How to install security updates from the command line in Ubuntu

Sometimes you may want to just install the security updates on your server or PC

Installing updates using the command line from the Terminal is done by using the apt update and upgrade command. For those who aren’t aware of it, check the step-by-step tutorial we published earlier.

The apt update and upgrade command install all the updates including the software updates and the official security updates. In case you only want to install just the security updates and not all the application updates, you can do that too. Here is how:

Installing just the security updates in Ubuntu and derivatives

This tutorial is tested on Ubuntu 18.04, but should work without any issues in other Ubuntu derivatives including Linux Mint, elementary OS, and others.

Step 1) Launch the Terminal.

Step 2) You can check if any security updates are available by using the following command:

sudo unattended-upgrade --dry-run -d

Note the usage of the dry run. It means the update check is only a simulation. Nothing will be downloaded or installed. -d is used to display the result in the terminal.

Step 3) In the above command if you see “No packages found that can be upgraded unattended and no pending auto-removals” in the Terminal, this implies your PC is up-to-date. If you see updates available, you can install them by using the below command:

sudo unattended-upgrade -d

That’s it! Hope you learned something new today at FOSS Linux. Have a good one.

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. Hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more, and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!


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