I know that there are three command to update and then upgrade the whole system, these are:

  • sudo apt-get update # Fetches the list of available updates
  • sudo apt-get upgrade # Strictly upgrades the current packages
  • sudo apt-get dist-upgrade # Installs updates (new ones)

Is there a super-upgrade command that combines all these commands to one?

  • 1
    No, you can do at most sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade – heemayl Feb 14 '16 at 8:46
  • It's still one command-line! ;-) – Fabby Aug 30 '18 at 18:33
  • For those who shall stumble upon this question someday, here's a related one to run update and upgrade as one-liners askubuntu.com/a/1086022/295286 – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Oct 22 '18 at 8:28

There are 3 decent choices:

  1. You could create a script something like the following:

    set -e
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

    Call it something like update.sh and place it in /usr/local/bin and then make the script executable by running:

    sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/update.sh
  2. Another method would be to create a bash alias (in ~/.bashrc) or wherever you normally store your aliases:

    alias update='sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade'
  3. A final method would be to simply string the 3 commands together on the commandline:

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

A few choices...


  • 6
    When you are using dist-upgrade there is no point in doing upgrade beforehand.. – heemayl Feb 14 '16 at 9:03
  • 3
    @heemayl: In theory yes. In practice there are corner cases where a direct dist-upgrade may fail but upgrade followed by dist-upgrade will not. This is largely due package dependency definition bugs or mixing packages from different releases/distributions/PPAs. If one only uses packages from Canonical's official repositories for exactly one release (the default), such errors should be extremely rare and fixed quickly. – David Foerster Sep 21 '16 at 17:50
  • 1
    There's also the impress-friends variant of #3: for x in update {,dist-}upgrade; do sudo apt $x; done – Eli Barzilay Jun 7 '18 at 23:30
  • In step 1, what does "set -e" do? – karjedavpalaa Dec 19 '18 at 3:43

If you are annoyed by too much typing, you can define yourself an "alias". This can be done e.g. by adding a line to the end of your $HOME/.profile like this:

alias sau='sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude upgrade'

(of course you can replace "sau" by something else -- for me that's an acronym to Sudo Apt-get Update). After saving the file, open a new shell (or "source" the .profile again running . $HOME/.profile. Now you can always simply type "sau" to do the complete job. Works great for me with multiple machines.

  • Hm. I guess I was just asking someone to tell me to alias it :P – polandeer Jul 10 '12 at 0:09
  • Yeah, but that's the only way to do it with a "single command". And your question did not exclude this ;) – Izzy Jul 10 '12 at 8:13
  • Tricky. Anyways, the only reason I asked was because I wanted to understand apt better, not because I'm too lazy to write sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude upgrade The reason I asked was because you can do it with pacman (sudo pacman -Syu --noconfirm). – polandeer Jul 12 '12 at 12:14
  • If you have to do that often and on multiple machines, you're glad you can at least have an alias. However: apt-get update has a parameter -u, according to the man page that shows available updates. Did not try whether it then asks to apply them (have no Ubuntu/Debian near me to check right now). – Izzy Jul 12 '12 at 13:31

We can have a one-liner command (no need to scripts, just copy-paste)

sudo apt update -y && sudo apt full-upgrade -y && sudo apt autoremove -y && sudo apt clean -y && sudo apt autoclean -y
  • update - updates the list of packages but do not install
  • upgrade - install new versions of packages if new versions are available
  • full-upgrade - performs the function of upgrade but will remove currently installed packages if this is needed to upgrade the system as a whole (fixing bad dependencies then)
  • autoremove, autoclean and clean - clean old packages which are not needed any more
  • option -y does not request for permission on every step

Unfortunately, the two commands have to be executed separately.

sudo apt install unattended-upgrades

This is the best line yet. All of the other solutions you have to type the one line over and over again every day. This is truly the one-command solution. See offical apt documentation from ubuntu!

By editing the .conf files of this package in /etc you can set the frequency of update, install, clean, autoremove...

Or simply and email including A notification that an update is available with the list of package names

A nice little log file is generated with each change, and I imagine a little script could be written as a gui extension to pop up in the desktop notifications too (off topic haha)

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