By default, Ubuntu checks for system updates every day and prompts you when they are available. At that point, you can choose to download and install the updates immediately or have Ubuntu remind you later. However, you can also choose to have updates downloaded and installed automatically.

NOTE: When we say to type something in this article and there are quotes around the text, DO NOT type the quotes, unless we specify otherwise.

Click the “Search your computer and online sources” button on the Unity bar and type “software and update” in the edit box. As you type, results display below the edit box. Click the “Software & Updates” icon.

NOTE: If you don’t want to see online content in your search results, you can disable online content fetching when searching, if you’re using a version of Ubuntu prior to the most recent, 15.04. If you’re using 15.04, you can turn off the online content fetching in the settings. To do so, open the “System Settings”, click “Security & Privacy” in the “Personal” section, and then turn off the “When searching in the Dash: include online search results” option.

On the “Software & Updates” dialog box, click the “Updates” tab.

Select “Download and install automatically” from the “Automatically check for updates” drop-down list.

The “Authenticate” dialog box displays. Enter your Ubuntu account password in the “Password” edit box and click “Authenticate”.

To automate the updating of software you’ve installed, as well as the system files, select the “Important security updates”, “Recommended updates”, and “Unsupported updates” check boxes so there are check marks in the boxes. Click “Close”.

Now, system updates and software updates will automatically be downloaded and installed in the background.

If you’re running the server version of Ubuntu, see our article about enabling automatic security updates in Ubuntu Server.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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