I am fairly new to Ubuntu

My system has been failing to upgrade to 23.04 since it came out.

Instructions are:

  • Install ALL pending software updates
  • then upgrade


sudo apt full-upgrade

ends with the following message:

The following packages have been kept back:

(Package details deliberately omitted.)

0 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 0 to remove and 4 not to upgrade.

I can see more details as expected with:

apt list --upgradable

In answer to the question whether to force the update: How to force "packages [that] have been kept back" to be installed [as] "automatic"?

The general gist was don't and wait for a fix. So how can I upgrade with out forcing the issue?

sudo do-release-upgrade

Fails as expected with:

Please install all available updates for your release before upgrading.

How can/should I get these packages to update? or do I need to delete them and their dependencies? That could be quite painful.

Or do I just carry on waiting?

  • 1
    If you don't provide details (the problematic packages) no one can help you. In general this happens because you have added software sources to your system that cause conflicts in the package system, but if you want detailed help, you must provide detailed info. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 12:24
  • Did you check to see if the held back packages are being phased? The link you provided in you question describes how to do this? If they are being phased there is little risk in forcing the upgrade
    – PonJar
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


First, determine the reason why the packages are kept back.

There are two main possibilities: Phased Updates or Version Conflict

Phased updates are easy to spot and phasing can be easily skipped so you can release-upgrade:

$ sudo apt update 

$ apt policy foo
  Version table:
 *** 1.1.1 500 (phasing=50%) <------------- This package is phasing

// One-time (not permanent) way to immediately install Phased Updates.
$ sudo apt -o APT::Get::Always-Include-Phased-Updates=true upgrade

Version conflicts look more like this: Multiple versions from multiple sources. Each version conflict must be solved or fixed before a release-upgrade is possible. Happily, they are usually not difficult.

$ sudo apt update

$ apt policy foo
  Installed: 1.2
  Candidate: 1.2
  Version table:
 *** 1.1 500
        500 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jammy/main amd64 Packages
     1.2 500
        500 http://someplace-else.org/ stable amd64 Packages   <--- The Problem
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

// Revert to the compatible Ubuntu package by specifying the version
$ sudo apt install foo=1.1

// Delete or disable the source that provides the conflicting package(s)
$ sudo apt edit-sources

// Since your sources just changed:
$ sudo apt update

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