Stack OverflowBest visual client for Git on Mac OS X?
[+314] [19] Chris Stewart
[2009-01-18 18:53:33]
[ git osx version-control versions ]

I'm looking for a nice, Mac OS X-like, client for Git. As an example, I use Versions [1] for Subversion and it's exactly what I'd like to purchase for Git access. Suggestions?

Here's some more info. - dylanfm
We did a short talk on GitX if you want a quick overview: - Neil
(52) "closed as not constructive"...and yet this question is #2 on google for "mac os x git" and the accepted answer just led me to an awesome, free Git GUI. Totally constructive, IMO. - Carl G
just downloaded sourcetree. if anyone has trouble downloading it, it's available at Mac App Store. - yitwail
(2) @DGGenuine Asking about everyone's favorite flavor of ice cream might also generate helpful answers and rank highly on Google, but that doesn't mean it's an appropriate topic for a Q&A website like Stack Overflow. If there's no single correct answer (e.g. "What's the best x?") it probably belongs on a forum. - Michael Martin-Smucker
(5) why not rephrase the question as "is there a visual client for Git on Mac OS X?" so that this valuable thread can be retained? - slead
or "is there ice-cream?" - Aram Kocharyan
[+429] [2011-01-14 14:34:03] Mason [ACCEPTED]

When this question was asked, I think the correct answer was almost certainly gitx [1]. Later in 2009, the brotherbard fork of gitx [2] would be the best choice.

However, now in 2011, several more visual git clients for the Mac have been released, and the competition is finally stiff. Until very recently, there was no git client for the Mac (or any other platform, for that matter) that was even remotely close to as polished and elegant as Subversion clients such as Versions or Cornerstone. But now there are several.

I no longer recommend gitx (or its forks). I was grateful for it in its day, but it has been eclipsed by some of these newcomers. Meanwhile, some of the older runner-up recommendations, like Gity, just never achieved enough traction to get very good, and their future doesn't look bright.

GitBox [3] was the first of these recent clients that I heard of, and it is pretty good. It has fewer features, but is much more clean and solid-feeling than gitx. It is the only git client that has never once crashed on me--a good sign. But it's the only git client without the familiar lines-and-dots branch graphing, and it feels perhaps too simple. You wonder if its developer has the resources to really keep this app improving at a good pace. Can use external Mac diff/merge apps like FileMerge, Changes, BBEdit, etc. App Store or buy direct, $40. Update 2011-10-07: I no longer use GitBox, and most of the people I know who do are not programmers, but authors and such. It still is about the simplest UI out there.

Tower [4] is a client I heard of just a day after I bought GitBox. This app seems awesome at first glance. It is easily the most attractive client, and very full featured. Great history view, pretty much has all the features I remember from gitx, but with an attractive Mac design (a la Versions). But then you crash into the single, jaw-dropping, earth-shattering design flaw: it can only view one repository at a time. Remove that crippling (and frankly weird) limitation, and I believe this would be the clear winner at present. But with that limitation, it's far from clear. It is also kind of slow, and for truly huge repositories it is so slow it doesn't work at all. Can use external Mac diff/merge apps. In free beta, pricing to be announced later. $59. Update 2011-10-07: I no longer use Tower much either, although it remains the prettiest. The one-repo-at-a-time limitation is too insane for me to deal with, though.

SourceTree [5] is a tremendously promising client released in October 2010 and steadily improving since. Notably, it supports Mercurial as well as git, though I don't use hg and cannot comment on that. For git, it is fantastic, with a few unique features that really stand out. One is its Repositories window, which gives you a single place to see the status of ALL your repositories. Depending on your workflow, this can be really important. I work on about 20 different projects in a given week (several for work, including git submodules of my main project, plus various personal repos), and I work at the office and also at home and sometimes on the road. So each of my Macs has probably 30-40 repositories checked out, and SourceTree is the app I switch to when I need to quickly see if any of them have outstanding changes to push or upstream commits to pull. It also has some other various geeky power-user options for merge commits and rebasing and whatnot. Less attractive than Tower but with more power. Can use external Mac diff/merge apps. App Store or buy direct, £35 download direct free.

Update 2011-10-07: SourceTree is good enough that it gradually displaced all other git clients. Developer Steve Streeting was productive and responsive, churning out stable improvements. This week, Atlassian (maker of JIRA and other stuff) announced that they had acquired SourceTree (and Steve Streeting). That is probably good news, because it means more resources behind ST. Even better, SourceTree is now free "for a limited time". So now there is really no reason not to get the best git client for Mac.

Those are the three best new clients, in my opinion. I use all three every week. SourceTree I leave running all the time, mainly for the useful view described above. Tower is the one I spend the most time in, using it for my main project. And GitBox is the one I command-tab to to quickly open some other project (my main project has many git submodules) to do a quick commit or pull or whatever. I now use mainly just SourceTree (and the command line git client sometimes).

There is no need to use only one git client. They are all good enough that when you switch to them they instantly see any commits or updates to the local repo, no matter which client made the changes. (Which is good, because none of them can totally replace git on the command line.) I find that these three clients each have unique benefits, and are the best things going on the Mac (currently).

The one that feels used to feel like it has the most momentum behind it is Tower--it looks the best, they push updates almost daily, and if they copied SourceTree's multi-repo view, fixed their performance issues, and could open more than one repository at once (really, what is up with that!!), I could conceive of just living in Tower all day. But I can't deal with the single-window thing, so I recommend either use all three like I do, or at least use each one for a couple days to figure out which best suits your workflow.

Update 2011-10-07: Another notable client is GitHub for Mac [6]. I love our wild and wooly friends at GitHub as much as the next guy, but I think their client is pretty much doodoo. It has the same insane-in-the-membrane limitation as Tower, where you can only see a single repo at once. It can't just open an arbitrary repo via just opening a folder--you have to jump through hoops to add it to your repo list first, and even for that you have to switch to the Finder, find it, and add it via drag and drop (wtf?!). It has this Twitter-inspired iOS-wannabe interface that seems to prioritize lickability over usability. I think this product should probably have been called Hasbro™ My Little Pony® Baby's First Git Client instead. That is, of course, just my opinion though.


(1) because I liked your review, I'm just wondering, Mason... you didn't mention SVN support (which Tower and most of all the clients doesn't have) and you didn't mention SmartGit... have you considered those? - Cawas
(2) I think SmartGit is really awful. I looked at it a long time ago, but it is so clumsy and ugly compared to a native Mac app (it being a cross-platform Java app), I never preferred it to the command line. All of the apps above are much better, IMO. As for the svn support in SourceTree, it's interesting, but I very rarely use svn anymore so I didn't think to mention it. - Mason
(4) @Mason SmartGit isn't that pretty indeed, but it sure works better so far than most relevant apps mentioned (I'm trying Tower, Gitti, Gity and GitX, abandoned GitBox) in this question, from my experience. Only reason I even considered trying others is to look around. From all of them it's got the best license concept (free for non-commercial), serves not only GIT but also SVN and CVS and all platforms, all in all it still seems like the most feature-full and I didn't even ever needed to touch command line with it. Anyway, thanks for your answer! It already fed my curiosity. :) - Cawas
(7) @Cawas: most git users want to stay as far from SVN and CVS as possible! - iconoclast
(3) @Brandon yet, google code and many places still use SVN. I rather use git svn and at least have git at my side than just svn. - Cawas
(1) One of the best reviews that I have read. Thumb up! - Nevin
(1) Just one more +1 for Git Tower. It's a fantastic app. - snipe
+1 for keeping the answer to the question up to date. - carlosdc
+1 for writing & maintaining a great review. - johnhunter
(1) I quite like the look of SourceTree, thanks for great info - Lea Hayes
(1) +1 from me, for the SourceTree hint. It seems to be very good. - Andrei Stanescu
(1) SourceTree should thank you for this! Great review. Really appreciate it! Thanks man! :) - Woppi
(1) Thank you for the recommendation of SourceTree; you just saved me buying Tower, which is significantly inferior. I owe you a beer. - cjm2671
On Windows I use command line 90% of time, but on Mac SourceTree is the main tool. I only use the command line when I rebase. - Vili
(1) This may be the best maintained, most thorough post I have seen on this site, thanks. - blu
their are now a better gitx fork - gagarine
I wish there were a way to +1337 you. - rinogo
For a list: [… - Etienne Low-Décarie
(2) Thanks for a gread review! I used couple of smaller clients (GitX, SmartGit, GitBox). Then I read your answer, downloaded SourceTree and I finally have what I needed:) Also, regarding to this blog post, SourceTree should be free forever:… - rdamborsky
LOL, your alternative Github for Mac names are awesome. - JacopKane
Git Tower has excellent SVN support. In fact, I've tried all of these clients, and only Git Tower had considerable, working, stable SVN support so it can act as a bridge between oldschool SVN repos and GIT repos. Plus it has built in support for GitHub & Beanstalk. The other clients messed up SVN/GIT mixing, Tower just works well. - Tamas Kalman
(2) I pretty much followed most of the steps (in terms of clients used) in this answer in the last two years, except for SourceTree. However I had stopped using all the GUI clients (even Tower) because I found they all paled in comparison to the command line interface. Today I tried SourceTree, and this is the best GUI client that I've ever tried for Git. Easy to setup. Powerful. Thank you for the review! - amateur barista
(3) +1 for "Hasbro™ My Little Pony® Baby's First Git Client." It's awful, isn't it? - Amanda S
(1) SourceTree really is amazing, especially the way makes working with chunks so easy. It plus command line is the best combo. - studgeek
[+80] [2009-01-18 19:00:52] willcodejavaforfood

You could try GitX [1]. Never used it myself but a quick google shows a few hits where people seem to favor it.

Two years Later! 2011-01-15

  • Gitti [2] (I use this one, free beta client)
  • SmartGit [3] (getting rave reviews but not free)

(1) Definitely GitX. There's a few things I'd like to add, but not a whole lot I'd take away. - Otto
(3) Thanks for the praise ;) - Pieter
GitX is the best one. - nitecoder
GitX is fantastic. - ABach
(1) GitX is highly recommended, but NOT what you're asking for. More details below. - iconoclast
(2) its worth pointing out that on the mac, running "git gui" is actually quite nice too, though its a teeny bit less macish than gitx and at least naively running that command holds up the terminal window which ran the command until you close it (unlike if you execute gitx from the command line) - Carter Tazio Schonwald
The answer used to be gitx, but there are several newer and better clients out now. Be sure to read some of the other answers. (And P.S. "git gui" lol that is about as un "Mac OS X-like" as is possible. - Mason
Yes: agreed about git gui. People who do not have a Mac background are (in my experience) far less picky about what constitutes a good OS X experience. Personally I've never seen non-native apps pull it off very well. - iconoclast
(1) There is a much better fork of GitX by brotherbard (mentioned in the answer below). - Sam
When I downloaded Gitty, I got a "Please re-download Gitti using your beta download link. If you cannot find it, please contact Thanks!" message when I launched the application, which says to me that this client is no longer a viable option. Also, to clarify, SmartGit 2, which I'm currently using, dose not cost for non-commercial use. - chrysanhy
(2) The new torchbearer for GitX seems to be laullon. He has been fixing issues and adding new features. After trying other clients in 2011 I still prefer the simple interface in GitX. - Andrew Vit
(1) Re: GitX, cf. GitX: a short history. Looks like the momentum is now behind GitX-dev (neé GitX-L(rowanj)), which is ridiculously faster than slothlike GitX-L. - Clay Bridges
[+41] [2010-05-08 03:21:46] iconoclast

GitX is very nice, but it is NOT EVEN CLOSE to what you're asking for. It will not entirely shield you from the command line. Some of us think that's a good thing, but you'll be frustrated if you're looking for something like Versions. I know of twothree GUI clients that claim to do this:

The first is Java-based, and the second is Cocoa and looks very nice, but is still in private beta, so you might have to tolerate a pseudo-Cocoa interface for nowand is now in public beta, so you can give it a try. The third doesn't say on its site, but appears to be Cocoa, and looks like a winner.


(2) SmartGit rocks all. - Cawas
(2) Tower is another good candidate. - Peter DeWeese
@Peter I've tried Tower for few days (among many others)... It is the most feature full among the best looking ones. And being good looking is important to better visualize trees of branches. But it's still not mature enough, crashes a lot and is lacking features compared to smart git. Gitti comes second, and doesn't crash. - Cawas
(1) I'm using Gitti as well. - Peter DeWeese
Tower is great! I've been using it from an early beta, now it's not free (trial only). - Darmen
Can anyone suggest me some good step by step tutorial to install and work with Tower or Gitti? I am facing some problems while I publish/push a local branch. Regards - Götze
[+27] [2010-11-01 09:46:14] versatilemind

Check out git tower. still in private beta, but looks promising.Will be available this month.

(1) Looks like it's still in beta, but this seems to be the most Mac-like of the bunch - Ed Anuff
I've been using Tower for the past month or so (since the beta started) and can say that it works very well. The developers are responsive to bug reports, and there's generally an update at least once a week. - Dave DeLong
FYI: Tower is no longer in beta. Worth the buy. - palaniraja
Been using Tower for a couple of months now, it's effing fantastic. - Scottie
[+22] [2010-10-26 15:48:30] Kezzer

SourceTree [1] is the new one that's been released in Oct 2010.

It's been acquired [2] by Atlassian in Oct 2011.

EDIT: SourceTree's [3] website has now been updated due to its acquisition. The original developer is still the head of the project though, so it's still in the same hands. As mentioned by the other user, it is free on the Mac.


(3) and is free, like beer - Mild Fuzz
and secure, too? - MartinVonMartinsgrün
(1) Atlassian is a well known and professional company. I do not have any references about security, but I am sure they would have investigate in fixing that when there would be some kind of leak. - miho
(1) I am using SourceTree and recommend it. - pisaruk
[+15] [2010-05-03 20:30:41] Carter Tazio Schonwald

Just to add to the remarks about gitx, which I can't add as comments to the relevant answer due to not enough reputation points:

to do things like change which branch etc each version has (eg local vs on github), you do it via moving the local / github associated tags to the desired branch.

This isn't mentioned in the docs afaik, but its kinda key :)

(2) +1 Thanks for contributing and here are some rep points - yuval
[+13] [2010-11-18 21:56:18] pingu
[+12] [2009-11-08 23:59:20] gngrwzrd

Gity: (New Link)

Link is broken. - Mike L.
(1) - Ter
[+9] [2011-06-23 03:57:23] Chris Stivers

Yesterday, GitHub released their client GitHub for Mac [1]. It seems to be a solid client, with good integration with github. The UI takes a little getting used to. But it is free and if you use GitHub, it should satisfy most of your needs.

I recommend Git Tower [2]. It is a very solid Git client. I have been using it since last year. It has many solid features and well maintained by the developers. It costs a pretty penny, but you can use the trial version for 30 days.


[+7] [2009-01-19 05:12:19] Baishampayan Ghose

I would highly recommend GitNub [1]. Very nice UI.


(3) gitnub is only for viewing a repository history, it does not allow you to commit etc... - Nathan Reed
[+6] [2010-05-08 03:37:57] Felipe Cypriano

== Updated ==

For sure the best one now is Tower [1], it's in beta but it's very stable.

== Old Answer ==

I used to use GitX, but it has little functionality at the time.

I'm really enjoying day by day work with SmartGit [2], good interface and lots of functionalities.

SmartGit also supports git-svn for those, like me, that uses Git locally and push to a SVN repo.


Tower is $60. It may be great, but it's not that great. - mattmc3
[+6] [2010-09-03 01:34:47] Kevin Sylvestre

I've been using Gitbox [1] for the past few weeks. Most excellent (although still not as good as Versions [2] for SVN).


[+5] [2010-12-09 08:54:11] eatsleepdev
Concur. Tower all the way. I use it daily, along with GitHub (web site). - Jonny Nott
[+3] [2010-01-28 03:17:54] Anh Nguyen

I think smartgit is powerful and best though it's quite heavyweight. It's commercial, but there's a free version for private use too :)

[+3] [2010-04-21 13:44:15] jcsiegrist

Brotherboards experimental branch 3-22-2010 ist also very very nice. Many new features over the gitx 0.7x builds. See brotherbard / gitx on github [1] and download


[+3] [2011-01-26 00:13:04] Dave DeLong

For those of you who have Xcode 4 developer preview access, it has pretty decent Git integration.

[+3] [2011-02-08 03:50:04] carleeto

Coming from Windows, where I am used to the awesomeness that is Visual Studio combined with GitExtensions, I have to say I have not found an equal in the mac world. I have tried: GitGUI, Gitk, GitX, GitY, GitBox, Gitti, SmartGit and Git Tower. What I have ended up doing is working with GitX, GitY and GitBox open simultaneusly. Combined, between the 3 of them, you can work on your repositories the way you want to. Sure, you still need to pop down to the command line for interactive rebases and the like (or even simple rebases), but for the simpler stuff, it works. I know you wanted one solution. The sad truth is there isn't one on Mac, but you can get pretty close with a combination.

[+2] [2011-09-08 14:28:18] Phil Strong

Visual Command Line love:

add this to you ~/.profile PS1='[\W$(__git_ps1 " (%s)")]\$ '

[+2] [2011-10-12 01:31:49] analogue

The Github client is free and does everything you need to do in a nice GUI. You only need to get used to it.

(1) I have used Tower, GitX, and some other Mac git clients. After Github for Mac was released, it works great, is free, supported and I don't see any reason to use any of the other Git gui clients out there. - Ryan