How to Untrack Files From Git Temporarily

Developers often encounter a situation where they do not want to commit all created and modified project files and temporarily ignore them from the staging area. Moreover, they want to keep these changes without updating the repository. In this situation, it is required to temporarily untrack these files. More specifically, the “$ git rm –cached” and “$ git update-index” commands can be helpful for this corresponding purpose.

This post discusses:

Now, move toward the detail of the above-listed methods!

Method 1: How to Untrack Files From Git Temporarily Using “git rm –cached” Command?

The “$ git rm –cached” command can temporarily remove the specified file from the staging area and untrack it. To implement this operation for better understanding, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Move to Local Repository

First, navigate to the particular Git repository by executing the “cd” command:

$ cd "C:\Users\nazma\Git\Test_2

Step 2: List of Content

Run the following command to view the list of current repository content:

$ ls

Step 3: Make New Text File

To make a new text file in the repository, use the “touch” command:

$ touch file3.txt

Step 4: Staged the Untrack File

Next, run the below-provided command to add the text file to the staging area:

$ git add file3.txt

Step 5: Temporarily Remove File From Tracking Area

Now, delete the file from the staging area by executing the “git rm” command along with the “–cached” option and particular file name:

$ git rm --cached file3.txt

Step 6: Check Repository Status

Run the “git status .” command to check the repository status:

$ git status .

As you can see, the specified file has been temporarily removed the file from the staging index:

Let’s move to the next method to untrack the files from Git temporarily.

Method 2: How to Untrack Files From Git Temporarily Using “git update-index” Command?

Sometimes developers do not want to track all created files in the staging area and want to ignore them temporarily. To do so, follow the below-listed steps.

Step 1: Ignore Particular File

To start ignoring the desired text file with changes, execute the provided command along with desired file path:

$ git update-index --assume-unchanged Test_2/file2.txt

Here, the “–assume-unchanged” option will suppose the file is not changed and ignore the modifications:

Step 2: Move to Git Repository

Now, navigate to the particular Git local repository using the following command:

$ cd Test_2

Step 3: Check the Status of ignored Files

Now, to ensure the specified file is ignored successfully, run the “git ls-files” command with the “-v” option:

$ git ls-files -v

Here, the “h” indicates that the file is untracked temporarily from the repository and “H” shows the file is tracked:

Step 4: Switch Back to Git Root Directory

Next, switch back to the Git root directory using the “cd ..” command:

$ cd ..

Step 5: Track Particular Ignore File

After performing desired operations on the Git repository, track back the ignore file, and run the following command along with the “–no-assume-unchanged” option:

$ git update-index --no-assume-unchanged Test_2/file2.txt

Step 6: Move to Git Repository

Next, navigate to the Git local repository through the provided command:

$ cd Test_2

Step 7: Check File Current Status

Lastly, check the previously ignored file’s status:

$ git ls-files -v

As you can see, the below-highlighted file status is “H”, which indicates that the file is tracked successfully:

That’s it! We have provided different ways to untrack files from the Git repository temporarily.


Two different commands are used to untrack files from the Git repository, which are the “$ git rm –cached <file-name>” or the “$ git update-index –assume-unchanged <path/to/file>” command. To track back the ignored file, the “$ git update-index –no-assume-unchanged <path/to/file>” command can be used. This post illustrated the different commands to untrack files from the Git repository temporarily.

About the author

Maria Naz

I hold a master's degree in computer science. I am passionate about my work, exploring new technologies, learning programming languages, and I love to share my knowledge with the world.