2. What Does the assume-unchanged Option Do?
The –assume-unchanged option tells Git to temporarily assume that a tracked file has not been modified in the working tree. Therefore, changes made won't be reflected in the staging area:
$ git update-index --assume-unchanged assumeunchanged.txt
We can verify the file status with git ls-files:
$ git ls-files -v $ h assumeunchanged.txt
Here, the h tag indicates that assume-unchanged.txt is marked with the assumed-unchanged option.
Although mainly used for that purpose, the assume-unchanged option was never meant to ignore changes to tracked files. It's designed for cases where it's expensive to check whether a group of files have been modified. What happens if we want to optimize resource usage on slow filesystems: git omits any checking against the target file and won't compare its versions in the working directory and in the index.
This feature is lost whenever the target file's entry in the index changes. That can happen when the file is changed upstream. To unset this option, we can use –no-assume-unchanged:
$ git update-index --no-assume-unchanged assumeunchanged.txt
3. What Does the skip-worktree Option Do?
The –skip-worktree option ignores uncommitted changes in a file that is already tracked. Regardless of any modification made in the working tree, git will always use the file content and attributes from the staging area. This is useful when we want to add local changes to a file without pushing them to the upstream:
$ git update-index --skip-worktree skipworktree.txt
We can verify the file status:
$ git ls-files -v $ S skipworktree.txt
Here, the S indicates that skip-worktree.txt is marked with the skip-worktree option.
This option is automatically unset when the file changes in the index i.e., if the file's been changed upstream and we pull it.
–no-skip-worktree is used to unset this option. It's useful in case wrong files were flagged, or if the circumstances have changed and previously skipped files shouldn't be ignored anymore:
$ git update-index --no-skip-worktree skipworktree.txt
4. Differences Between the Options
4.1. Branch Switching
There's no issue when checking out a branch when a file has the –skip-worktree option on. But, –assume-unchanged will raise an error:
$ git checkout another-branch error: Your local changes to the following files would be overwritten by checkout: assumeunchanged.txt Please commit your changes or stash them before you switch branches. Aborting
We can unset the option to overcome this situation:
$ git update-index --no-assume-unchanged assumeunchanged.txt $ git checkout another-branch Switched to branch 'another-branch'
–skip-worktree takes precedence over —assume-unchanged bit when both are set. Let's try to set both options on a file:
$ git update-index --assume-unchanged --skip-work-tree worktree-assumeunchanged.txt
The file's status confirms skip-wortkree precedence:
$ git ls-files -v $ S worktree-assumeunchanged.txt
In this article, we discussed the difference in usage of Git's —assume-unchanged and —skip-worktree options. We also discussed their precedence and how they interact with local and upstream branches.