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I want to be sure if automatic updates are enabled on Ubuntu 12.04 server.

How exactly can I check this?

And how can I disable automatic updates if it's enabled?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 28 down vote accepted

There is a package that can be used to do this for you.

sudo apt-get install unattended-upgrades

or if unattended-upgrades already installed. Or you can checkout the Ubuntu docs

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -plow unattended-upgrades

That is the package you need to install. Once its installed edit the files


In that file you can set how often you want the server to update.

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";
APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "1";
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "7";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";

The file should look like that. The 1 means it will update every day. 7 is weekly.


This files will let you chose what updates you want to make by choosing where apt can search for new updates and upgrades. ( My personal opinion on this is I would set it to security if this is a server )

Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins {
//      "${distro_id}:${distro_codename}-updates";


The variables ${distro_id} and ${distro_codename} are expanded automatically. I would comment out the updates entry and just leave security.

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Should this be updated to mention /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades as this is where APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1"; and APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1"; are kept by default on 13.10? – steakunderscore Mar 4 '14 at 0:24
also, on my Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS the 50unattended-upgrades file already has only security updates set, so that default seems correctly set there and the file should not need to be edited. – Jeff Atwood May 15 '14 at 20:14
In my fresh ubuntu server, there is no /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic in there. There is unattended-upgrades package already installed and /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades is there too. My question is, I manually added /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic and should I reboot my server so the configuration will take effect? – foresightyj Aug 14 at 8:09
This appears to be a guide on how to install and setup unattended upgrades, not how to assert upgrades are applying. – ThorSummoner Oct 29 at 18:43

Automatic Updates are enabled by default. If not, to enable automatic updates, just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command below.

sudo apt-get install unattended-upgrades

For more information, and how to configure these updates, see Ubuntu Documentation

In server, you can also you can edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades, and comment out update update you don't want to upgrade automatically. These edit must be done with root privileges.

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I don't think that's turned ON by default, at least not on a server installation. However, it looks like the package is indeed installed automatically even on servers. – Alexis Wilke Mar 5 at 22:58

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