How do I update or sync a forked repository on GitHub?

Created 30.08.2011 13:53
Viewed 921K times
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I forked a project, applied several fixes and created a pull request which was accepted. A few days later, another change was made by another contributor. So my fork doesn't contain that change.

How can I get that change into my fork? Do I need to delete and re-create my fork when I have further changes to contribute? Or is there an update button?

This can also be done from the github UI. I'd like to give credit [to this other poster][1]. [1]: by Mike Schroll, 20.02.2014 13:00
Another good blog post on this - Keeping A GitHub Fork Updated by Arup Rakshit, 15.10.2014 17:26
Found this in Github help articles: by Pranav, 02.04.2015 08:57
Is this a duplicate of… ? by David Cary, 29.08.2015 12:06
Here's a video demo that does this using two github accounts by lifebalance, 03.06.2016 09:29
Here you go -…. Simple and easy by Sumeet Patil, 18.03.2020 10:40
Search "Ilyich" for solution (at bottom of page) by stackunderflow232315, 23.03.2021 20:27
Since May 2021 this is directly possible from the GitHub UI without extra pull request, see changelog and by Marcono1234, 08.05.2021 00:23
Show remaining 3 comments
Answers 30

In your local clone of your forked repository, you can add the original GitHub repository as a "remote". ("Remotes" are like nicknames for the URLs of repositories - origin is one, for example.) Then you can fetch all the branches from that upstream repository, and rebase your work to continue working on the upstream version. In terms of commands that might look like:

# Add the remote, call it "upstream":

git remote add upstream

# Fetch all the branches of that remote into remote-tracking branches

git fetch upstream

# Make sure that you're on your master branch:

git checkout master

# Rewrite your master branch so that any commits of yours that
# aren't already in upstream/master are replayed on top of that
# other branch:

git rebase upstream/master

If you don't want to rewrite the history of your master branch, (for example because other people may have cloned it) then you should replace the last command with git merge upstream/master. However, for making further pull requests that are as clean as possible, it's probably better to rebase.

If you've rebased your branch onto upstream/master you may need to force the push in order to push it to your own forked repository on GitHub. You'd do that with:

git push -f origin master

You only need to use the -f the first time after you've rebased.

30.08.2011 14:01
I +1'ed this answer because it probably accomplishes what the question author actually needed. But I'm in the same situation and am curious: is there any way to actually "pull" from the main repo into my fork? Or will the upstream fork only be updated if I push back up to it after fetching from upstream? by todd.pierzina, 24.05.2012 16:06
As your fork only exists on github, and github does not have tools for doing merges through the web interface, then the right answer is to do the upstream merge locally and push the changes back to your fork. by Tim Keating, 19.06.2012 03:50
Here is a great tutorial I found on working with github: by Tim Keating, 19.06.2012 03:55
@TimKeating Github does have web interface to deal with merges from others' pull request. I am wondering what will happen if i exchange the destination and my repo when sending a pull request. by yehe, 19.03.2013 13:42
A quick note that rather than having to rebase your own master branch to ensure you are starting with clean state, you should probably work on a separate branch and make a pull request from that. This keeps your master clean for any future merges and it stops you from having to rewrite history with -f which messes up everyone that could have cloned your version. by Mateusz Kowalczyk, 29.05.2013 23:09
After your changes are accepted in the upstream, you need to repeat these steps: git fetch upstream; git rebase upstream/master; git push origin master by rubo77, 16.10.2013 08:06
@episodeyang: I don't mind the example URL being changed from git:// to https://, but your comment at the end was wrong - the git protocol still works fine with GitHub; I suspect you were trying from a network that blocks traffic to port 9418, or something similar. I've removed that bit of your edit. by Mark Longair, 31.12.2013 11:04
If you have local commits, doesn't this creates ugly "Merge branch 'master' of" commits every time you try to get the updates from the upstream? You can rebase sure, but if you pushed your changes to your forked repo on github, means next time you just can't rebase without regenerating the hashes for every commit after it turning everything in a mess. I really don't know how to properly "maintain" a fork on github. by Pablo Olmos de Aguilera C., 12.01.2014 02:37
If you want to have the original repo locally and still want to update your fork, you can add your fork as a downstream remote similar to above, then push to it: git push -f downstream. by Alfred Xing, 10.05.2014 03:36
this is better than github's help here which does not set up upstream. by dashesy, 18.02.2015 21:40
@MarkLongair what does "replayed on top of that other branch" mean here? by crisron, 29.11.2015 09:02
@crisron: good point - that's not really clear. The rebase will look at the change (patch) that was introduced by each commit in its original point in the history and try to apply that change on a different parent commit (keeping the same message and author information). Sometimes this won't apply cleanly, and you have to fix conflicts. So what I meant by your commits being "replayed on top of that other branch" is taking each of your new commits that aren't in that branch, and trying to recreate them, one-by-one, by making the same change as they did with respect to their original parent. by Mark Longair, 04.12.2015 12:09
It'd probably be easier and faster if one simply deleted and re-forked. by Akshay Damle, 14.07.2016 06:09
Instead of the rebase command, i used the following: git merge --no-ff upstream/master This way your commits aren't on top anymore. by Steckdoserich, 17.10.2016 13:20
@Steckdoserich couldn't agree more. It is extremely sad that people here think that force pushing a publicly visible branch after a rebase is remotely correct or acceptable. It renders your fork almost useless to anyone following along.... by UpAndAdam, 13.01.2017 19:12
Another Git failure. If this tools is supposed to support distributed collaboration, then why is it so difficult to perform a basic workflow? 4 million people and 2200 upvotes mean the tool failed. "you can add the original GitHub repository as a "remote" - Why does one even have to do this? Why is it not done during the fork? What is so broken about this tool? by jww, 16.04.2017 16:05
@jww: You ask why Git needs to be told about the original GitHub repository. It is because Git is a decentralized version control system and is not tied to GitHub in any way; it is probably obvious that Git was created before GitHub. When you create a forked repository on GitHub and clone it, GitHub knows that the repository is a fork; Git has no reason to, and does not. (Why doesn't the clone copy the Git remotes? Git is decentralized; different people will want different remotes; it would make no sense to do this.) See for GitHub integration in Git. by Radon Rosborough, 04.06.2017 04:43
@Radon is "forking" a GitHub concept, introduced by the site rather than Git itself? by Sinjai, 08.02.2018 23:34
@Sinjai Yes. Separate copies of a Git repository have no relationship to one another, except one that exists in your mind or in external services such as GitHub (or that you implicitly create by creating remotes). by Radon Rosborough, 09.02.2018 03:11
@RadonRosborough Surely the thought of creating derivations of open source projects was considered by someone before sites like GitHub, no? Though I suppose Git doesn't have anything to do with open source. by Sinjai, 09.02.2018 03:24
@Sinjai Yes, of course. That's why Git has explicit support for either applying patches from other people's changes, or for merging commits directly from other people's repositories (and it makes this last step extremely easy due to the support for a saved list of remotes). The thing that Git does not do is host a centralized webservice for hosting repositories in a standardized relational structure. It should be obvious, I think, why this latter thing is out of the scope of Git. And it's also why GitHub exists. And GitLab. And Bitbucket. Etc. by Radon Rosborough, 10.02.2018 22:54
@RadonRosborough Sure, it just seems like there should be explicit support for those web services. It's not like Git would have to limit its support to just GitHub or BitBucket. It's a common use case that's more convoluted to apply than it needs to be. Though I suppose that's Git in a nutshell. by Sinjai, 11.02.2018 04:00
@Sinjai There is explicit support for these webservices. It's called the remote system. You specify the URL, and then push/pull. Speaking quite literally, I don't think it could possibly get any simpler without hardcoding support for some particular service. If Git were to have some kind of implicit understanding of the relationship between different repositories without you providing that information, it would require a centralized database. There's just no rational way to integrate this functionality into a distributed revision control system. by Radon Rosborough, 11.02.2018 04:42
Git is so decentralized in a fashion you can merge a branch from a repo hosted on your local machine with no access to the internet, then merge it with a branch of another repo hosted on GitLab and finally rebase all of that into another repo hosted on GitHub. by Bruno Finger, 14.11.2018 12:41
what if there is some conflicts after git rebase upstream/master? how to solve the conflict? by DennisLi, 28.03.2020 03:17
@jww there is no issues with SVN, you may always switch to it. by 0andriy, 12.08.2020 10:55
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Starting in May 2014, it is possible to update a fork directly from GitHub. This still works as of September 2017, BUT it will lead to a dirty commit history.

  1. Open your fork on GitHub.
  2. Click on Pull Requests.
  3. Click on New Pull Request. By default, GitHub will compare the original with your fork, and there shouldn't be anything to compare if you didn't make any changes.
  4. Click switching the base if you see that link. Otherwise, manually set the base fork drop down to your fork, and the head fork to the upstream. Now GitHub will compare your fork with the original, and you should see all the latest changes.enter image description here
  5. Create pull request and assign a predictable name to your pull request (e.g., Update from original).
  6. Scroll down to Merge pull request, but don't click anything yet.

Now you have three options, but each will lead to a less-than-clean commit history.

  1. The default will create an ugly merge commit.
  2. If you click the dropdown and choose "Squash and merge", all intervening commits will be squashed into one. This is most often something you don't want.
  3. If you click Rebase and merge, all commits will be made "with" you, the original PRs will link to your PR, and GitHub will display This branch is X commits ahead, Y commits behind <original fork>.

So yes, you can keep your repo updated with its upstream using the GitHub web UI, but doing so will sully your commit history. Stick to the command line instead - it's easy.

25.05.2014 07:31
This worked great one time. The second time this process did not work the same way: the "Switching the base" link did not show up. And when I hit "Click to create a pull request" it created a PR on the SOURCE repo. NOT what I wanted.. by StephenBoesch, 21.08.2014 18:14
Still works (Marchi 2015), all though the "Switching the base" link is no longer there. You have to change the "Base" drop down's so both point to your fork and then you'll get a prompt to "Compare across repos", which will take you to where you want. by mluisbrown, 04.03.2015 14:05
April 2015. Works. Thanks. I did get "Switching to base". However, step 6 was "Create pull request" -> enter comment -> "Create pull request". End up with 1 commit ahead of original. by cartland, 09.04.2015 00:08
@cartland (or others) - yes, it says "This branch is 1 commit ahead of ..." Is this something to worry about? Is it possible to get rid of that message? by RenniePet, 15.05.2015 22:59
The merge itself appears to be the 1 commit ahead as soon as you complete the pull request and this is normal. I have noticed that the switching branches no longer works for me. by Matt Sanders, 18.06.2015 19:15
@RenniePet In the "This branch is x commit(s) ahead of (original)" message, the x commit(s) refer(s) to a those/that which you made and the upstream forkee has not (yet) merged. The x in the message will increase with every commit you make to that fork. by Scruffy, 21.07.2015 09:20
@RenniePet If you follow these steps (mainly step 3) you can end up you can end up with This branch is even with <parent>:master. by Sahar Rabinoviz, 05.08.2015 14:50
This work, but it didn't bring the new branches to your repo by dirceusemighini, 17.09.2015 14:08
This works but the UI is very clunky. It sometimes suggests the opposite operation as a default, i.e. sending a pull request to the original source. by runDOSrun, 30.05.2016 07:36
It works, but they should have used a "rebase fork" and "push" button. In this way it seems so odd to me. Not very intuitive.. by Tarabass, 28.07.2016 18:32
Each time you do this it adds to the fork a commit ahead of the original by neilgee, 15.08.2016 03:55
The steps need an update; essentially, you need to compare your fork as a base, with the original as the head fork. However, the commit history won't be clean. You can either merge or squash+merge, which will leave you with a merge commit, or "Rebase and merge", which will give "This branch is X commits ahead, Y commits behind <original>", and every commit will be "with" you. by Dan Dascalescu, 28.10.2016 20:40
Say changes in my fork have primarily consisted of edits to documentation, which can be performed through web without cloning. Wouldn't performing "Stick to the command line instead - it's easy." require cloning the repository over my (possibly metered) Internet connection? by Damian Yerrick, 12.01.2017 17:16
wouldnt it be better, with a simply update or sync button! by Transformer, 24.01.2017 03:32
What is the disadvantage of an ugly merge commit?? I don't get it. Just merge and you're done. Is there something I'm missing? by SwimBikeRun, 26.05.2018 21:32
Best answer so far. It is interesting that I've intuitively moved to PR tab to do this, without too much thinking. However, I think it would be best to have REBASE FORK button next to (or instead) the FORK button. That was the first thing I've searched for - Rebase Fork button by Vladimir Djuricic, 09.04.2020 12:09
Why hasn't Github improved this stupid UI after so long? It requires at least 3 clicks to compare, and reload the page for a few seconds! waste time! by Time Killer, 12.02.2021 03:08
@Transformer your wish has been granted, albeit 4 years late ;) by Madhu Bhat, 09.05.2021 15:26
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Here is GitHub's official document on Syncing a fork:

Syncing a fork

The Setup

Before you can sync, you need to add a remote that points to the upstream repository. You may have done this when you originally forked.

Tip: Syncing your fork only updates your local copy of the repository; it does not update your repository on GitHub.

$ git remote -v
# List the current remotes
origin (fetch)
origin (push)

$ git remote add upstream
# Set a new remote

$ git remote -v
# Verify new remote
origin (fetch)
origin (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)


There are two steps required to sync your repository with the upstream: first you must fetch from the remote, then you must merge the desired branch into your local branch.


Fetching from the remote repository will bring in its branches and their respective commits. These are stored in your local repository under special branches.

$ git fetch upstream
# Grab the upstream remote's branches
remote: Counting objects: 75, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (53/53), done.
remote: Total 62 (delta 27), reused 44 (delta 9)
Unpacking objects: 100% (62/62), done.
 * [new branch]      master     -> upstream/master

We now have the upstream's master branch stored in a local branch, upstream/master

$ git branch -va
# List all local and remote-tracking branches
* master                  a422352 My local commit
  remotes/origin/HEAD     -> origin/master
  remotes/origin/master   a422352 My local commit
  remotes/upstream/master 5fdff0f Some upstream commit


Now that we have fetched the upstream repository, we want to merge its changes into our local branch. This will bring that branch into sync with the upstream, without losing our local changes.

$ git checkout master
# Check out our local master branch
Switched to branch 'master'

$ git merge upstream/master
# Merge upstream's master into our own
Updating a422352..5fdff0f
 README                    |    9 -------                 |    7 ++++++
 2 files changed, 7 insertions(+), 9 deletions(-)
 delete mode 100644 README
 create mode 100644

If your local branch didn't have any unique commits, git will instead perform a "fast-forward":

$ git merge upstream/master
Updating 34e91da..16c56ad
Fast-forward                 |    5 +++--
 1 file changed, 3 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

Tip: If you want to update your repository on GitHub, follow the instructions here

21.10.2013 23:04
This updates my local fork, but my fork on still says "43 commits behind". I had to use lobzik's technique to create a pull request for myself to merge the master changes into my fork. by Michael McGinnis, 23.01.2015 17:38
@MichaelMcGinnis After merging locally, you would have to push your changes to github. git push origin master by jumpnett, 11.02.2015 22:50
Might be smart to push with --follow-tags: by kenny, 06.11.2015 15:19
I have to do it for all branches separately git merge upstream/master, then check out to develop branch and do git merge upstream/develop by Shobi, 28.05.2017 13:02 was helpful to me because I was getting Permission denied (publickey). fatal: Could not read from remote repository. when trying to fetch from Facebook's Github account upstream. by Ryan, 26.01.2018 04:28
For those of you following the instructions, you can then run "git commit" then "git push" to see the fork changes on your forked GitHub repo by MilesMorales, 05.03.2020 15:14
This helped. The merging chapter ist important for me. by rundekugel, 29.09.2020 12:14
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A lot of answers end up moving your fork one commit ahead of the parent repository. This answer summarizes the steps found here which will move your fork to the same commit as the parent.

  1. Change directory to your local repository.

    • Switch to master branch if you are not git checkout master
  2. Add the parent as a remote repository, git remote add upstream <repo-location>

  3. Issue git fetch upstream
  4. Issue git rebase upstream/master

    • At this stage you check that commits what will be merged by typing git status
  5. Issue git push origin master

For more information about these commands, refer to step 3.

05.08.2015 14:59
@MT: Where do you enter these commands, though? The gist of the question, as I understand it, is how to resynchronize your personal GitHub fork with the main project, and do this all from GitHub. In other words, how can you update your remote fork without a local repository? by John Y, 16.05.2016 15:33
@JohnY Using GitHub will always create an extra commit. You need to do all this in a shell on a local repo to avoid that extra commit. by Jonathan Cross, 14.10.2016 21:51

If, like me, you never commit anything directly to master, which you should really, you can do the following.

From the local clone of your fork, create your upstream remote. You only need to do that once:

git remote add upstream

Then whenever you want to catch up with the upstream repository master branch you need to:

git checkout master
git pull upstream master

Assuming you never committed anything on master yourself you should be done already. Now you can push your local master to your origin remote GitHub fork. You could also rebase your development branch on your now up-to-date local master.

Past the initial upstream setup and master checkout, all you need to do is run the following command to sync your master with upstream: git pull upstream master.

03.01.2017 16:59
"You could also rebase your development branch on your now up-to-date local master." How can I do this? by Niels, 15.10.2020 14:55
First run git checkout my-dev-branch to switch to your dev branch then git rebase master. You could also just run git rebase master my-dev-branch which basically combine those two commands. See git rebase docs. by Slion, 16.10.2020 08:26

Foreword: Your fork is the "origin" and the repository you forked from is the "upstream".

Let's assume that you cloned already your fork to your computer with a command like this:

git clone
cd project_name

If that is given then you need to continue in this order:

  1. Add the "upstream" to your cloned repository ("origin"):

    git remote add upstream
  2. Fetch the commits (and branches) from the "upstream":

    git fetch upstream
  3. Switch to the "master" branch of your fork ("origin"):

    git checkout master
  4. Stash the changes of your "master" branch:

    git stash
  5. Merge the changes from the "master" branch of the "upstream" into your the "master" branch of your "origin":

    git merge upstream/master
  6. Resolve merge conflicts if any and commit your merge

    git commit -am "Merged from upstream"
  7. Push the changes to your fork

    git push
  8. Get back your stashed changes (if any)

    git stash pop
  9. You're done! Congratulations!

GitHub also provides instructions for this topic: Syncing a fork

16.03.2016 12:24
Helped partly: Is git remote add upstream just an alias for git remote add upstream ? by Wolf, 26.06.2017 14:44
Wolf, guessing you know this by now, but for posterity... It is the format for ssh. by Brad Ellis, 26.01.2018 21:02
Thank you very much. git stash and git stash pop part very helpful by Bal Krishna Jha, 04.03.2019 05:41
This worked. After git merge upstream/master, auto merge failed due to unmerged paths which I had to run git add -A then git commit -m "message" then it was up to date. by highcenbug, 31.12.2019 13:10

Since November 2013 there has been an unofficial feature request open with GitHub to ask them to add a very simple and intuitive method to keep a local fork in sync with upstream:

Note: Since the feature request is unofficial it is also advisable to contact to add your support for a feature like this to be implemented. The unofficial feature request above could be used as evidence of the amount of interest in this being implemented.

21.02.2016 10:42

As of the date of this answer, GitHub has not (or shall I say no longer?) this feature in the web interface. You can, however, ask to add your vote for that.

In the meantime, GitHub user bardiharborow has created a tool to do just this:

Source is here:

14.09.2016 14:22
While I do find the tool a good idea the reality is that's BROKEN. It did load only 20 repos from my account and even the footer redirects to a website that does not exists. If that's fixed I will be a big advocate. by sorin, 28.10.2016 16:07
As of today, I have successfully used upriver to sync a fork with the upstream repo, so it's working for my purposes and I will continue to use it. by NauticalMile, 17.07.2017 02:55
@sorin These 20 repo/branch limitation (rather, it is 30 now) comes from the GitHub default paging settings. There needs to be some adaptions to the code in order to handle this. by Andreas, 18.01.2018 08:19

If you are using GitHub for Windows or Mac then now they have a one-click feature to update forks:

  1. Select the repository in the UI.
  2. Click "Update from user/branch" button the top.
31.03.2016 21:45
Step by step:‌​1 by Alamakanambra, 25.03.2020 17:03

There's a way to do it from GitHub's webapp.

Let's go through the following example.

To start with, open the repo that you want to update.

enter image description here

One can see the warning

This branch is 157 commits behind GoogleCloudPlatform:master.

On the right there are two buttons Pull request and Compare. Press Compare.

As there is probably nothing to compare, press switching the base

enter image description here

A list of all the changes will appear and one can create a pull request by pressing the button Create pull request

enter image description here

Give it a title, let's say "Update repo"

enter image description here

And create the pull request.

Once the request is created, scroll to the bottom and press Merge pull request.

enter image description here

Confirm the merge and that's it!

22.12.2020 00:46
Thanks a lot ! Its as simple as that ! by Haijerome, 24.02.2021 12:58
Be aware of the above, and take a look here:… by Jens, 27.04.2021 04:54

Actually, it is possible to create a branch in your fork from any commit of the upstream in the browser:

Enter image description here

You can then fetch that branch to your local clone, and you won't have to push all that data back to GitHub when you push edits on top of that commit. Or use the web interface to change something in that branch.

How it works (it is a guess, I don't know how exactly GitHub does it): forks share object storage and use namespaces to separate users' references. So you can access all commits through your fork, even if they did not exist by the time of forking.

18.01.2017 06:41
This is great! This avoids the totally pointless upload of those commits to github. by Rotsor, 13.03.2017 03:34

I update my forked repos with this one line:

git pull branch

Use this if you dont want to add another remote endpoint to your project, as other solutions posted here.

08.09.2017 02:00
Are there limitations on this? i.e. does it apply only to cases where you have not added commits, merges, pull requests, or had pull requests merged into upstream since the last update? by LightCC, 11.09.2017 07:30
it does work like a normal pull from a remote branch. If you did X commits on your local repo and now you are Y commits behind the original repo, it will bring the Y commits to your local branch and, probably, get you some conflicts to resolve. by Rafael Z. B. Bravo, 11.09.2017 20:23
@LightCC This is not different than pulling from a previously added remote at all, except for the fact that you haven't added a remote. So the disadvantage is that you'll have to enter the full repository URL everytime you want to pull. by Marc.2377, 17.04.2019 02:34
This is a perfect solution if you don't have to pull many times from the original repo, or the project forked is relatively simple. by AxeEffect, 28.04.2020 22:41

Follow the below steps. I tried them and it helped me.

Checkout to your branch

Syntax: git branch yourDevelopmentBranch
Example: git checkout master

Pull source repository branch for getting the latest code

Syntax: git pull master
Example: git pull BRANCH_NAME

15.01.2016 12:31
If you're using GitHub, you might also want to push your changes to your GitHub branch. git push HttpsForYourForkOfTheRepo BRANCH_NAME by user3731622, 22.01.2016 19:34

As a complement to this answer, I was looking for a way to update all remote branches of my cloned repo (origin) from upstream branches in one go. This is how I did it.

This assumes you have already configured an upstream remote pointing at the source repository (where origin was forked from) and have synced it with git fetch upstream.

Then run:

for branch in $(git ls-remote --heads upstream|sed 's#^.*refs/heads/##'); do git push origin refs/remotes/upstream/$branch:refs/heads/$branch; done

The first part of this command lists all heads in the upstream remote repo and removes the SHA-1 followed by refs/heads/ branch name prefix.

Then for each of these branches, it pushes the local copy of the upstream remote tracking branch (refs/remotes/upstream/<branch> on local side) directly to the remote branch on origin (refs/heads/<branch> on remote side).

Any of these branch sync commands may fail for one of two reasons: either the upstream branch have been rewritten, or you have pushed commits on that branch to your fork. In the first case where you haven't committed anything to the branch on your fork it is safe to push forcefully (Add the -f switch; i.e. git push -f in the command above). In the other case this is normal as your fork branch have diverged and you can't expect the sync command to work until your commits have been merged back into upstream.

12.06.2017 20:17

The "Pull" app is an automatic set-up-and-forget solution. It will sync the default branch of your fork with the upstream repository.

Visit the URL, click the green "Install" button and select the repositories where you want to enable automatic synchronization.

The branch is updated once per hour directly on GitHub, on your local machine you need to pull the master branch to ensure that your local copy is in sync.

20.11.2019 23:53
Please note that with the basic setup, you can lose the changes made in your forked repository. To keep the changes, set up a config file and specify a mergemethod. More on this here by Saurabh P Bhandari, 21.11.2019 03:06
I did note that the basic setup sends pull requests and merges them (as opposed to what's stated in the documentation). This is slightly annoying but solves the data loss problem? by krlmlr, 21.11.2019 09:24

GitHub has now introduced a feature to sync a fork with the click of a button.

Go to your fork, click on Fetch upstream and then click on Fetch and merge to directly sync your fork with its parent repo.

enter image description here

You may also click on the Compare button to compare the changes before merging.

Reference: GitHub's tweet

06.05.2021 21:10
I tried this and no PR was created, cool! And if your branch can be synced with a fast-forward merge, no divergence will occur. by li ki, 07.05.2021 23:44
For now, this function will first compare the branch name between the original and the forked repos. If the same name is found, the upstream of the branch in the fork is the branch with the same name in the original; if it is not found, the upstream will be the default branch (HEAD) of the original. This works fine in most cases, but if some branch modification has occurred in the original repo (e.g., adding or deleting a branch with the same name which already exists in the forked repo, or changing the default branch), the result of the sync may not match you expectations. by li ki, 08.05.2021 00:31

If you set your upstream. Check with git remote -v, then this will suffice.

git fetch upstream
git checkout master
git merge --no-edit upstream/master
git push
11.06.2019 05:32

When you have cloned your forked repository, go to the directory path where your clone resides and the few lines in your Git Bash Terminal.

$ cd project-name

$ git remote add upstream
 # Adding the upstream -> the main repo with which you wanna sync

$ git remote -v # you will see the upstream here 

$ git checkout master # see if you are already on master branch

$ git fetch upstream

And there you are good to go. All updated changes in the main repository will be pushed into your fork repository.

The "fetch" command is indispensable for staying up-to-date in a project: only when performing a "git fetch" will you be informed about the changes your colleagues pushed to the remote server.

You can still visit here for further queries

10.03.2018 02:21

Android Studio now has learned to work with GitHub fork repositories (you don't even have to add "upstream" remote repository by console command).

Open menu VCSGit

And pay attention to the two last popup menu items:

  • Rebase my GitHub fork

  • Create Pull Request

Try them. I use the first one to synchronize my local repository. Anyway the branches from the parent remote repository ("upstream") will be accessible in Android Studio after you click "Rebase my GitHub fork", and you will be able to operate with them easily.

(I use Android Studio 3.0 with "Git integration" and "GitHub" plugins.)

Enter image description here

13.11.2017 20:03

I would like to add on to @krlmlr's answer.

Initially, the forked repository has one branch named : master. If you are working on a new feature or a fix, you would generally create a new branch feature and make the changes.

If you want the forked repository to be in sync with the parent repository, you could set up a config file(pull.yml) for the Pull app (in the feature branch), like this:

version: "1"
  - base: feature
    upstream: master
    mergeMethod: merge
  - base: master
    upstream: parent_repo:master
    mergeMethod: hardreset

This keeps the master branch of the forked repo up-to-date with the parent repo. It keeps the feature branch of the forked repo updated via the master branch of the forked repo by merging the same. This assumes that the feature branch is the default branch which contains the config file.

Here two mergemethods are into play, one is hardreset which helps force sync changes in the master branch of the forked repo with the parent repo and the other method is merge. This method is used to merge changes done by you in the feature branch and changes done due to force sync in the master branch. In case of merge conflict, the pull app will allow you to choose the next course of action during the pull request.

You can read about basic and advanced configs and various mergemethods here.

I am currently using this configuration in my forked repo here to make sure an enhancement requested here stays updated.

21.11.2019 02:44

Assuming your fork is and original repository is

  1. Visit

  2. If you see green text Able to merge then press Create pull request

  3. On the next page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Merge pull request and Confirm merge.

18.02.2021 16:31
You deserve an award. Nice answer. This worked for me and I think is pretty normal. I went and did a git pull after on my local repo and updated. Your instructions are good. To someone new, you will have to play with the dropdown lists on the compare screen first to get the arrow to go the correct direction. This gives you the correct link in the address bar. by Celess, 15.03.2021 04:24
Nobel Prize for this man & solution! by stackunderflow232315, 23.03.2021 20:25

That depends on the size of your repository and how you forked it.

If it's quite a big repository you may have wanted to manage it in a special way (e.g. drop history). Basically, you can get differences between current and upstream versions, commit them and then cherry pick back to master.

Try reading this one. It describes how to handle big Git repositories and how to upstream them with latest changes.

23.04.2017 12:47

There are two main things on keeping a forked repository always update for good.

1. Create the branches from the fork master and do changes there.

So when your Pull Request is accepted then you can safely delete the branch as your contributed code will be then live in your master of your forked repository when you update it with the upstream. By this your master will always be in clean condition to create a new branch to do another change.

2. Create a scheduled job for the fork master to do update automatically.

This can be done with cron. Here is for an example code if you do it in linux.

$ crontab -e

put this code on the crontab file to execute the job in hourly basis.

0 * * * * sh ~/

then create the script file and a git interaction with ssh-agent and/or expect as below

REPOSITORY=<name of your repo>
MASTER="<username>/$REPOSITORY.git"<upstream>/<name of the repo>.git  

eval `ssh-agent` && expect ~/.ssh/agent && ssh-add -l
git clone $MASTER && cd $REPOSITORY && git checkout master
git remote add upstream $UPSTREAM && git fetch --prune upstream
if [ `git rev-list HEAD...upstream/master --count` -eq 0 ]
    echo "all the same, do nothing"
    echo "update exist, do rebase!"
    git reset --hard upstream/master
    git push origin master --force
eval `ssh-agent -k`

Check your forked repository. From time to time it will always show this notification:

This branch is even with <upstream>:master.

enter image description here

08.06.2019 07:33
rm -rf oldrepository
git clone ...

There may be subtler options, but it is the only way that I have any confidence that my local repository is the same as upstream.

29.09.2020 03:37

Use these commands (in lucky case)

git remote -v
git pull
git fetch upstream
git checkout master
git merge upstream/master --no-ff
git add .
git commit -m"Sync with upstream repository."
git push -v
09.02.2020 02:20

If you use GitHub Desktop, you can do it easily in just 6 steps (actually only 5).

Once you open Github Desktop and choose your repository,

  1. Go to History tab
  2. Click on the search bar. It will show you all the available branches (including upstream branches from parent repository)
  3. Select the respective upstream branch (it will be upstream/master to sync master branch)
  4. (OPTIONAL) It will show you all the commits in the upstream branch. You can click on any commit to see the changes.
  5. Click Merge in master / branch-name, based on your active branch.
  6. Wait for GitHub Desktop to do the magic.

Checkout the GIF below as an example:

Sync Upstream branches in a forked repository from the parent repository

17.11.2020 12:03

Delete your remote dev from github page

then apply these commands:

1) git branch -D dev
2) git fetch upstream
3) git checkout master
4) git fetch upstream && git fetch upstream --prune && git rebase upstream/master && git push -f origin master
5) git checkout -b dev
6) git push origin dev
7) git fetch upstream && git fetch upstream --prune && git rebase upstream/dev && 8) git push -f origin dev
17.12.2020 02:30

If you want to keep your GitHub forks up to date with the respective upstreams, there also exists this probot program for GitHub specifically: which does the job. You would need to allow installation in your account and it will keep your forks up to date.

18.01.2021 17:36

How to update your forked repo on your local machine?

First, check your remote/master

git remote -v

You should have origin and upstream. For example:

origin (fetch)
origin (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)

After that go to main:

git checkout main

and merge from upstream to main:

git merge upstream/main
04.02.2021 18:57
$ git remote add upstream

$ git pull upstream main

$ git push
03.03.2021 20:14