Say I recently installed unattended-upgrades via:

sudo apt-get install unattended-upgrades -y
sudo dpkg-reconfigure --priority=low unattended-upgrades -y

Does unattended-upgrades also include apt-get autoremove?

Or should I add a weekly cronjob atop the unattended-upgrades layer to make sure dependencies of deleted packages are removed as well, via crontab -e and then:

0 0 * * 0 apt-get autoremove -y

Note: Feel free to mention similar apt concepts besides autoremove if these are needed.

2 Answers 2


Whether or not unattended-upgrades will perform the cleanup (auto remove) is controlled by the Unattended-Upgrade::Remove-Unused-Dependencies setting in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades. Set it as follows to enable the cleanup -- and you should be able to remove the explicit autoremove cron-job:

Unattended-Upgrade::Remove-Unused-Dependencies  "true";
  • 2
    Before enabling this, consider whether or not it's necessary - newer versions of unattended-upgrades have the option Remove-New-Unused-Dependencies enabled automatically, which basically performs autoremove, but only for packages newly made unused after an upgrade run. (The Remove-Unused-Kernel-Packages option mentioned below also appears to be enabled by default now.) Oct 11, 2021 at 21:16

In addition to Mikhail's suggestion, it is also useful to autoremove unused kernel packages. This will keep the /boot/ partition from filling up on some Ubuntu systems. A full /boot partition can lead to issues.

Unattended-Upgrade::Remove-Unused-Kernel-Packages "true";
  • This might qualify as a comment, but not as an answer in any case.
    – Cbhihe
    Mar 17, 2020 at 20:31

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