Upgrade Ubuntu desktop

Key Value
Summary If you’re already running Ubuntu, you can upgrade in a few clicks from the Software Updater.
Categories desktop
Difficulty 2
Author Canonical Web Team webteam@canonical.com

Before you start

Duration: 1:00

ⓘ We recommend that you back up your existing Ubuntu installation before you update your computer.

Being able to upgrade Ubuntu from one version to the next is one of Ubuntu’s best features. You benefit from getting the latest software, including new security patches, and all the upgraded technology that comes with a new release without having to resort to reinstalling and reconfiguring your system.

Best of all, upgrading Ubuntu to the latest release is easy. As we’ll demonstrate!

If you are upgrading from Ubuntu 14.04, please read the upgrade notes for more information.

For more recent versions, please read the release notes for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Launch the Software Updater

Duration: 1:00

On versions of Ubuntu prior to 18.04, press the Superkey (Windows key) to launch the Dash and search for Update Manager.

Software Updater from Dash

For Ubuntu 18.04 or later, click on the Show Applications icon in the bottom left of the desktop and search for Update Manager.

Software Updater from Gnome

As the application launches it will first check if there are any updates for your current version of Ubuntu that need to be installed. If it does find any, install these first and run Update Manager again if you need to restart your machine.

Check for updates

Duration: 3:00

Update Manager will open a window to inform you that your computer is up to date. Click on the Settings button to open the main user-interface.

Select the tab called Updates, if not already selected. Then set the Notify me of a new Ubuntu version dropdown menu to either For any new version or For long-term support versions, if you’re wanting to update to the latest LTS release. You may be asked for your password to make this change. See the Ubuntu wiki for details on the differences between standard and LTS releases.

Click on Close to be taken back to the update pane and OK to close this.

We now need to open Update Manager one more time, only this time Update Manager will open up and tell you that a new distribution is available. Click Upgrade.

If no upgrade appears

An upgrade will not appear if upgrades to the next release of Ubuntu are not recommended yet and have not been enabled.

Install the upgrade

Duration: 15:00

After asking for your password, you will be presented with the Release Notes for the release you’re about to upgrade to.

Select the Upgrade button to start the initialisation process. A few moments later you’ll be asked Do you want to start the upgrade? Press Start Upgrade to pass the point of no return and start the upgrade process.

The upgrade will now proceed. The Distribution Upgrade pane will track the upgrade process and allow you to monitor progress. As the process is dependent on both your network connection and the performance of your computer, the upgrade could take anything from ten or 20 minutes to an hour or more.

Upgrade progress

After the new packages are installed, you may be asked whether you want to remove any obsolete packages. These are packages that were installed on your previous version of Ubuntu but are no longer required by the new one. You can safely select Remove.

Upgrade complete

Finally, you’ll be asked to restart the system to complete the upgrade.

Congratulations! You have successfully upgraded Ubuntu!

Finding help

Duration: 1:00

If you get stuck, help is always at hand.

The command which is used for update is wrong in the image above

It should be update-manager -d


In the ‘Launch the Software Updater’ section:

On versions of Ubuntu prior to 18.04, press the Superkey (Windows key) to launch the Dash and search for Update Manager .

it should be:

…search for Software Updater .

Hi, just some feedback on the first page:

It says “Best of all, upgrading Ubuntu to the latest release is easy. As we’ll demonstrate!”

and then the next line invites me to click to

“For more recent versions, please read the release notes for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.”

I did and was lost lost. I went back and only noticed the white button for the next tutorial part later.

Also, please consider removing the term easy.

Saying that something is easy is always a problem, because that’s talking down people who may not find this easy at all. For users of other operating systems, updating Ubuntu without external help is scary enough. No need to make them feel dumb, because you don’t want them to give up at this point.

A more welcoming introduction would be

“This guide provides step-by-step intructions to show you how you can upgrade Ubuntu to the latest release by yourself.”

The line following that should not ask to read the release notes of previous Ubuntu version. If at this point it’s required to read those, please add a sentence before telling the reader why reading those is necessary and what to look out for.

From the next page on, the tutorial seems less challenging.

Section “If no upgrade appears” still refers to the upgrade to 19.10, not 20.04.

There is a typo on the command. Thanks.

i’m using another window manager (awesomewm) - how can we enter “software updater” or “update manager” from command line?

came here to this page to obtain .iso image to repair my installation of 18.04.5 LTS. but frustrated that you don’t provide easy way to access .iso my install is damaged (by me) so certain tools don’t work including what seems like “update manager”.

this site has very little useful information on repairing the OS by re-installing it. you provide lots of info on upgrading but next to nothing on repairing. this should not be that hard.

thanks for taking time to read my feedback.

“For more recent versions, please read the release notes for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS .”

Since this is the upgrade info page presented for all versions, this line needs to be updated to include links to non-LTS versions. The release notes for Impish Indri are currently impossible to find.

they are at Impish Indri Release Notes

Yes, I found them there after some searching. But that location isn’t the usual one - release notes for other versions are in the wiki - and it’s not clear if those release notes on discourse are final. They probably are, but there’s no indication either way, and they’re not in the usual published location.

But mainly I’m suggesting that there really should be a link from this upgrade page - since it’s the page presented to all users for any upgrade.

for all recent releases since the discourse Community Hub exists the release notes are managed here …

i.e. see the official 21.10 announcement mail

Typically the Release Notes live in the discourse Release category , perhaps the text should simply point there instead of explicitly listing single releases (so it does not need to be touched with each and every new release)…

Not having to update this page for every release would be good. But the Release category has a lot of other stuff that end-users coming in from the Ubuntu main web page are probably not interested in. Would be nice if there was a subcategory just for Release Notes.