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Understanding Git Cherry-Pick

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Understanding Git Cherry-Pick


Git, the distributed version control system, is an essential tool for software developers. It offers an array of powerful features to manage and track changes in a project’s history. One such feature is git cherry-pick. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of cherry-picking and explore how it can be a valuable addition to your Git toolkit.

What is Git Cherry-Pick?

In Git, cherry-pick is a command that allows you to select and apply specific commits from one branch to another. This can be incredibly useful in scenarios where you want to bring in specific changes from one branch into another without merging the entire branch. Cherry-picking is a way to be selective about what you incorporate into your current branch.

When to Use Git Cherry-Pick

1. Bug Fixes

Imagine you’re working on a stable release branch, and a critical bug is reported in your software. The fix for this bug has already been developed in another feature branch. Instead of merging the entire feature branch, you can cherry-pick just the commit that contains the bug fix into your stable release branch. This helps keep your release branch free of unrelated changes.

2. Feature Backports

Sometimes, a new feature is developed in a future branch, but you need to include it in an older, more stable version of your software. Cherry-picking allows you to take the commits related to the feature and apply them to the older branch without bringing in any other changes.

3. Selective Code Review

Cherry-picking is also handy during code review. If a reviewer suggests changes or improvements that have been committed separately, you can cherry-pick those commits into your branch to address the feedback without incorporating unrelated code changes.

How to Cherry-Pick Commits

To cherry-pick a commit, you’ll need to follow these steps:

1. Identify the Commit

First, you need to identify the commit you want to cherry-pick. You can do this by checking the commit hash or using Git log commands to find the specific commit you need.

2. Cherry-Pick the Commit

Once you have the commit hash, use the git cherry-pick command to apply it to your current branch.

git cherry-pick <commit-hash>

Git will automatically create a new commit in your current branch with the changes from the cherry-picked commit.

3. Resolve Conflicts (if any)

Cherry-picking can sometimes lead to conflicts if the changes in the selected commit conflict with the changes in your current branch. You’ll need to resolve these conflicts manually, just like you would during a regular merge operation.

4. Commit the Resolution

After resolving any conflicts, commit the changes to finalize the cherry-pick.

git commit

5. Repeat as Needed

You can cherry-pick multiple commits in a single branch or across different branches as needed.

Caution and Best Practices

While git cherry-pick is a powerful tool, it should be used with care. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

1. Avoid Cherry-Picking Merge Commits: Cherry-picking merge commits can lead to complex and confusing branch histories. It’s generally better to merge entire feature branches when dealing with merge commits.

2. Maintain a Clean Commit History: Cherry-picking can lead to a non-linear commit history. Use it judiciously to avoid making the commit history overly complex.

3. Test Extensively: After cherry-picking commits, thoroughly test your code to ensure that the changes work as expected and don’t introduce new issues.

4. Document the Reason: Always document why you cherry-picked a particular commit in your commit message. This provides context for future developers.


Git cherry-pick is a valuable tool, allowing you to be selective about the changes you incorporate into your branches. Whether you’re fixing bugs, backporting features, or streamlining your code review process, cherry-picking can help you maintain a clean and efficient Git history. Just remember to use it thoughtfully and document your decisions for the future maintainers of your codebase. Happy cherry-picking!

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Aanchal Agarwal is a Software Consultant at NashTech. Her practice area is web development. She is recognized as a multi-talented, multitasker, and adaptive to the different work environments. Her hobbies include watching movies, listening to music, and traveling. She likes to read books and explore new things.

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