This guide explains the differences between apt and apt-get commands, so you can decide which one to use.
Historically, you’ve probably installed software on Debian based Linux Operating Systems (like Ubuntu) using the
command. More recently you’ve probably seen the
command being used in its place in various places online, but with otherwise much the same syntax. For example:
sudo apt-get install nano
has the same effect as
sudo apt install nano
which is to install the nano text editor package on your system.
So what’s the difference?
apt-get (and apt-cache)
- The original, the classic, functional
- Better for scripting
- The more rigid command that is unlikely to change in an update
- More command-line options for advanced usage
- …But you might not ever use them
- The new kid, cooler, comes with extras
- Shows progress bars, prettier to look at and easier to use
- Ease-of-use features of apt-get are enabled by default rather than via options
- Also includes commands from the apt-cache command
- Under continued development, so more features may be added
*apt is the combined, most commonly used functions of apt-get and apt-cache presented for ease of use
Syntax Differences for Common Tasks
|apt command||apt-get command|
|apt autoremove||apt-get autoremove||Uninstall packages that are no longer required as dependencies|
|apt full-upgrade||apt-get dist-upgrade||Upgrades all packages and dependencies|
|apt install package||apt-get install package||Install package|
|apt remove package||apt-get remove package||Remove package|
|apt purge package||apt-get purge package||Remove package along with its configuration|
|apt update||apt-get update||Refreshes repository list|
|apt upgrade||apt-get upgrade||Upgrades all packages|
|apt command||apt-cache command|
|apt search package||apt-cache search package||Search for package by name|
|apt show package||apt-cache show package||Show details for package|
Note that package above will be the name(s) of the package being managed
Which Should I Use?
Use whichever one you want! apt does not replace apt-get, it is just an alternative interface to the apt package system on Debian based operating systems.
For more tutorials on how to use different applications in Linux, check out our other articles!