How-To Geek

10 Awesome Indicator Applets for Ubuntu’s Unity Desktop


If you’ve used Ubuntu a while, you might remember GNOME applets – icons that sat on your panel and gave you access to controls and information. If you miss panel applets, try installing third-party indicator applets for Ubuntu’s Unity desktop.

There are a wide variety of indicator applets available for Unity, most of which aren’t available in Ubuntu’s default software repositories. The commands to install the indicator applets provided here were tested on Ubuntu 12.04.

After installing an indicator, you may have to search for it and activate it from your Dash, launch it with a command, or log out and log back in. This behavior depends on the indicator.


The weather indicator applet provides constantly updating weather information right on your panel. Install it with the following command:

sudo apt-get install indicator-weather

Launch the Weather indicator from the Dash after installing it.


System Load / Performance

The system load indicator shows you graphs of your system performance on your panel – like the old GNOME System Monitor applet used to. It shows a graph of your CPU activity by default, but it can show graphs for more than one type of resource at a time – from its preferences, you can enable graphs for network activity, memory, and other system resources.

sudo apt-get install indicator-multiload

Launch this indicator from the Dash after installation.


CPU Frequency

The CPU frequency scaling indicator shows you the current speed of your CPU and lets you control its policy – for example, you can force a certain CPU speed, enable power-saving mode, or enable high-performance mode.

sudo apt-get install indicator-cpufreq

Launch the indicator by running the following command after installing it:



Ubuntu One

If you use Ubuntu One, you might want an indicator applet that shows you Ubuntu One’s status – including your current file transfers and available space – without having to open Ubuntu One’s configuration window. The unofficial Ubuntu One indicator provides this information. Install it with the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rye/ubuntuone-extras
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-ubuntuone

Log out and log back in. The indicator will automatically start.


Classic Menu

The classic menu indicator provides a classic, GNOME 2-style menu on your panel in Unity. Install it with the following commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install classicmenu-indicator

Launch ClassicMenu Indicator from the Dash after installing it.


Recent Notifications

The recent notifications indicator provides a list of recent notifications that Ubuntu has shown to you – anything that came through the notification daemon appears here. You’ll be able to view all your recent notifications, even if you were away from your computer when they appeared.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jconti/recent-notifications
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-notifications

Log out and log back in. The indicator will automatically appear.



The touchpad indicator allows you to easily disable and enable your laptop’s touchpad — right from the panel. Run the following commands to install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install touchpad-indicator

After installing the indicator, launch it from your Dash.


Hardware Sensors

The hardware sensors indicator shows you information from your system’s hardware sensors, such as the temperatures of your system’s hardware and the speed of its fans. Install it with the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexmurray/indicator-sensors
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-sensors

Launch the indicator from the Dash after installing it.



The caffeine indicator allows you to prevent Ubuntu from going to sleep. For example, this may be useful if you’re watching videos in an application that doesn’t automatically inhibit Ubuntu’s sleep behavior. Use the following commands to install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:caffeine-developers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install caffeine

Launch Caffeine from the Dash after installing it.



The keylock indicator applet shows you whether your caps lock, num lock, or scroll lock keys are on. Use these commands to install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tsbarnes/indicator-keylock
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-keylock

Launch Indicator-Lockkeys from the dash after installing it.


Do you use another useful indicator applet? Leave a comment and let us know about it.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 07/14/12

Comments (14)

  1. rocketman

    OMG thank you

  2. gyffes

    Caffeine on the Mac rocks — delighted to see it appear for Ubuntu. Is it available for other non-‘Buntu distros?

  3. Igor

    Great,thanks!! :) Awesome stuff there

  4. malachipclover

    Are there any similar to the old force quit one? I think that’s the one I got the most use out of back in 10.04.

  5. Ishwar

    I was using the network indicator shell extension on Linux Mint 12, is there a similar applet for Ubuntu 12.04 ?

  6. Solitary7

    Hardware Sensors crash every time on Ubuntu 12.04. What is the command for removing it?

  7. Solitary7

    I forgot to add that it crashes on a 2D desktop

  8. brandon

    sudo apt-get remove indicator-sensors

  9. Niv


  10. Junaid Ahmed @ Buy instagram followers

    The Ubuntu Netbook Remix interface is designed to make Ubuntu Linux easy to use on mini-laptops with small, low resolution displays. It comes with a custom program launcher that replaces the normal Ubuntu desktop and panels with a series of tabs and program shortcuts.

  11. Michael

    So what I would point out is this. These applets are not all exclusive to Ubuntu. I don’t even think any of them are exclusive to Ubuntu. You can install all of them on Linux Mint, and probably most of them on any Debian based os.

    Personally I dislike the direction the unity desktop environment has gone.

  12. Cat MacKinnon

    one of my favorites is the Jupiter Indicator. it’s kind of similar to CPU Frequency, but geared more towards energy savings and system performance for laptops. it shows the current CPU mode (performance, power on demand, power saving) as well as the CPU temperature. it also lets you select the CPU mode, disable wifi and touchpad, change the screen resolution and orientation and select which video displays are active. it also fixes an issue that occurs for some people, namely: occasionally Ubuntu causes some laptops to run their CPU’s are max clock speed all the time, causing the system fans to run at high speed almost constantly. this little indicator fixes that problem if you experience it. here’s the install:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/jupiter
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get pyjupiter

  13. Tim

    The forecast function in the ‘indicator-weather’ applet is currently broken. Waiting for an update

  14. Tim

    BTW, I don’t care for the Unity Desktop. I use Fluxbox.

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!