Setting the default branch

If you have more than one branch in your repository, you can choose another branch to be the default branch.

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About the default branch

When you create a repository on GitHub with content, the repository is initialized with a single branch, called the default branch. The default branch is the base branch in your repository, against which all pull requests and code commits are automatically made, unless you specify a different branch. If you have more than one branch in your repository, anyone with admin rights over a repository can select one of these existing branches as the default branch on the repository.

Setting the default branch

Note: To set the default branch you must have more than one branch in your repository.

  1. On GitHub, navigate to the main page of the repository.
  2. Under your repository name, click Settings.
    Repository settings button
  3. In the left menu, click Branches.
    Repository options sub-menu
  4. In the default branch drop-down, choose the new default branch.
    Default branch dropdown selector
  5. Click Update.

You can only switch between branches that already exist on GitHub. To create a new branch through the UI, see "Creating and deleting branches within your repository".

You can also set the default branch name for any newly created repositories owned by your user account, organization, or enterprise account. For more information, see "Managing the default branch for your repositories", "Managing the default branch name for repositories in your organization, or "Enforcing a policy on the default branch name."

Warning: Setting a different default branch affects your trunk branch contents on the Git-Subversion bridge and the HEAD you'd see when you git ls-remote this repository's upstream URL.

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