What does the "Track?" checkbox do?

When I push changes to repository the dialog with repository and branch selections have checkboxes that are named "Track?" and have 3 states; empty, checked and "-".

I think they have something to do with git tracking branches feature(?) but why three states, and what those states mean?

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Accepted answer

Checked = Set the remote branch to be the one the local branch should track

Unchecked = Stop the local branch tracking anything

Mixed (-) = Don't change any tracking on this branch, leave it as-is

The latter is the default so that you can push ad-hoc to different remotes / branches from a local branch and not change the tracking setup (neither setting it to a new branch, or unsetting it to stop tracking)

Thank you. I'm worried if I can accidentally mess up by checking multiple branches, but I'll probably just leave the checkbox as defaut.

No, you can't mess up since each row is a local branch. If you checked multiple branches all it would mean is that each of those local branches would track the remote branch listed next to them (if pushed).

So what does it mean to have the local branch tracking the remote?

Like 1 person likes this

I was confused about this too, so I did some research.

A 'tracked' branch is the default remote branch for the local branch, so if you use 'git pull' or 'git push', Git knows which remote branch to use.

SourceTree uses the tracked branch to know what state you are in locally. If you switch the 'tracked' branch, SourceTree will show that new branch by default next time you open the push/pull dialogs. SourceTree will also change how it displays the notifications of how many commits ahead/behind your local branch is.

There's more info about Git's tracked branches here:
http://git-scm.com/book/en/Git-Branching-Remote-Branches#Tracking-Branches

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