I configured this:

Automatically check for updates: Never

But the update manager keeps poping up against my wishes, I have no control. I feel like I'm using Windows again.

I want to be able to install updates from time to time, manually.

What can I do?

  • Xubuntu 16.04: "Main menu" → "Session and Startup" → "Application Autostart" → uncheck "Update Notifier". Aug 27 '18 at 19:11
  • 1
    protip for debugging desktop notifications using dbus: dbus-monitor --session "interface=org.freedesktop.Notifications" ... I was having a heck of a time identifying which service was sending the notification signals, this helped tremendously.
    – jmunsch
    Apr 10 '19 at 18:23
  • the real answer should be to configure system to just perform all system updates silently and automatically with zero popup windows and no interactive questions ... I am trying to setup my grandmothers ubuntu 19.10 box this way and its still not grandmother proof ...yet but there is hope Nov 14 '19 at 21:06

16 Answers 16


Open up the config file that runs the update-manager part after apt

nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99update-notifier

Add '#' infront of the line making it something similar to:

#DPkg::Post-Invoke {"if [ -d /var/lib/update-notifier ]; then touch /var/lib/update-notifier/dpkg-run-stamp; fi; if [ -e /var/lib/update-notifier/updates-available ]; then echo > /var/lib/update-notifier/updates-available; fi "; };


This worked for me in stopping the update manager popping up after every apt update while still allowing me to run update-manager manually if i wanted to.

  • That seems to have worked for me (16.04)
    – Tico
    Jan 8 '17 at 1:13
  • 3
    The comment syntax for this config file is to start lines with // - this solution may work as long as the APT scripts skip the invalid line rather than stopping with a syntax error.
    – RichVel
    May 27 '17 at 5:16
  • 1
    This didn't work for me on Xubuntu 18.04. I commented out both lines present in the file, but the next day Software Updater window appeared again.
    – Ruslan
    May 15 '19 at 8:58

Disabling the popups in the configuration seems not to be possible, as told by coteyr in the comments on this page (https://askubuntu.com/a/218780/19753: "It's important to note that other then removing update-manager-core you can't really stop the popup. You can just delay it till something else runs apt-get update" – coteyr Nov 18 '12 at 9:14).

I also wanted to get rid of the popups and of the underlying program that would consume the resources of my Ubuntu 12.04 system on a weak Toshiba AC100 (ARM) -- https://answers.launchpad.net/ac100/+question/214505/.

So the simplest working solution must be removing the "update-manager" (as I've mentioned in the comments at https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/46315/4319 ).

I have had no problems after that because I could still use apt-get or synaptic to do package updates.

  • 2
    There're no "comments above".
    – Ruslan
    Sep 29 '16 at 11:23
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    @imz - on 16.10 it couldn't be removed, since it will remove other packages, like ubuntu-desktop: paste2.org/xHxWLBtf - a possible solution: remove the binary file (/usr/bin/update-manager), and apt hold package to prevent updates (echo update-manager hold | sudo dpkg --set-selections).
    – antivirtel
    Mar 1 '17 at 22:31
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    It's probably better to just remove update-notifier rather than the entire update manager. Remember to run pkill update-notifier after removing it (or reboot), otherwise Ubuntu will show an error in the indicator panel. May 30 '17 at 14:33
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    @antivirtel ubuntu-desktop is a metapackage so you can remove it without removing the actual desktop so that shouldn't be a problem.
    – mchid
    Aug 31 '17 at 1:36
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    @DylanParry Attempt to remove update-notifier will also remove update-manager, so no actual difference.
    – Ruslan
    May 14 '19 at 9:01

Just turning off notification of updates will not be enough. There are several background jobs that run apt-get update (including a nightly cron job if I remember right).

To stop the pop-up run update-manager

Then in settings, set Update automaticly to 'Never' and Notify of new version to 'Never'

Sample settings

I suggest leave security at immediately and, setting "others" to every two weeks.

You also need to make sure your not running apt-get update anywhere else. This can happen when you install software, run update-manager, or in a cron job.

If that doesn't work for you:

You can do this by

editing /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic and changeing

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";


APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0";

Last Resort

You can also do apt-get remove update-manager to remove the feature all together.

  • 3
    It's important to note that other then removing update-manager-core you can't really stop the popup. You can just delay it till something else runs apt-get update
    – coteyr
    Nov 18 '12 at 9:14
  • 1
    Ah, apt-get update is the culprit then. So what do I lose exactly if I remove update-manager-core? I think I read somewhere that it will remove the desktop too if you use unity. Nov 18 '12 at 9:43
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    It will remove the desktop 'meta-package'. But that shouldn't harm a thing. It's just a shortcut for installing all the other packages needed for an official "ubuntu" You will loose update-manager. You will need to update manually.
    – coteyr
    Nov 18 '12 at 10:32
  • 6
    Actually running apt-get remove update-manager-core removes almost the entire system. The proper package to remove is update-notifier: apt-get remove update-notifier which will also remove update-manager-core without pushing further packages to be removed. Cheers! :)
    – Rho
    May 16 '16 at 15:54
  • 1
    editing /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic only stop apt-get to check for updates automatically. It won't stop the notification
    – Anwar
    Aug 14 '16 at 7:40

Edit /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades and set:

Prompt=never change this with your favorite editor).

Never use update-manager with -d this checks whether the next release is available or not.


It is good that Ubuntu automatically checks for updates, it is not good that it pops-up windows against your will. You can have less invasive notifications via the gnome bar or from terminal based applications (like Byobu).

To disable the update-notifier while leaving the update-manager automatically checking for updates, run the following from a terminal:

  1. sudo apt-get install gconf-editor in case you don't have it already installed
  2. sudo gconf-editor mind the sudo attribute
  3. search for app->update-notifier and un-tick the "auto-launch" option
  4. close the window
  5. gconf-editor this time as a user (i.e. without sudo)
  6. search again for app->update-notifier and change the "regular_auto_launch_interval" to the number of days you want it to wait before popping-up (0 is immediately, 1 one day, 99999999 basically never again)
  • 1
    This sounds like what I need, but I don't have that option. I have 'apps->update-manager', end there is no 'auto-launch' to un-tick. Jan 25 '13 at 18:32
  • 6
    I do not have update-notifier either (13.04). It seems this instruction is obsolete at least for 13.04? May 30 '13 at 3:38
  • 1
    If you don't have update-notifier entry, you can use command line: gconftool-2 --set "/apps/update-notifier/regular_auto_launch_interval" --type int 9999 Feb 26 '16 at 5:40
  • 1
    Doesn't work as of 17.04
    – detly
    May 30 '17 at 21:58
  • it is not good that ubuntu checks for updates and gives you no choice. checking for updates manually is part of my daily routine on the terminal. GUI popups when not welcome are as welcome as baseball bats to the face
    – pcnate
    Dec 7 '17 at 5:06

You've set it to never check for updates, but you'll find the update manager is opening because it already knows there are updates to be done. Do the updates that it has and it won't bother you again until you update the file lists.

It's a bit like terminal will tell you when there are updates in the apt list that have been put there with 'apt-get update', and will keep on reminding you until you install them.

  • Now you make me doubt about whether I've already done this in this particular box. Will try again Nov 18 '12 at 9:41
  • 1
    This doesn't work for 14.04 (xfce ubuntustudio 64). It checks for updates and reports my computer is up to date.
    – mchid
    May 31 '14 at 23:23
pkill update-notifier
sudo mv /usr/bin/update-notifier /usr/bin/update-notifier.real
echo -e '#!/bin/bash\nwhile :; do /bin/sleep 86400; done' | sudo tee /usr/bin/update-notifier
sudo chmod 755 /usr/bin/update-notifier

Brutal, but effective.

  • 1
    Why a day-long sleep and not a simple exit?
    – muru
    Nov 5 '14 at 2:45
  • that might cause problems if the service manager kept restarting update-notifier when it exited. I'm not exactly sure what program it is that manages this "feature". glad that you can still uninstall it without it immediately breaking anything =/, I hope that not having the ubuntu-gnome-desktop metapackage anymore doesn't leave me out of anything like cool programs added to it in the future
    – sig_seg_v
    Apr 25 '16 at 3:44
  • 2
    This is a solid option but it does not handle package updates. sudo dpkg-divert --divert /usr/bin/update-notifier.ubuntu --rename /usr/bin/update-notifier tells the packaging system that the sys admin has taken over that file.
    – Sean Perry
    May 26 '16 at 19:44

We have installed Ubuntu 20.04 on our local server and installed Lubuntu desktop on it for GUI. We have disabled the update-notifier pop up by uninstalling its package from the server. Below is the command of it.

# sudo apt-get --purge remove lubuntu-update-notifier

I think the above command will be helpful to you.

  • Genius answer, thanks.
    – pacify
    Jan 30 at 14:29

Ubuntu 16.04 running Gnome Session

You can fix that by removing "Update Notifier" from the "Startup Applications."

First allow it to display in the list of your startup applications.

sudo sed --in-place 's/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g' /etc/xdg/autostart/update-notifier.desktop

Then uncheck the item here:


This way you don't need to make any changes in your auto-update configuration (but you can if you want to), rename system files nor remove packages.


I am not sure why anyone has not tried this.

I simply disable all checkpoints under "ubuntu software" and "other software" in "software and updates", besides setting options under "automatic updates" and "check for newer version" to "never". This avoids any check up as there is no link, hence no pop-up.

My main pain point was that these updates eat lot of internet data. For people on move, 3G/4G data is expensive and we'd like to optimize its usage. Hope ubuntu understands this concern and provides simpler options to disable updates completely as per user requirements.


I do not like automatic updates so I want to disable them always. I use Ubuntu 14.04 with Gnome desktop environment. gsettings may not be available in other Ubuntu flavors.

On slow internet connections disabling apt-xapian-index prevents automatic package downloading which will take all your bandwith (I have 256 kb/s mobile sometimes).

sudo chmod a-x /etc/cron.daily/update-notifier-common 
sudo chmod a-x /etc/cron.weekly/apt-xapian-index 
sudo chmod a-x /etc/cron.weekly/update-notifier-common 

gsettings set com.ubuntu.update-notifier regular-auto-launch-interval 3650
gsettings set com.ubuntu.update-manager launch-time 1900000000

Seemed to do the trick for me. 3650 means days... 1900000000 tells that the update-manager is last run on year 2030 :)

Update: On Ubuntu 16.04 it seems that you are able to disable automatic updates with following commands and by editing two files:

sudo mv /etc/xdg/autostart/update-notifier.desktop /etc/xdg/autostart/update-notifier.desktop.old 
sudo mv /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-software-service.desktop /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-software-service.desktop.old

If extension is other than .desktop these commands won't be run on system start.

Edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0";
APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "0";
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "0";

Edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0";

If you have started Update manager even ONCE these files will contain four lines:

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0";
APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "0";
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "0";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0";

Just change all values to "0"


To disable the popup you must disable the program responsible for displaying them, which is update-notifier.

Stop active update-notifier:

  1. pkill update-notfier

Disable the autostart on login for current user:

  1. cp /etc/xdg/autostart/update-notifier.desktop ~/.config/autostart/update-notifier.desktop
  2. echo "X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=false" >> ~/.config/autostart/update-notifier.desktop

Tested on Ubuntu 18.04.5


I had a similar issue. Executing,

apt-get purge update-notifer*

resolved issue! Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS

  • 1
    This is wrong. First, it's misspelled. Second, on 18.04 (and most likely others since 12.04) it removes ubuntu-desktop*. No GUI means no pop-up, but I doubt that's desired.
    – Lucas
    Aug 21 '20 at 12:16
  • See my solution in a separate answer. I saw somewhere a suggestion to use equivs to get rid of update-notifier and in my answer is what I ended up with.
    – loop
    Aug 22 '20 at 20:02

For Ubuntu 16.04, and possibly other releases as well:

sudo chmod 000 /usr/bin/update-manager
sudo chmod 000 /usr/bin/update-notifier

Then reboot. (Alternatively, it is possible that merely logging out and back in is sufficient.)

You can verify that update-manager is not running by examining the output of:

ps auxwww | grep update

(Aside: Other posters have suggested sudo apt-get purge update-notifer*. However, I prefer not to remove packages that might be tangled up in the various desktop meta-packages.)

  • Hmm, several of these answers seem like dangerous hacks.
    – 6005
    Aug 25 '18 at 3:03

To disable the anoying popup after 12.04 had no longer support I did: cd to /etc/apt/apt.conf.d

and edited: 15update-stamp

commented de the original line and added a "fixed" line. My file had:

APT::Update::Post-Invoke-Success {"touch /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp 2>/dev/null || true";};

and now I substituted it with:

APT::Update::Post-Invoke-Success {"touch /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp 2>true || true";};

Now every time the update is run it is sort of as: "updates where searched for, not found (your system was no longer supported), but it was attempted, everything is as ok as it will get"


Replace the update-notifier package with a dummy package to override the component while satisfying dependencies.

equivs-control update-notifier && sed -i 's/.package name\; defaults to equivs-dummy./update-notifier/g' update-notifier && sed -i 's/.short description\; defaults to some wise words/dummy package/g' update-notifier && sed -i 's/. Version\: .enter version here\; defaults to 1.0./Version\: 3.193/g' update-notifier && equivs-build update-notifier && dpkg -i update-notifier_3.193_all.deb

You might need to tune the version number.

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