15 Examples of How to Use New Advanced Package Tool (APT) in Ubuntu/Debian

One important thing to master under Linux System/Server Administration is package management using different package management tools.

Different Linux distributions install applications in a pre-compiled package that contain binary files, configuration files and also information about the application’s dependencies.

Read Also: Learn 25 ‘apt-get’ and ‘apt-cache’ Command Examples in Debian based Systems

Package management tools help System/Server Administrators in many ways such as:

  1. Downloading and installing software
  2. Compile software from source
  3. Keeping track of all software installed, their updates and upgrades
  4. Handling dependencies
  5. and also keeping other information about installed software and many more

In this guide, we are going to look at 15 examples of how to use the new APT (Advanced Package Tool) on your Ubuntu Linux systems.

APT is a command-line based tool that is used for dealing with packages on a Ubuntu based Linux systems. It presents a command line interface to the package management on your system.

1. Installing a Package

You can install a package as follows by specify a single package name or install many packages at once by listing all their names.

$ sudo apt install glances
Install Package in Ubuntu
Install a Package

2. Find Location of Installed Package

The following command will help you to list all the files that are contained in a package called glances (advance Linux monitoring tool).

$ sudo apt content glances
Find Installed Package Files Location
Find Installed Package Files Location

3. Check All Dependencies of a Package

This will help you to display raw information about dependencies of a particular package that you specify.

$ sudo apt depends glances
Check Dependencies of Package
Check Dependencies of Package

4. Search for a Package

The search option searches for the given package name and show all the matching packages.

$ sudo apt search apache2
Search For a Package
Search For a Package

5. View Information About Package

This will help you display information about package or packages, run the command below by specifying all the packages that you want to display information about.

$ sudo apt show firefox
Show Package Information
Show Package Information

6. Verify a Package for any Broken Dependencies

Sometimes during package installation, you may get errors concerning broken package dependencies, to check that you do not have these problems run the command below with the package name.

$ sudo apt check firefox
Check Package for Broke Dependencies
Check Package for Broke Dependencies

7. List Recommended Missing Packages of Given Package

$ sudo apt recommends apache2
View Recommended Missing Packages
View Recommended Missing Packages

8. Check Installed Package Version

The ‘version’ option will show you the installed package version.

$ sudo apt version firefox
Check Installed Package Version
Check Installed Package Version

9. Update System Packages

This will help you to download a list of packages from different repositories included on your system and updates them when there are new versions of packages and their dependencies.

$ sudo apt update
Update System Packages
Update System Packages

10. Upgrade System

This helps you to install new versions of all the packages on your system.

$ sudo apt upgrade
Upgrade System
Upgrade System

11. Remove Unused Packages

When you install a new package on your system, it’s dependencies are also installed and they use some system libraries with other packages. The after removing that particular package, it’s dependencies will remain on the system, therefore to remove them use autoremove as follows:

$ sudo apt autoremove
Remove Unwanted Packages
Remove Unwanted Packages

12. Clean Old Repository of Downloaded Packages

The option ‘clean’ or ‘autoclean’ remove all old local repository of downloaded package files.

$ sudo apt autoclean 
$ sudo apt clean
Clean Package Repository
Clean Package Repository

13. Remove Packages with its Configuration Files

When you run apt with remove, it only removes the package files but configuration files remain on the system. Therefore to remove a package and it’s configuration files, you will have to use purge.

$ sudo apt purge glances
Remove Package Configuration Files
Remove Package Configuration Files

14. Install .Deb Package

To install a .deb file, run the command below with the filename as an argument as follows:

$ sudo apt deb atom-amd64.deb
Install Deb Package
Install Deb Package

15. Find Help While Using APT

The following command will list you all the options with it’s description on how to use APT on your system.

$ apt help
APT Command Help
APT Command Help


Always remember that good Linux package management, can help you avoid breaking your system. There are so many other package management tools that you can use in Linux.

You can share with us what you use and your experience with it. I hope the article is helpful and for any additional information, leave a comment in the comment section.

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Aaron Kili
Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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26 thoughts on “15 Examples of How to Use New Advanced Package Tool (APT) in Ubuntu/Debian”

  1. Hi,

    I have a problem with my Debian Installation:

    [email protected]´s password: 

    I can’t write anything after the password:

    The cursor stays still and I can not write

    Please can you help me?

    • That is how it should be. That is a security feature. Anybody looking over your shoulder will not be able to tell how many characters are in your password. The system IS keeping track of the characters you type.

      Type in your password and then hit ENTER. You will be allowed into the system.

  2. Most of the options in this howto neither work in debian sid (apt 1.4~beta1) or in a fully upgraded Ubuntu 16.10. (apt 1.3.1). And that has nothing to do with apt vs. apt-get. Could the author please point to any sources for commands like ‘apt deb’, ‘apt-check’ or ‘apt version’ or ‘apt content’?

    • @Ferdinand

      It is actually true that many of the apt options above do not work on Debian or Ubuntu. However, on Linux Mint they look to be working so well, that is the source of the options you see in this How-To, you can test that yourself.

      • Well, not a big fan of Ubuntu and of Mint here. I just thought, that your headline was a bit off, after trying these commands in Debian. Then someone told me they don’t work in Ubuntu 16.04 either. So I threw 16.10 into a Vbox and …no dice.

      • If the article is based on Linux Mint, say so in the title. Do not suggest that all the commands work in Debian/Ubuntu which they obviously do not.

  3. not available on 16.04, using latest available apt

    # apt
    apt 1.2.15 (amd64)
    Usage: apt [options] command

    Most used commands:
    list – list packages based on package names
    search – search in package descriptions
    show – show package details
    install – install packages
    remove – remove packages
    autoremove – Remove automatically all unused packages
    update – update list of available packages
    upgrade – upgrade the system by installing/upgrading packages
    full-upgrade – upgrade the system by removing/installing/upgrading packages
    edit-sources – edit the source information file

    See apt(8) for more information about the available commands.

    # apt content bash
    E: Invalid operation content

    • @For

      Am running Linux Mint 18 which is has Ubuntu 16.04 as its core, and apt content bash seems to be working fine. apt on Linux Mint is perhaps different from the one on Debian, Ubuntu and its derivatives. This could be the could be the reason why you are getting the error.

  4. Some of these commands didn’t work on my Ubuntu 16.04 system. I checked to make sure “apt” was installed and it shows as being here, but “version” / “check” / and a few others didn’t work.

    Kept getting the error that “version” is an “invalid operation” the same with “check”. So I guess for now? I’ll stick to apt-get and leave this stuff alone until they get it working properly.

    No sense in breaking my skull trying to get this to work when it seems to have some glitches in it. (Sigh……..when will they learn to stop trying to “improve” things that are fine as they are?…)

    • @Eddie G

      Thanks for offering us your experience and thoughts concerning apt tool. It surely realistic to stick with apt-get that has been tested and works very well on Debian and all its derivatives.

  5. “apt update” doesn’t install any updated packages (even for system/critical updates), it only downloads the updated list of packages.
    The system itself may have a mechanism for regularly applying critical updates regularly, but you would do that using the “apt upgrade” command.

  6. The Linux Mint command ‘apt’ is completely different from the one Debian uses — written by different people at different time. The older Mint version has recently been made to mimic the newer Debian version, but it has many more functions unique to it, like ‘version’ and ‘check’. I’d imagine Ubuntu uses the Debian one but I don’t know for certain.

    • Many thanks for informing us of the difference between apt on Debian and some of its derivatives. Perhaps the developers will look into this issue with great concern to improve user experience.

  7. i tried to use two of the options in this tutorial and i get the following errors

    apt content glances
    E: Invalid operation content

    apt deb google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
    E: Invalid operation deb


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