Can anyone please define what exactly the APT cache is?

  • 3
    apt-cache's manual, maybe this can help out a bit, while waiting for someone to give you a better answer?
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 13:56
  • Are you referring to the terminal command 'apt-cache'?
    – loklaan
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 14:00
  • The heading says apt-cache and not "APT cache", then also there's the command-line tag and also the only question to date which describes the command is almost as much upvoted as the question, so I must suppose the question refers to the command. But what is the "APT cache" used for? That's a very legit question. I asked it here. Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


apt-cache is a command to manipulate and obtain information from the packages at apt's cache.

It creates a repository of information about the packages that are avaiable from your sources list, so this way you can search packages and information about it.

Let's say you want to install a chat program but you don't know the name of a package for it.

You would open a console and type:

sudo apt-cache search chat

This would return a list of packages available and that refer to the word chat.

Typical operations with apt-cache:

apt-cache add

Adds a package file to the source cache.

apt-cache gencaches

Builds both the package and source cache

apt-cache showpkg

Show some general information for a single package

apt-cache stats

Show some basic statistics

apt-cache dump

Show the entire file in a terse form

apt-cache dumpavail

Print an available file to stdout

apt-cache unmet

Show unmet dependencies

apt-cache check

Check the cache a bit

apt-cache search

Search the package list for a regex pattern

apt-cache show

Show a readable record for the package

apt-cache depends

Show raw dependency information for a package

apt-cache pkgnames

List the names of all packages

apt-cache dotty

Generate package graphs for GraphVis

Don't forget to add package name after the commands listed above.



You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .