git unstash with code examples

Git is a popular version control system used in software development to manage project files and track changes. Git processes are required to fix the mistakes made in the coding stage and safely roll back any problems that arise.

One of the most basic Git workflows is to stash changes to a repository. Git stash is a useful feature that allows users to temporarily store their changes without committing them to the current branch. It’s essential to ensure that the changes meet the project’s requirements and rules before committing them and sharing them with other developers.

However, what happens when a developer forgets to commit the changes and accidentally switches to another branch? Fortunately, Git provides a solution for that problem as well. It's called Git unstash.

In this article, we'll take a look at Git unstash, show you how it works, and provide code examples to help you understand how to use it effectively.

What is Git Unstash?
Git Unstash is a feature that helps developers unstash or retrieve previously stashed files from the repository. If a developer had to stash their changes in the Git repository before switching branches, Git Unstash offers a way to recover those changes provided the stashed changes are not overwritten by new data.

How to Unstash Files in Git
The unstashing process in Git involves two main components: listing and applying stashes.
To unstash a change log, follow these steps:

Step 1: List Current Stashes
The first step involves listing all current stashes in the Git repository using the git stash list command. The list option is used to display all the saved stashes stored in the repository.

$ git stash list
stash@{0}: On feature scroll: Scroll feature implemented
stash@{1}: On feature scroll: Scroll feature in progress
stash@{2}: On feature scroll: Scroll feature started

From the listing, the oldest stash is stash@{0}, the newer stash is stash@{1}, and so on. The following command is used to retrieve a particular stash at any time.

Step 2: Select and Apply a Stash
The second step involves applying the stashed changes back to the working directory. The latest stash (stash@{0}) is applied by default; however, you can specify the stash to apply by providing the stash index (e.g., stash@{1}) or the stash ID (e.g., git stash apply <stash-id>).

To apply the latest stash, run the following command:

$ git stash apply

It will retrieve the latest stashed changes and update the working directory with those changes. However, the changes are not removed from the Git stash logs.

Suppose you want to retrieve any other stash besides the latest one, specify the stash ID, like so:

$ git stash apply stash@{2}

Here, the stash ID is specified as stash@{2}.

To unstash a stash and remove it from the log, use the git stash pop command.

$ git stash pop
Dropped refs/stash@{0} (e4feeb2ce1dcf87d5aa5b8243e34a62fc8383c31)

With pop, the changes are applied and simultaneously removed from the Git stash log.

In this article, we've discussed what Git unstash is and how it solves the problem of accidentally stashing changes and forgetting to commit them or switching to a different branch before doing so. We've also covered the steps to follow to unstash changes in Git and provided code examples for better understanding. Using Git unstash effectively can save valuable time and reduce the incidence of lost changes, making Git a great tool for serious developers.

I can definitely write more about some of the topics I have previously covered. Please let me know which specific topic(s) you would like me to expand on, and I will be happy to do so.

Popular questions

Sure, here are 5 questions about Git unstash with detailed answers:

  1. What is the difference between git stash apply and git stash pop?

git stash apply retrieves the latest stashed changes and applies them to the working directory. However, the changes are not removed from the Git stash logs, and multiple stash items can coexist. On the other hand, git stash pop is equivalent to git stash apply in terms of retrieving the latest stashed changes and applying them to the working directory. However, once it's executed, the stashed changes are removed from the Git stash logs.

  1. Can you unstash changes from a specific stash instead of the latest one?

Yes, you can apply changes from any stash, not just the latest one. To apply a specific stash, you can use the stash ID or stash index. For example, git stash apply stash@{2} will apply changes from the stash with ID stash@{2}.

  1. What happens if there are conflicts when applying stashed changes?

If there are conflicts during the apply or pop process when retrieving the stashed changes, Git will stop the operation and leave it up to the user to resolve the conflicts manually. Once the conflicts are resolved, the user can commit the changes to the repository as usual.

  1. Can Git unstash still recover changes after switching to a different branch?

Yes, Git Unstash can still recover stashed changes even after a user switches to a different branch. As long as the changes in the stash are not overwritten by new data, the changes are still available for retrieval. However, if a user switches to a branch that contains the same file changes, the unstashing process might result in conflicts.

  1. How do you list all stashes in a Git repository?

To list all stashes in a Git repository, you can use the git stash list command. This command will display all the saved stashes stored in the repository, starting from the oldest to the latest. The latest stash is named stash@{0}, the second latest is stash@{1}, and so on.



As a senior DevOps Engineer, I possess extensive experience in cloud-native technologies. With my knowledge of the latest DevOps tools and technologies, I can assist your organization in growing and thriving. I am passionate about learning about modern technologies on a daily basis. My area of expertise includes, but is not limited to, Linux, Solaris, and Windows Servers, as well as Docker, K8s (AKS), Jenkins, Azure DevOps, AWS, Azure, Git, GitHub, Terraform, Ansible, Prometheus, Grafana, and Bash.

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