I have recently upgraded from 15.10 to 16.04LTS. Since the upgrade, I have still been prompted occasionally to update by 'Software Updater' which had been present in 15.10. Quite a few updates to Ubuntu core have been done this way.

In the last couple of days, when returning from suspend a popup has appeared in the same place as the wifi connected/disconnected information appears. This new popup told me that 'Important OS and application updates are ready..." before disappearing. Yet when I checked with the 'Software Updater' it told me that the software was up to date. Checking with the new 'Ubuntu Software' (update tab) told me that there were updates, so I clicked 'Install'. It didn't tell me what was being installed.

Why is there this different method of checking and why are the two giving different results?

How can I find out what the new Ubuntu Software did install ?

Edit 9th May

Again today the pop-up appeared. The 'Software Updater' showed the machine was up to date. The 'Ubuntu Software' app showed 1 update. On clicking the '1' icon it showed 1 update, namely: ubuntu-drivers-common 1: I clicked the 'Install' button and installed it.

I'm none the wiser as to why it is only shown as necessary by 1 app and not the other.

  • Yes I am seeing that too. The popup seems to occur at random. Screenshot of what I think we are talking about is here: i.imgur.com/6StEZmR.png
    – bgoodr
    May 7, 2016 at 21:24
  • Having the same issue here, it appears that some updates can be installed via 'Ubuntu Software' but not all. Would be useful if they all could so the 'Software Updater' could be removed but right now its a bit of a mess by the looks of things.
    – dnlbaines
    May 11, 2016 at 10:09
  • It must be some error in the sources.list. Go to Software and Updates and click the Reload sources list button.
    – ipse lute
    May 29, 2016 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


They're two different programs that do similar things.

Software Updater is the update-manager package (Gnome apt) and uses the apt database.

The Software Center (Titled "Ubuntu Software") is the gnome-software application and doesn't seem to use the apt database. But if you see "OS updates" under the "Updates" tab, you can click on it (the text) and it will show you what will be installed.

Why the two show different things is probably in the way they pull their package metadata.

Also, you can view the history of installs and updates here /var/log/apt/history.log

  • 2
    "Software Updater uses the apt database. (...) The Software Center (...) doesn't seem to use the apt database..." - actually, from my experience with 16.04, it feels like the opposite is true. As an example, I've sudo apt-get updated and ran Software Updater. It shows that everything is up-to-date. Now, the Software Center shows two updates - one of them contains an update from libgtk-3-bin 3.18.9-1ubuntu3 to 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.1. And here's the important part - after sudo apt-get upgrade, these updates (seen by the Software Center but not by the Software Updater) were applied.
    – falconepl
    Jul 12, 2016 at 17:05
  • as falconepl said - it looks like the new software center is using apt database. for me it worked the other way - after installing updates via the new "Ubuntu Software" previously offered updates via apt-get upgrade are no loner offered to install Oct 26, 2016 at 19:00
  • You can see what the update is, as stated in the answer above, by clicking the text in the tab. I usually click the refresh button before installing, many times the packages listed go away and a "check" icon appears, but there are some that are still listed as an update, I install at that point. It is odd to me and probably confusing to many that OS updates can be in the Software/App Center. IMO it is more user friendly to have a single update service Software Updater. May 2, 2017 at 21:22

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