What is difference between git stash pop and git stash apply?

Both git stash pop and git stash apply are Git commands used to apply stashed changes back to the working directory. However, there is a crucial difference between the two commands:

git stash pop:

  • git stash pop is used to apply the most recent stash and remove it from the stash stack.
  • When you run git stash pop, Git will attempt to apply the changes from the most recent stash (i.e., the top of the stash stack) and then remove that stash from the stack.
  • If the stash application encounters conflicts, Git will pause the process and prompt you to resolve the conflicts manually. Once the conflicts are resolved and the changes are staged, you can continue the pop operation using git stash drop to remove the applied stash from the stack.

Usage:

git stash pop

git stash apply:

  • git stash apply is used to apply a specific stash, allowing you to choose which stash to apply without removing it from the stash stack.
  • When you run git stash apply, you need to specify the stash you want to apply using its identifier, which can be the stash index or the stash reference. By default, git stash apply will apply the most recent stash (same as git stash pop without removing it), but you can provide the stash identifier to apply a specific stash.
  • Like git stash pop, if the stash application encounters conflicts, Git will pause the process and prompt you to resolve the conflicts manually. After resolving the conflicts and staging the changes, the stash remains in the stash stack until you explicitly remove it using git stash drop.

Usage:

# Apply the most recent stash
git stash apply

# Apply a specific stash (replace X with the stash index or reference)
git stash apply stash@{X}

In summary:

  • git stash pop applies the most recent stash and removes it from the stash stack.
  • git stash apply applies a specific stash (or the most recent stash by default) but keeps the stash in the stash stack.
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