What does cherry-picking a commit with Git mean?


Recently, I have been asked to cherry-pick a commit.

So what does cherry-picking a commit in git mean? How do you do it?

3/22/2020 6:08:13 PM

Accepted Answer

Cherry picking in Git means to choose a commit from one branch and apply it onto another.

This is in contrast with other ways such as merge and rebase which normally apply many commits onto another branch.

  1. Make sure you are on the branch you want to apply the commit to.

    git checkout master
  2. Execute the following:

    git cherry-pick <commit-hash>


  1. If you cherry-pick from a public branch, you should consider using

    git cherry-pick -x <commit-hash>

    This will generate a standardized commit message. This way, you (and your co-workers) can still keep track of the origin of the commit and may avoid merge conflicts in the future.

  2. If you have notes attached to the commit they do not follow the cherry-pick. To bring them over as well, You have to use:

    git notes copy <from> <to>

Additional links:

12/12/2018 12:35:55 PM

This quote is taken from; Version Control with Git (Really great book, I encourage you to buy it if you are interested in git)

Edit: Since this answer is still getting impression, I would like to add very nice in action video tutorial about it:

Youtube: Introduction to Git cherry-pick

Using git cherry-pick The command git cherry-pick commit applies the changes introduced by the named commit on the current branch. It will introduce a new, distinct commit. Strictly speaking, using git cherry-pick doesn’t alter the existing history within a repository; instead, it adds to the history. As with other Git operations that introduce changes via the process of applying a diff, you may need to resolve conflicts to fully apply the changes from the given commit . The command git cherry-pick is typically used to introduce particular commits from one branch within a repository onto a different branch. A common use is to forward- or back-port commits from a maintenance branch to a development branch.

$ git checkout rel_2.3
$ git cherry-pick dev~2 # commit F, above

before: before

after: after


Cherry picking in Git is designed to apply some commit from one branch into another branch. It can be done if you eg. made a mistake and committed a change into wrong branch, but do not want to merge the whole branch. You can just eg. revert the commit and cherry-pick it on another branch.

To use it, you just need git cherry-pick hash, where hash is a commit hash from other branch.

For full procedure see:


Short example of situation, when you need cherry pick

Consider following scenario. You have two branches.

a) release1 - This branch is going to your customer, but there are still some bugs to be fixed.

b) master - Classic master branch, where you can for example add functionality for release2.

NOW: You fix something in release1. Of course you need this fix also in master. And that is a typical use-case for cherry picking. So cherry pick in this scenario means that you take a commit from release1 branch and include it into the master branch.


cherry-pick is a Git feature. If someone wants to Commit specific commits in one branch to a target branch, then cherry-pick is used.
git cherry-pick steps are as below.

  1. checkout (switch to) target branch.
  2. git cherry-pick <commit id>

    Here commit id is activity id of another branch.Eg.

    git cherry-pick 9772dd546a3609b06f84b680340fb84c5463264f
  3. push to target branch



I prepared step-by-step illustrations what cherry-pick does — and an animation of these illustrations (near the end).

  1. Before cherry-picking
    (we are going to do a cherry-pick of the commit L from the branch feature): enter image description here

  1. Starting the command git cherry-pick feature~2
    (feature~2 is the 2nd commit before
    feature, i.e. the commit L): enter image description here

  1. After performing the command (git cherry-pick feature~2): enter image description here

The same animated: enter image description here


The commit L' is from the user's point of view (commit = snapshot) the exact copy of the commit L.

Technically (internally), it's a new, different commit (because e.g. L contains a pointer to K (as its parent), while L' contains a pointer to E).