I don't need the key in my server's keyring anymore. Is it possible to remove it? I added the key using this command:

 curl http://repo.varnish-cache.org/debian/GPG-key.txt | apt-key add -

Thanks for helping


8 Answers 8


On 16.10 the short key id is no longer shown when you use the list command, but it is actually the last 8 characters of the long hex.

So for example the key id for the following key

pub   rsa4096 2012-05-11 [SC]
      8439 38DF 228D 22F7 B374  2BC0 D94A A3F0 EFE2 1092
uid           [ unknown] Ubuntu CD Image Automatic Signing Key (2012) <[email protected]>

The key id will be EFE21092

  • 35
    Very helpful, thank you. This is extremely unhelpful UX. Commented May 18, 2017 at 11:27
  • 36
    @SColvin you can just do sudo apt-key del "8439 38DF 228D 22F7 B374 2BC0 D94A A3F0 EFE2 1092" and I think it is safer to use the whole fingerprint, the keyid could have duplicates (at least when you use PGP for emails, I read you should share your whole fingerprint and not just the keyid).
    – baptx
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 12:14
  • 5
    has to be one of the stupidest --help listing (totally unclear what the id is) Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 21:32

First you need to find the key id of the key you added. Do this by the command:

sudo apt-key list

It will list all the keys that you have, with each entry looking like this:

pub   1024R/B455BEF0 2010-07-29
uid                  Launchpad clicompanion-nightlies

Once you have figured out which key to remove, use the command sudo apt-key del <keyid> where <keyid> is replaced with the actual keyid of the key you want to remove from your keyring.

$ sudo apt-key del B455BEF0
$ apt-key list | grep clicompan
  • @Raymond No problemo :) Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 20:15
  • 4
    Ah I see the unique Id is on the line labelled pub, not the line labelled uid. Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 7:59
  • 18
    on ubuntu 16.10 results seems a little different : pub rsa4096 2012-05-11 [SC] 8439 .... uid ....
    – mxdsp
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 16:17
  • 7
    Looks like this needs to be updated for 18.04
    – kennyB
    Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 0:12
  • 6
    On 16.10 the short key id is no longer shown when you use the list command, but it is actually the last 8 characters of the long hex. from @wesam answer. Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 14:04

Update for Ubuntu 20.04

after running

sudo apt-key list

you should get the list of apt keys:

pub   rsa4096 2016-04-12 [SC]
      EB4C 1BFD 4F04 2F6D DDCC  EC91 7721 F63B D38B 4796
uid           [ unknown] Google Inc. (Linux Packages Signing Authority) <[email protected]>
sub   rsa4096 2019-07-22 [S] [expires: 2022-07-21]

pub   rsa4096 2017-04-11 [SC] [expired: 2019-09-28]
      D4CC 8597 4C31 396B 18B3  6837 D615 560B A5C7 FF72
uid           [ expired] Opera Software Archive Automatic Signing Key 2017 <[email protected]>

pub   rsa4096 2019-09-12 [SC] [expires: 2021-09-11]
      68E9 B2B0 3661 EE3C 44F7  0750 4B8E C3BA ABDC 4346
uid           [ unknown] Opera Software Archive Automatic Signing Key 2019 <[email protected]>
sub   rsa4096 2019-09-12 [E] [expires: 2021-09-11]

pub   rsa4096 2017-03-13 [SC]
      8CAE 012E BFAC 38B1 7A93  7CD8 C5E2 2450 0C12 89C0
uid           [ unknown] TeamViewer GmbH (TeamViewer Linux 2017) <[email protected]>
sub   rsa4096 2017-03-13 [E]

under uid you have the name of the app, for example:

[ unknown] Opera Software Archive Automatic Signing Key 2019 <[email protected]>

and the key you want to delete is above it:

    D4CC 8597 4C31 396B 18B3  6837 D615 560B A5C7 FF72  <-- THAT'S THE KEY
uid           [ expired] Opera Software Archive Automatic Signing Key 2017 <[email protected]>

and you remove it by putting that key inside double or single quotes like this:

sudo apt-key del "D4CC 8597 4C31 396B 18B3  6837 D615 560B A5C7 FF72"
  • 1
    it also worked for me to take the last 8 characters in the key and remove the space in between: sudo apt-key del A5C7FF72
    – Purefan
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 6:53
  • 2
    yes... I think it would even work if you take any part of that key because it searches the pattern inside that whole key without spaces
    – lewis4u
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 6:58

I made a short script to make things easier and using a string instead of the id.

You can use my script if the key contains a unique string you know.
e.g. in my case for webmin

pub   1024D/11F63C51 2002-02-28
uid                  Jamie Cameron <[email protected]>
sub   1024g/1B24BE83 2002-02-28

I'm sure only the webmin key on my system has jcameron than I use this script to remove the according key.

I saved it as ~/removeAptKey

and run it as

sudo ./removeAptKey jcameron

The ouput should be something like

KEYID: 11F63C51

Here is my script:


function printKeys(){
    echo "Installed keys are"
    echo ""
    sudo apt-key list

if [[ $EUID -ne 0 ]]; then
   echo "This script must be run as root" 1>&2
   exit 1

if [[ $# -eq 0 ]]
    echo "No key name provided"
    exit 1


sudo apt-key list | grep "${UNIQUE}" -B 1 > result.temp

LENGTH=$(cat result.temp | wc -l)

if [[ ${LENGTH} -gt 2 ]]
    echo "Attention you found more than 1 key. Use a more specific string."
    exit 2

if [[ ${LENGTH} != 2 ]]
    echo "Key not found. Doing nothing."
    exit 3

KEYID=$(cat result.temp | grep 'pub' | cut -d " " -f 4 | cut -d "/" -f 2)
echo "KEYID: "$KEYID

apt-key del ${KEYID}

rm result.temp

First I get the upper two lines of my key's block:

  • sudo apt-key list: lists the apt keys as usual
  • grep '${UNIQUE}' -B 1: take only the line containing the unique key string jcameron and -B 1 the line before
  • > result.temp: Save it in a file (which is later removed)

If this returns exactly 2 lines (-> got exactly 1 key) I move on:

  • grep 'pub': Now take only the line with the pup key id
  • cut -d " " -f 4: take the 4th word of that line (the first is pub than come two spaces, than the string we are after ``)
  • cut -d "/" -f 2: take only the part after /

And finally delete this key and cleanup

  • apt-key del ${KEYID} (in my case 11F63C51)
  • rm result.temp: don't need this file anymore
  • 4
    I ran this without a parameter and it just wiped out all my keys. ;( Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 23:11
  • 2
    If anyone else has their keys wipped, I was able to fix it by following these instructions: askubuntu.com/a/145933/13693 Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 2:29
  • Hu? How did this happen? It should exit with an "No key name provided" if there was no parameter..
    – derHugo
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 10:49
  • @derHugo not sure but could it be that the # in that if clause is the culprit?
    – defuzed
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 15:51
  • @defuzed if you mean $# then no. It returns the amount of given parameters.
    – derHugo
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 17:51

I did this,

sudo apt-key list

Find the 'expired' key, then delete it, in my case,

sudo apt-key del "31CF B0B6 5659 B5D4 0DEE  C98D DFA1 75A7 5104 960E"

Then do

sudo apt update

The deleted key will say its not available note that string, in my case DFA175A75104960E

Then update the key like this, for my case DFA175A75104960E needed update,

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys DFA175A75104960E

Should work now.


Before Ubuntu 16.04 (UPDATED 2018-12-22)

apt-key del $(apt-key list | awk 'NR=='$(apt-key list | grep --line-number --regexp "FOOBAR" | cut --fields 1 --delimiter ":")'{print;exit}' | awk '{print $2}' | cut --fields 2 --delimiter "/")

From Ubuntu 16.10 and above

apt-key del $(apt-key list | awk 'NR=='`expr $(apt-key list | grep --line-number --regexp "FOOBAR" | cut --fields 1 --delimiter ":") - 1`'{print;exit}')
  • This will only work if the output is a unique key.
  • FOOBAR is the UID name.
  • 1
    I'm not sure why, but I got an error when I tried to run the 16.04 command you provided. awk: line 1: syntax error at or near { But the angle braces match, so I'm not sure why this doesn't work Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 22:45
  • @GabrielFair Thanks for noticing, back in june it has been working (I copy-pasted it from my console) but now seems that has been updated and the apt-key list format has changed. Now it seems to be working again. (EDIT: Remember to run this as superuser) Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 0:47

Maybe I'm missing something... but you can use the GUI also, on Settings of Software Updater:


  • Yes indeed... that's even easier
    – lewis4u
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 10:46

If you happen to have the .asc key file, you can be sure you are deleting the right key with a command like this. (Replace mykey.asc with your key file below.)

apt-key del "$(gpg -n -q --import --import-options import-show mykey.asc | grep '^pub' -A 1 | tail -n 1 | xargs)"

This command seems to work on Ubuntu 20.04. Credit for the gpg command goes to maxschlepzig for their answer here.

  • when i delete a key like so terminal tells me "OK" but later the error message is still the same. do i need a reboot?
    – SL5net
    Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 15:45
  • @SL5net I don't think you should need to reboot after running this command, but you will probably need to run apt update. It's been a little while since I wrote this answer, though. What error message are you getting? Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 23:54

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