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Delete Git tag

What is a Git tag?

Tags are a way of labeling a specific commit in Git as an immutable point in a repository's history. They are usually used to create releases (typically off master/main branch) when all the tested, approved features for a release have been merged in - the last commit after these merges is tagged with a version, for example 1.3.4. Platforms like GitHub will then create downloadable archives from these commit points under your releases for other people or package managers to find.

Should you delete a Git tag?

Not really. The idea of tags is that they are immutable; unlike branches, they are not supposed to change, or have any further history. You can't checkout and modify a tag like a branch, commit, push to it and you shouldn't in principle be deleting tags once they exist, either.

But sometimes you might need to. Maybe you've made a mistake preparing a release (happens to the best of us, right?), maybe you accidentally tagged the wrong version number etc. and now you want to recreate the tag, without leaving the old, incorrect tag hanging around.

Fortunately, while it is arguably a bug in Git that you are able to delete a tag, it is possible.

Delete a Git tag on your local machine

Deleting a local tag is simple.

# Fetch all tags from remote
git fetch --tags
# To delete a tag
git tag -d <tag>
# Example
git tag -d 1.3.4

Delete a Git tag on remote

There are two syntactical flavours to delete a Git tag remotely:

# Assuming origin is your primary remote
git push origin :ref/tags/<tag>
# E.g.
git push origin :ref/tags/1.3.4
# Alternatively...
git push --delete origin 1.3.4

Further reading

Atlassian have a decent Git tag tutorial


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