apt is a command-line utility for installing, updating, removing and otherwise managing deb packages on Ubuntu, Debian, and related Linux distributions. It combines the most frequently used commands from the
apt-cache tools with different default values of some options.
apt is designed for interactive use. Prefer using
apt-cache in your shell scripts as they are backward compatible between the different versions and have more options and features.
Most of the
apt commands must be run as a user with
This guide serves as a quick reference for the
Updating package index (
The APT package index is basically a database that holds records of available packages from the repositories enabled in your system.
To update the package index run the command below. This will pull the latest changes from the APT repositories:
sudo apt update
Always update the package index before upgrading or installing new packages.
Upgrading packages (
Regularly updating your Linux system is one of the most important aspects of overall system security.
To upgrade the installed packages to their latest versions run:
sudo apt upgrade
The command will not upgrade those packages that require removal of installed packages.
If you want to upgrade a single package, pass the package name:
sudo apt upgrade package_name
It is always a good idea to configure automatic security updates.
Full Upgrading (
The difference between
full-upgrade is that the later will remove the installed packages if that is needed to upgrade the whole system.
sudo apt full-upgrade
Be extra careful when using this command.
Installing packages (
Installing packages is as simple as running the following command:
sudo apt install package_name
If you want to install multiple packages specify them as a space-separated list:
sudo apt install package1 package2
To install local deb files provide the full path to file. Otherwise, the command will try to retrieve and install the package from the APT repositories.
sudo apt install /full/path/file.deb
Removing Packages (
To remove an installed package type the following:
sudo apt remove package_name
You can also specify multiple packages, separated by spaces:
sudo apt remove package1 package2
remove command will uninstall the given packages but it may leave some configuration files behind. If you want to remove the package including all configuration files use
purge instead of
sudo apt purge package_name
Remove Unused Packages (
Whenever a new package that depends on other packages is installed on the system, the package dependencies will be installed too. When the package is removed the dependencies will stay on the system. This leftover packages are no longer used by anything else and can be removed.
To remove the unneeded dependencies use the following command:
sudo apt autoremove
Listing Packages (
list command allows you to list the available, installed and upgradeable packages.
To list all available packages use the following command:
sudo apt list
The command will print a list of all packages including information about the versions and architecture of the package. To find out whether a specific package is installed you can filter the output with the
sudo apt list | grep package_name
To list only the installed packages type:
sudo apt list --installed
Getting a list of the upgradeable packages may be useful before actually upgrading the packages:
sudo apt list --upgradeable
Searching Packages (
This command allows you to search for a given package in the list of the available packages:
sudo apt search package_name
If found the command will return the packages which name matches the search term.
Package Information (
The information about the package dependencies, installation size, the package source and so on might be useful before removing or installing a new package.
To retrieve information about a given package, use the
sudo apt show package_name
Knowing how to manage packages is an essential part of Linux system administration.
To learn more about the
apt command open your terminal and type
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.