Learn how to upgrade to a newer release of Ubuntu. This tutorial demonstrates the steps by upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 from Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04. You can use the same steps to upgrade from any other supported version.
Ubuntu 20.04 is releasing today and you should learn about upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 from older supported Ubuntu versions.
Things to know about upgrading Ubuntu version to a new release
Upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 from 19.10 and 18.04 means that you don’t need to create a live USB of Ubuntu and do a fresh install. All you need is a good internet connection that can download around 1.5 GB of data. The upgrade process takes a few clicks and 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on your internet speed.
- All your data and most of the application settings remains the same in the existing system. However, making a data backup on external disk is always recommended.
- If you choose to upgrade your Ubuntu version, you cannot downgrade it. You cannot go back to Ubuntu 18.04 or 19.10 without reinstalling it. And if you do that, you’ll have to format the disk/partition.
- It is always a good idea to make a backup of your data before performing a major upgrade like this.
- You need to have around 2-3 GB of free space on your root partition. If not, clean your disk and make some free space on Ubuntu.
- You need a good internet connection for the upgrade procedure.
- You may need an hour or less depending on your internet speed for the entire upgrade procedure.
- You might not see the option to upgrade right after the release of a new version. Upgrades roll out in bunch and it may take a few days before you get it.
I am using default Ubuntu with GNOME desktop but the same steps should be applicable to other Ubuntu flavors such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu etc. You’ll also have to use some commands but they are not at all complicated.
There are two ways to upgrade to a new version like Ubuntu 20.04 and I have shown both ways here:
- Update to Ubuntu 20.04 graphically (suitable for desktop users)
- Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 via command line (suitable for servers and terminal dwellers)
Method 1: Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 graphically (for desktop users)
Go to Software & Updates:
And under the Updates tab, make sure that Notify me of a new Ubuntu version is set to
- Any new version (if you want to upgrade to any new release).
- Long term support release (if you want to upgrade to only LTS release)
This will reload the Software repository cache.
Once the correct Software Sources settings are in place, open a terminal and use the command below to update the system. It may take some time, depending on your internet speed.
sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade
If you are asked to do a system restart, restart your system.
Run Update Manager so that it looks for distribution upgrade.
This will open the Software Updater and it should notify you of the availability of Ubuntu 20.04.
If you don’t see the the availability of a new version, try running sudo update-manager -d.
Obviously, click on Upgrade. The rest of the process is fairly easy. All you have to do is to follow the on-screen instructions.
It will download the release upgrade tool.
And then it will prepare your system for the upgrade by setting new software repositories.
And at this stage, you’ll be asked to actually upgrade your system. This is the point of no return. You cannot go back from here so make sure you have a reliable internet. The entire process may take anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes depending on your internet speed.
Now your system will be installing the new Ubuntu 20.04 packages.
After some time, you’ll be asked whether you want to keep the obsolete packages from the previous Ubuntu install. I advise removing them.
At this point, you have already completed the Ubuntu 20.04 upgrade process. You’ll be asked to restart your system now.
After restarting the system, you’ll see the Ubuntu 20.04 default wallpaper.
That’s it. That’s all you needed to do to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04. Enjoy Ubuntu 20.04.
Method 2: Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 using command line
You need to make sure that you have update-manager-core package installed. Open a terminal and run the following command:
sudo apt install update-manager-core
Make sure that you have Prompt set to LTS in the file /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades.
You should also install any pending software updates:
sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade
After this, run the following command to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04:
This command will search for a newer Ubuntu version. If it finds a new version, it will download the files, around 1.5 GB in size, and then will ask you if you want to install those new packages. If you choose yes, your upgrade procedure starts.
As I said previously, you might not see the availability of the new version immediately. You may see “no new release found”.
No new release found? Here’s what you may do
If you are desperate for upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 and trying the do-release-upgrade results in “no new release found”, you can use a dirty trick.
You can run the upgrade command with option -d:
sudo do-release-upgrade -d
The -d option looks for development releases which is still 20.04 at the moment.
I hope this tutorial helps you in upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. If you upgrade it, do refer to the list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04.