How to Update Ubuntu packages on 18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux


The objective is to provide Ubuntu user with an information on how to update Ubuntu packages in order to keep Ubuntu system up to date.

This guide will provide you with instructions on how to update Ubuntu packages from the command line as well as to keep your software packages up to date using the graphical user interface.

Operating System and Software Versions

  • Operating System: – Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux


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

h2>Other Versions of this Tutorial

Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa)


Unlike proprietary operating systems, Ubuntu as well as any Linux like operating system come with free of change software updates privilege for every user.

The standard Ubuntu releases are continuously supported for 9 months since the initial release date whereas Ubuntu LTS (long-term support) releases such us Ubuntu 18.04 are supported for duration of five years since the Initial release date ( 26.4.2018 ) for both the desktop and the server. During this time user can automatically or manual apply any security fixes and other critical updates to keep their Ubuntu system updated at all times.

Keeping your system updated will help you protect your computer against vulnerabilities that may be exploited by hackers’ malicious software.

More information about the Ubuntu 18.04 update support cycle is shown below:

Ubuntu Update support cycle

Ubuntu Update support cycle.

User can at any time check the update support duration of all packages by using theubuntu-support-status command.

$ ubuntu-support-status

For example the below image shows the status update support expiry of our currently installed Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver:

Ubuntu 18.04 update support status

Ubuntu 18.04 update support status.


Update Ubuntu via Command Line

Despite of the availability of Ubuntu Software Updates via the graphical user interface application, updating the Ubuntu system via the command line is the preferred way to keep you system up to date as it will provide you with more transparency and control.

To begin the Ubuntu update of your system first we need to update the packages index list. Open up terminal and enter:

$ sudo apt update

Next, we have the option to list all packages which are scheduled for update:

$ apt list --upgradable

At this stage we have an option to update individual packages using apt install PACKAGE-NAME or install update for all packages at once:

$ sudo apt upgrade

All done. Your Ubuntu system is now fully updated.

Kept Back Packages

Due to package dependency changes some of the packages might be kept back.

If this is this case you may now upgrade each kept back package individually using apt install PACKAGE-NAME command or update all kept back packages at once:

$ sudo apt dist-upgrade

No Longer Required Packages

During your initial system update some of the packages may become obsolete, hence are no longer required. To remove all no longer required packages execute:

$ sudo apt autoremove

Update Ubuntu via Graphical User Interface

Alternative to Ubuntu system update via the command line is to perform Ubuntu update via the graphical user interface. To begin the Ubuntu update search the Activities menu for the update keyword:

Ubuntu update - begin Ubuntu update process.

Click on Software Update icon to begin Ubuntu update process.

Ubuntu update - updated package index list

Ubuntu Software Updater first needs to download an updated package index list.

Ubuntu update - Details of updates

Hit Install Now button to begin the Ubuntu packages update or click on Details of updates to see more information regarding the proposed system update.

Ubuntu update - select or deselect individual packages scheduled for update

Optionally select or deselect individual packages scheduled for update. Information regarding the package version for each individual package can be obtained by clicking on Technical description. Once ready, hit the Install Now button to begin Ubuntu packages update.

Ubuntu update - administrative password

Enter your administrative password and click on Authenticate.

Ubuntu update - in progress

Ubuntu update in progress. Click on Details to reveal more information about the running system update.

Ubuntu update - More detailed information

More detailed information regarding the Ubuntu update progress.

Ubuntu update - Ubuntu system is now updated

Your Ubuntu system is now updated.