The objective is to install the Unity desktop environment and perform a switch from the default 18.04 desktop environment. See also our article: The 8 Best Ubuntu Desktop Environments (18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux) for more desktop environment choices.

Operating System and Software Versions

  • Operating System: - Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver


Administrative root/sudo permissions.


  • # - 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)


Install Unity desktop environment

The Unity desktop manager has been the default Ubuntu desktop manager for number of years since April 2011. This has changed, however the Unity is still available for an installation. The Installation of Unity desktop manager is simple as:
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install ubuntu-unity-desktop
default display manager installation notification
Select default display manager
Any selection of display manager should work here. However, note that lightdm is a default display manager for the Unity desktop.
Reboot your system once the Unity installation is completed.

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Switch to Unity desktop environment

Once you finish the installation, logout your user and select Unity from the login screen. You will need to first click on your name before you select Unity for your next session:

make switch from default to unity desktop environemnt on ubuntu 18.04 bionic beaver
If you have multiple desktop environemnts installed then make sure to select Unity desktop manager before you log in. Click on the Ubuntu icon.
Unity as default dekstop
Confirm that Unity is selected as default desktop environment. Click on the arrow to return to login screen.
Unity desktop on Ubuntu 18.04 bionic beaver
Unity desktop on Ubuntu 18.04 bionic beaver
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