Hands-on: Try the Use Refresh-Only Mode to Sync Terraform State tutorial on HashiCorp Learn.
terraform refresh command reads the current settings from all managed
remote objects and updates the Terraform state to match.
Warning: This command is deprecated, because its default behavior is unsafe if you have misconfigured credentials for any of your providers. See below for more information and recommended alternatives.
This won't modify your real remote objects, but it will modify the Terraform state.
You shouldn't typically need to use this command, because Terraform
automatically performs the same refreshing actions as a part of creating
a plan in both the
commands. This command is here primarily for backward compatibility, but
we don't recommend using it because it provides no opportunity to review
the effects of the operation before updating the state.
terraform refresh [options]
This command is effectively an alias for the following command:
terraform apply -refresh-only -auto-approve
Consequently, it supports all of the same options as
terraform apply except that it does not accept a saved
plan file, it doesn't allow selecting a planning mode other than "refresh only",
-auto-approve is always enabled.
Automatically applying the effect of a refresh is risky, because if you have misconfigured credentials for one or more providers then the provider may be misled into thinking that all of the managed objects have been deleted, and thus remove all of the tracked objects without any confirmation prompt.
Instead, we recommend using the following command in order to get the same effect but with the opportunity to review the changes that Terraform has detected before committing them to the state:
terraform apply -refresh-only
This alternative command will present an interactive prompt for you to confirm the detected changes.
-refresh-only option for
terraform plan and
terraform apply was
introduced in Terraform v0.15.4. For prior versions you must use
terraform refresh directly if you need this behavior, while taking into
account the warnings above. Wherever possible, avoid using
explicitly and instead rely on Terraform's behavior of automatically refreshing
existing objects as part of creating a normal plan.