The latest version of Ubuntu is Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver,” which was released on April 26, 2018. Canonical releases new stable versions of Ubuntu every six months, and new Long Term Support versions every two years.

The Latest Version is Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver”

The newest release of this Linux distribution is Ubuntu 18.04, codenamed “Bionic Beaver.” It uses version 4.15 of the Linux kernel.

This is a Long Term Support, or “LTS,” release, which means it will be supported with free security and maintenance updates for five years from its release date. As Ubuntu 18.04 was released on April 26, 2018, Canonical will support it with updates until April 2023.

Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” is the first long term support release to ditch Ubuntu’s Unity desktop and replace it with GNOME Shell. This comes after Canonical gave up on Ubuntu for phones and set aside the vision of “convergence” they had back in Ubuntu 17.10.

Ubuntu is now focused on being a powerful, stable Linux desktop that brings together the best Linux software out there. Canonical isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with projects like Unity 8 and the Mir display server anymore. Even the window buttons are back in the top right corner of each window instead of the top left corner. This isn’t all bad, though—Ubuntu 18.04’s GNOME Shell is a slick, polished desktop.

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How to Check if You Have the Latest Version

You can check which version of Ubuntu you have installed from your desktop’s settings window or by running a command in a terminal window.

If you’re using the standard version of Ubuntu with either the newer GNOME Shell or older Unity desktop, click the icon at the top right corner of your desktop and click either the Settings icon or the “System Settings” option in the menu. Click the “Details” option in the left sidebar or click the “Details” icon under System if you see a window with a variety of icons.

You’ll see the version of Ubuntu you’re using here. You can also run the “lsb_release -a” command in a terminal window to find this information on any edition of Ubuntu.

RELATED: How to Check Which Version of Ubuntu You Have Installed

How to Upgrade to the Latest Version

You can always upgrade from one Ubuntu release to the next one. For example, you can now upgrade directly from Ubuntu 17.10 to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. But you can’t upgrade from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS yet—you’ll have to wait for Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, which is expected on July 26, 2018.

If you’re running an LTS version of Ubuntu and want to upgrade to a non-LTS version—for example, if you want to upgrade from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to Ubuntu 18.10—you’ll need to tell Ubuntu you want to see “any new version,” not just “long-term support versions.” This option is available at Software & Updates > Updates > Notify me of a new Ubuntu version.

To upgrade to the latest available version of Ubuntu, press Alt+F2, type the following command, and press Enter:

update-manager -c

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If you don’t see a message telling you the new release is available, press Alt+F2, type the following command, and then press Enter:

/usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release-gtk

You’ll see a message telling you a new release is now available, if one is. Click “Yes, Upgrade Now” to install it on your system

You can also upgrade from in the terminal by running the sudo do-release-upgrade command. You  may need to run the sudo apt install update-manager-core command first to install it. Edit the  /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades file to choose which versions of Ubuntu the tool installs.