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๐Ÿ”ฆ Skip the default_scope in your associations (ActiveRecord)

Unscoped Associations

Gem Version Build Status

Have you ever needed to skip the default_scope when fetching objects through associations methods (for some strange reasons)? Do it easily with this Active Record extension!

Supported associations:

  • :belongs_to
  • :has_one
  • :has_many

Officially supported (tested) Active Record versions: 3.2, 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 and 5.0.


Add this line to your Gemfile:

gem 'unscoped_associations'

Or install the gem manually:

gem install unscoped_associations


Basic usage example:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :comments
  has_many :all_comments, class_name: 'Comment', unscoped: true

  default_scope { where(active: true) }

class Comment < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :user, unscoped: true

  default_scope { where(public: true) }

From now on, you get:

  • @user.comments: returns all public comments
  • @user.all_comments: returns all comments skipping the default_scope
  • @comment.user: returns the user without taking account the 'active' flag


This project was originally thought and built for a Rails 3.2 application.

Rails 4 introduces some updates regarding associations. For example, since Rails 4 (AR 4 to be precise), you are able to customize associations using a scope block (overriding conditions), so you can skip the default_scope conditions by:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :all_comments, -> { where(public: [true, false]) }, class_name: 'Comment'

Since Rails 4.1, you can also override the default conditions using the unscope method:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :all_comments, -> { unscope(where: :public) }, class_name: 'Comment'

Anyway, you can continue using unscoped_associations, could be useful in certain situations, for example, if you prefer to bypass the entire default_scope, given a scope with multiple conditions, like:

default_scope { where(public: true, deleted_at: nil).order(:updated_at) }

Rails 5.0 is also supported as a migration path to facilitate upgrades.


  • Under the hood, Unscoped Associations relies on the unscoped method (from AR). So, chaining unscoped associations with other AR query methods won't work. E.g.: @user.all_comments.count will load comments with the defaul_scope applied. In this case, @user.all_comments.to_a.count should work.
  • Unscoped Associations doesn't touch the preloading layer, so includes, joins, ... in combination with an unscoped association can cause N+1 problems.


Any kind of fixes, both code and docs, or enhancements are really welcome!

To contribute, just fork the repo, hack on it and send a pull request. Don't forget to add specs for behaviour changes and run the tests by:

bundle exec rspec
bundle exec appraisal rspec # run against all supported AR versions


Copyright (c) Marc Anguera. Unscoped Associations is released under the MIT License.