How to Update One or All Apps on Linux in Seconds

Ben Stegner 08-04-2016

It’s a fact of computing: apps are going to nag you to update Why Do Apps Nag Me to Update & Should I Listen? [Windows] Software update notifications seem like a constant companion on every computer. Every app wants to update regularly, and they nag us with notifications until we give in and update. These notifications can be inconvenient, especially... Read More . These shouldn’t be ignored, though, as updates often carry security patches, bug fixes, and new features that make the software more useful.


We’ve talked about the essentials to updating Linux and Linux software Updating Ubuntu OS & Applications: The Essentials Any Ubuntu User Should Know Updating your Ubuntu operating system and its installed applications is a fairly simple process, but it works very differently from Windows. All the software you install from the Ubuntu Software Center comes from Ubuntu’s software... Read More , but perhaps you just want to quickly update an application on your computer and get on with life.

For those times, there’s a simple terminal command to update anything on your computer:

sudo apt-get install [package name here]

This command will simply check for  and install any updates on the software specified. If you don’t know the package name of the app you’d like to update, you can run the following command to list all the packages on your system (the “| less” lets you scroll using the arrow keys):

apt-cache pkgnames | less

There are a few more commands you can use to beef up this process if you’d like to update everything at once. Running the following command will grab the latest information about the software on your computer:

sudo apt-get update

Once you run this, run this command to update all software that has a newer version. The system will list everything that will be updated by this command and ask you to confirm by typing Y.

sudo apt-get upgrade

That’s it! Now you have all you need to quickly update apps in Linux right from the terminal.

Don’t have much software to update yet? Check out our list of the best Linux software The Best Linux Software and Apps Whether you're new to Linux or you're a seasoned user, here are the best Linux software and apps you should be using today. Read More .

Do you prefer to update Linux apps through the terminal or GUI? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Image Credit: arka38 via

Related topics: Linux, Software Updater.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Anonymous
    April 26, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Totally agree with Michael J Tobias!. Why not combine of those commands with an aliases ( shortcut for quickly accessing linux commands line). I got the tutorial from It very useful to save the time!

  2. Anonymous
    April 8, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Also your update will never be newer than the offical repository. Adobe Flash is the beset example. I run Debian stable. The Flash updates take forever and stable does not use the latest flash update. You will get messages that your flash player is out of date all the time. I update flash myself for that reason.

    • Anonymous
      April 9, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      "your update will never be newer than the offical repository"
      That may depend on the distro. Arch has the AURs. Ubuntu-based distros have PPAs. Many other distros have community repositories which may contain never versions of packages than are in the official repos.

  3. William Peckham
    April 8, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I do hope you realize that your document is totally invalid for the majority of the Linux universe. It applies only to apt/dpkg based systems, and ignores all others as if they do not exist.

    RHEL/CentOS/Fedora based distribtions are all yum/RPM based and would not normally have any APT utilities, commands, or features at all.

    Not to mention that many of the (arguably best, in one sense or another) distributions are source based or use a non-apt, non-yum, software maintenance system.

    When you title your documents, you should specify to what system that apply. If you cannot, then you need to document the steps for a majority of the software systems, not only one.

    • Anonymous
      April 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      Not to defend the author but at least this time his commands can be applied to all the Debian-based distros. Normally, whenever a MUO article mentions Linux, Linux == Ubuntu. MUO philosophy and policy seems to say that since Ubuntu is the most popular distro, why even bother mention others.

  4. Michael J. Tobias
    April 8, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Better yet, combine a few of those commands and then create an alias for them.