Git hosting web services like Bitbucket Server and GitHub provide a branch view that shows whether branches are ahead or behind master:

github branches

This is great for finding remote branches which have been merged and can be deleted.

Can I see whether remote branches are behind or ahead with magit?

I found issue 1550 but that just shows the age and author, not the number of commits. L L gives:

magit branches

  • It does show it for me in the refs buffer, even though I don't have any specific settings for this. Maybe I'm using an older version than the one you have? In my version the tracked branch appears inside brackets and whenever there's a difference in commits between remote and local it shows the numbers.
    – wvxvw
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 12:01
  • Oh, but I think you would need to have local branch tracking cons_function for example, to see the difference between it and the remote, otherwise there's really nothing to show (Git doesn't know what to compare it to).
    – wvxvw
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


I'm not aware of a place where this is available in a unified view. As @wvxvw comments, the refs buffer will show ahead/behind counts against the upstream branch but not an arbitrary branch.

The closest the refs buffer curently gets is showing the number of commits each branch is ahead of a selected branch or revision. By default, things are compared to HEAD, but you can use C-u y to select another branch. Then, in the refs buffer, C-y b will show the ahead counts for each branch. If you press tab on a line, it will expand to show the commits (with an indication of whether each commit has been applied to the selected branch).

You could fairly easily produce the GitHub-like view by iterating over the branches and calling (magit-rev-diff-count "master" <branch>).

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