git pull remote branch cannot find remote ref


I'm not sure why this doesn't work. When I do git branch -a, this is what I see:

enter image description here

I'm trying to pull from the DownloadManager on the online GitHub repository. I have tried

  • git pull, but then it complains about not knowing which branch to pull from
  • git pull origin, doesn't know which branch
  • git pull origin downloadmanager fatal: Couldn't find remote ref downloadmanager. Unexpected end of commands stream
  • git pull origin remotes/origin/DownloadManager 'fatal couldn't find remote ref remotes/origin/DownloadManager. Unexpected end of commands stream

Is there something I'm missing? In Xcode, When I try to connect to the repository, nothing ever shows up. I have been able to push to it in the past. But I can't push again until I pull the most recent changes.

This question is tagged with git

~ Asked on 2012-07-19 00:41:29

The Best Answer is


Be careful - you have case mixing between local and remote branch!

Suppose you are in local branch downloadmanager now (git checkout downloadmanager)

You have next options:

  1. Specify remote branch in pull/push commands every time (case sensitive):

    git pull origin DownloadManager


    git pull origin downloadmanager:DownloadManager

  1. Specify tracking branch on next push:

    git push -u origin DownloadManager

    (-u is a short form of --set-upstream)

    this will persist downloadmanager:DownloadManager link in config automatically (same result, as the next step).

  1. Set in git config default remote tracking branch:

    git branch -u downloadmanager origin/DownloadManager

    (note, since git 1.8 for branch command -u is a short form of --set-upstream-to, which is a bit different from deprecated --set-upstream)

    or edit config manually (I prefer this way):

    git config --local -e

    -> This will open editor. Add block below (guess, after "master" block):

    [branch "downloadmanager"]
            remote = origin
            merge = refs/heads/DownloadManager

and after any of those steps you can use easily:

git pull

If you use TortoiseGit: RightClick on repo -> TortoiseGit -> Settings -> Git -> Edit local .git/config

~ Answered on 2012-07-19 09:56:41


This error happens because the local repository can't identify the remote branch at first time. So you need to do it first. It can be done using following commands:

git remote add origin 'url_of_your_github_project'

git push -u origin master

~ Answered on 2015-05-16 18:12:21

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