What is APT in Linux? [Installation, Usage & More]

APT is an abbreviation for Advanced Package Tool. It is used for downloading, removing, or upgrading software packages. APT is a powerful tool that can also be used with sudo, which lets us be the super user or sudo root user. In this article, you will get to know all the aspects and features of APT in Linux.

How APT Works

Advanced Package Tool (APT) is a collection of tools used to install, update, remove, and otherwise manage software packages on Debian and its derivative operating systems, including Ubuntu and Linux Mint. APT works through the use of repositories, or special directories that hold collections of software packages.

When apt-get update is called, APT tries to connect to all specified repositories in the file and download information about those repositories what programs are available, and so on. It caches all retrieved data locally to use it later without making internet requests to the repository.

Also the apt is command is used to install, upgrade, or remove binaries as well as their configuration data files and dependencies 3. The apt-cache command is used to search for packages and display information about them

How to Use APT in Linux

APT must be used with sudo. Because to install, remove or upgrade you need to be root users. sudo grants root privileges while running a command.

Here are the ways how to use APT in Linux:

Install Packages Using APT

The syntax of installing a package using APT is: sudo apt install <package name>. For example, to install “ncal” package, run the below command:

sudo apt install ncal

give password for using aptProvide the password and you will see the installation start.

Now to check whether “ncal” is installed, run ncal. This should give you the calendar of the running month. The terminal should show-this is a picture of current calender month

To install multiple packages, write the package name separated by space. For example:

sudo apt install ncal teamviewer firefox

Remove Packages Using APT

The syntax of removing a package using APT is: sudo apt remove <package name>. For example, to remove “ncal” package, run the below command:

sudo apt remove ncal

Now it will ask for confirmation. Type y and press ENTER.
removing ncal using aptThe output shows that “ncal” is removed.

Purge in APT

To remove the package and the configuration files too, use purge. The syntax is:

sudo apt purge package

To remove multiple packages, write the package name separated by space. For example:

sudo apt remove pack1 pack2

Autoremove in APT

While installing a package, some software packages are installed as dependencies. To remove the dependency packages associated with a package, use sudo apt autoremove.

Update Packages Using APT

To update all the available packages with APT, use the command below:

sudo apt update

asking password for running aptProvide the password and you will see that update started.
showing output of apt updateNow there might be times when you need to upgrade your system rather than update. First, you will run an update, then the terminal will tell you if there is anything to update. You can see the list of upgradable packages using:

sudo apt list --upgradable

list of upgradable filesHere is the list of available upgradable packages in the system.

Upgrade Using APT

To upgrade all the available packages with APT, use the command below:

sudo apt upgrade

This will start upgrading all the existing packages in the system.upgrading all the files with apt upgrade

To Upgrade a specific package, use the following syntax:

sudo apt upgrade package_name

This will start upgrading that specific package. The terminal should look like the image below.upgrading one file at a timeType Y and press ENTER when a confirmation prompt appears.giving permission

Upgrade vs Full Upgrade

First of all, the syntax for these commands is different. For upgrade, you will use

sudo apt upgrade

and for full-upgrade, you use

sudo apt full-upgrade

Secondly, these two commands function a little differently. The core difference between upgrade and full-upgrade– the latter will remove any pre-installed packages to upgrade the entire system if needed. So we must be very cautious while using full-upgrade.

List Installed Packages Using APT

Use the command below to list all the installed package in your Ubuntu:

sudo apt list --installed

list of installed package using apt

Search Package Using APT

To search for a specific package in Ubuntu repository, use the syntax sudo apt search <pacakge name>. For example, to search if “ncal” is present, use:

sudo apt search ncal

doing search using apt

Show Information of a Package Using APT

To show information about a package such as how much space a package is holding, it’s origin, dependencies etc, use show with apt. For example, to show information about “ncal”, use:

sudo apt show ncal

showing information of ncal using aptThis shows all the relevant data about ncal. 

apt Command Not Found in Linux

The error message “apt Command Not Found” usually occurs when trying to use the APT package manager on a non-Debian-based Linux system.  To fix this error, you can try the following steps:

  1. Make sure that you are using a Debian-based distribution of Linux.
  2. Check if the APT package is installed on your system by running the following command in your terminal:
    dpkg -l | grep apt
  3. If the “apt” package is installed, you should see it listed in the output. If it’s not, you’ll need to install it 2. 3. If the “apt” package is installed, try running the following command to update the package list:
    sudo apt-get update
  4. If the “apt” package is still not found, you may need to install it manually. You can download the APT package from the official Debian website.


This article explains how apt works. I tried to make it as simple as possible, considering how hard it is to learn to use the command line for beginners. So after reading this article, you should be able to use apt properly. Feel free to comment below if you face any difficulties regarding the use of APT.

People Also Ask

How to install apt on Linux?

apt is a package management tool that comes pre-installed on Ubuntu, Debian, and related Linux distributions. However, if you are using a different distribution that doesn’t have apt pre-installed, you can install it using the following command:

sudo apt-get install apt

What is apt format?

The command format for apt is sudo apt <subcommand> <package name>. However, if you are referring to the format of the Ubuntu sources.list file, it is a plain text file that contains a list of package sources and their locations. The file is located in the /etc/apt/ directory and is named sources.list. Each line in the sources.list file represents a package source and has the following format:

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ distribution component1 component2 ...

Why is apt used?

apt is used as a package management tool on Ubuntu, Debian, and related Linux distributions. It is a command-line utility that is used for installing, updating, removing, and otherwise managing deb packages apt combines the most frequently used commands from the apt-get and apt-cache tools with different default values of some options.

What is the difference between APT and apt-get?

apt-get is a full-featured interface to dpkg, which is the underlying package management system in Debian. It provides a wide range of options and features, but it can be somewhat complex to use. APT, on the other hand, is a slightly stripped-back but more user-friendly version of apt-get. It includes most of the same commands as apt-get, but with a simpler syntax and more intuitive output.

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Md. Rafsan Zani

Hello, I’m Md. Rafsan Zani. I have recently completed my Undergraduate from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Currently, I’m pursuing higher studies abroad. I’m really interested in computer science and would like to learn a lot about the wonderful world of computers. Currently, I’m working as a Linux Content Developer Executive and find Linux really interesting. I certainly would like to learn more about Linux and implement them in my future studies. Read Full Bio

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