I want to enable the System tray icon for Pidgin in Ubuntu 11.10 (with Unity), but I don't see it.

I have to start it again and again from the launcher panel or from the dash.

Is there a workaround to show the system tray icon in Unity? I think it's the same behavior for Skype and some other applications also.


6 Answers 6


For 12.10 and older:


gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

(from http://www.webupd8.org/2011/10/things-to-tweak-after-installing-ubuntu.html)

and remember to set the system tray to "always" in pidgin preferences.

enter image description here

If the change doesn't take effect immediately, run unity --replace


For 13.04:

The migration of Pidgin to the new libmessaging-menu API, which caused this issue, is now done for Pidgin, but still under testing. Also, only a Ubuntu 13.04 package is provided so far, but since it does not introduce any dependencies on other stuff from 13.04, I was able to just install it from the PPA of the programmer who fixed it. According to his instructions, this is what fixed it for me:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jconti/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pidgin-libnotify

You should now have pidgin-libnotify version 0.14-9ubuntu1. In addition, you have to add the following line to /usr/share/applications/pidgin.desktop:


Then restart Pidgin, it should now get an entry in the message indicator menu of the panel again, so that when closing its window, it stays running.


It is NOT necessary (any more) to install this repository as of May 23. Probably the updates have been officially included by now.

Just make sure the libnotify plugin is active! With Ubuntu 12.10 (and previous) and the whitelist for system tray icons you/the user may have deactivated the libnotify plugin on purpose.

  • That PPA doesn't seem to have build for Raring. May 1, 2013 at 10:16
  • 1
    I tried the suggestions on my Raring installation, but it seems it doesn't work. Sep 17, 2013 at 2:49

In 11.10 Unity has hidden the system tray access to pidgin under the messaging icon that looks like an envelope. If you click it, there should be an entry for Pidgin. Not exactly what you're looking for, but at least it's accessible somehow via the system tray.



  1. run dconf-editor
  2. open desktop -> unity -> panel
  3. set systray-whitelist to "['all']"
  • Thanks this tweak resolved my problem for a different app! Jan 24, 2012 at 13:07
  • 1
    I don't see "panel" under desktop->unity?! Using Ubuntu 12.10. Apr 5, 2014 at 16:56

As you can read on launchpad they changed the messages indicator and the pidgin indicator is not adapted to these changes. There is a ppa for the recent development but as it says on launchpad:

for quantal we will add those soon:
- pidgin
- xchat-indicator
- evolution-indicator

meaning we still have to wait for it :-(

If it's finally out you can add the ppa using

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/ppa
sudo apt-get update

There is no way to tell for sure what package you have to install after that but there is a good chance it will be

sudo apt-get install checkbox-unity

Under 13.10 the only solution to bring the sys-tray back is:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:timekiller/unity-systrayfix
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
  • I use 14.04. Adding and upgrading and executing gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']" didn't work out for me. Any idea what would work for the LTS version?
    – stats-hb
    Mar 15, 2016 at 10:16

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