Upgrade Ubuntu desktop

Key Value
Summary If you’re already running Ubuntu, you can upgrade in a few clicks from the Software Updater. Discover how in this quick tutorial, updated for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
Categories desktop
Difficulty 2
Author Oliver Smith oliversmith@canonical.com

Before you start

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 reinstall and reconfigure your system.

When can I upgrade?

Ubuntu users are prompted to upgrade at different times depending on their current release.

Users on interim releases such as Ubuntu 21.10 are prompted to upgrade within a few days of the next Ubuntu release becoming available. This prompt may happen automatically, or when checking for new updates.

Users on a Long Term Supported release such as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be prompted to upgrade once the first point release of the following LTS is available. For Ubuntu 22.04 LTS this prompt will appear once Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS is available, usually around 3 months after launch.

Once this happens the upgrade path will be identical to the steps detailed in the primary tutorial path.

However, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS users can still upgrade today, as detailed in the section towards the end of this tutorial ‘Upgrading from 20.04 LTS to 22.04 LTS early’.

Getting ready to upgrade

Before proceeding ensure that your software is up to date by running:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

From your terminal, entering your password and pressing Y when prompted.

Also ensure that all of your user data has been backed up. Whilst it is unlikely that data will be lost during the upgrade process, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Launch the software updater

You can find the Software Updater in your application menu. This will check for updates and prompt you to upgrade if it finds a more recent Ubuntu release. If no upgrade prompt appears, you are either on the latest version of Ubuntu or upgrades to the newest release have not yet been enabled.

Please Note: If you are trying to upgrade to an interim release in future (such as the upcoming Ubuntu 22.10). You may need to change your Update settings for the prompt to appear. See ‘Upgrading to interim releases’ at the end of this tutorial.

If the Software Updater finds additional updates, install them prior to upgrading and restart your machine if needed.

Once you have no additional updates to apply. Click Upgrade… to proceed.

Follow the upgrade flow

From this point on, the upgrade UI will guide you through the process. First you will see a link to the release notes for the target release, detailing the newest features, improvements and known issues.

Click Upgrade to continue.

This will take you to an overview window showing you the progress of the upgrade.

As this progresses through the stages you will receive some additional prompts to progress once the upgrade requirements have been gathered.

Click Start Upgrade to continue.

To prevent the OS locking during the process, the lock screen will be disabled.

Click Close to continue.

Once the newest packages have been installed you’ll be prompted to remove the obsolete packages from the previous Ubuntu release.

You can choose to keep them, but by default it’s okay to click Remove to progress.

Despite the warning that removing packages can take several hours, this is extremely unlikely and after a minute or two you will be prompted to restart your system to complete the upgrade.

Click Restart Now to complete the upgrade

Enjoy your shiny new Ubuntu!

That’s it! Your machine may be slower to reboot during this final step as it completes the initial configuration but after that you’ll be up and running with the latest release of Ubuntu. We hope you enjoy all the new features and functionality it has to offer!

Help is always at hand.

If you have any issues with your upgrade process, or get stuck along the way, you can always reach out to our community.

(Optional) Upgrading from 20.04 LTS to 22.04 LTS early

As mentioned, upgrade prompts to move from one Ubuntu LTS release to another are enabled once the .1 release of the latest LTS is available.

However it is still possible to upgrade before this date using the command line! If you are comfortable with the terminal then follow the instructions below. If you are not as familiar with the Linux CLI, it may be better to hold off until the upgrade prompt is enabled.

The command used to upgrade Ubuntu from the CLI is:

sudo do-release-upgrade

This will check for a new release and prompt you to upgrade. However, if you run this prior to the upgrade path being enabled you will get this message.

This means we need to add some modifications to the command.

The first is -d . This allows us to upgrade to a ‘development’ release. Usually it is used by early testers to try Ubuntu versions ahead of their official release, however if you run this from Ubuntu 20.04 LTS it will upgrade to the official, stable version of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Note: If you have modified the Updates menu in Software & Updates to notify you ‘For any new version’ (see the interim release section later) this instruction will upgrade you to Ubuntu 21.10 by default. You will need to revert this to ‘For long-term supported versions’ to get to Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. See the screenshot below for how this menu should look before running the above commands:

Also Note: If you run do-release-upgrade -d from an Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release it will prompt you to upgrade to the in-development version of the next interim release, Ubuntu 22.10 (Kinetic Kudu) ahead of it becoming available in October this year. We recommend not doing this on your primary system as this is for testers only!

The second option we recommend is -f DistUpgradeViewGtk3. This triggers the graphical UI seen above. Let’s run it now:

As you can see this takes you onto the same upgrade path as the primary tutorial, so we’ll leave you to take it from there!

Upgrading via the command line

If you prefer you can simply use the -d command to upgrade directly from the command line. The flow is similar but takes place entirely within the terminal.

Type y to continue the process after the initial command.

For Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, the default Firefox browser now ships as a snap maintained by Mozilla, this prompt lets you know that the previous version of Firefox will be replaced.

Press ENTER to continue.

Then type y when you are prompted to remove obsolete packages (or N if you wish to keep them).

The final step is to restart, as we did in the primary tutorial flow.

Type y and then you’re done!

(Optional) Upgrading to interim releases

Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is a Long Term Supported release and so all users will be prompted to upgrade once Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS is available. However if you want to be prompted to upgrade to the next interim release- Ubuntu 22.10- that will be available later this year then you can enable it in the ‘Software & Updates’ app.

Navigate to the ‘Updates’ tab and change the menu option titled ‘Notify me of a new Ubuntu version’ to For any new version.

With this setting applied you will receive the same upgrade prompt for Ubuntu 22.10 as we saw at the beginning of this tutorial, once it has been officially released.


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

It should be update-manager -d

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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 .

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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

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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)…

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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.


“this time Update Manager will open up and tell you that a new distribution is available. Click Upgrade.”

this part does not match the screenshot below it - on the screenshot it doesn’t say that a new distribution is available nor is there Upgrade button.

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Hi, I am currently using Ubuntu 21.10 and after running updates, i still can’t update to 22.04. Even when I run sudo do-release-upgrade -c , I get the message that no new release is available.

How long until I can manually upgrade o 22.04 from 21.10?

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HI folks, I have heavily refreshed this tutorial based on the feedback here and comments from the community around the ability to upgrade early, I hope this smooths your upgrade path going forward and adds clarity but please do let me know if there are any further questions or issues.