Disable Automatic Updates on Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux


The objective is to disable automatic updates on Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

Operating System and Software Versions

  • Operating System: – Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver


Privileged access to your Ubuntu System as root or via sudo command is required.


  • # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
  • $ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Other Versions of this Tutorial

Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa)


Warning:Disabling automatic updates comes with a security risk. Once automatic updates are disabled, use $ sudo apt update and $ sudo apt upgrade to keep your system updated manually.

There are some situations when you may want to disable automatic updates. For example if you receive these error messages:

Reading package lists... Done
E: Could not get lock /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)
E: Unable to lock directory /var/lib/apt/lists/

The above is a result of a triggered automatic updates procedure where apt locked down the /var/lib/apt/lists/lock file, thus the administrator is prevented from installing new packages and is forced to wait until the automatic updates refresh cycle is completed.

Disable Automatic Updates from Command Line

Edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades to disable automatic updates from the command line:

$ sudo nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades

Once you have the file opened, switch off the Update-Package-Lists directive from 1 to 0 as shown below on Line 1:

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";

Disable Automatic Updates from Graphical User Interface

You can also disable automatic updates on your Ubuntu 18.04 desktop using the graphical user interface:

Disable automatic updates - Ubuntu 18.04 - Software & updates

Use your search menu to open Software & updates windows.
Disable automatic updates set to never - Ubuntu 18.04

Click on Updates tab and select Never from Automatically check for updates drop down menu.
Disable automatic updates disabled - Ubuntu 18.04

Once you enter your administrative password the automatic updates feature will be disabled.