steps (taken from multiple places but mainly from this article):

Create a new main branch from master locally:

git branch -m master main

Add remote GitHub repo:

git remote add github https://your-repo-url

Pull remote changes from remote main branch

git pull github main

Set upstream branch to track main

git branch  --set-upstream-to github/main

Push local to github main

git push github main

If you have changes in the new remote project (like a readme) that don’t exist locally yet and you get the error: “fatal: refusing to merge unrelated histories” then pull with the allow unrelated histories option:

git pull github master --allow-unrelated-histories

Now:’git push’ and you should be good.

For my local development these steps are enough for what I need, but if you have a master in your remote repo too and want to delete it there are additional steps in the article linked above.

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