Arch Linux logo on a pink and white gradient
Ubuntu Project

Has the time come to update your Arch Linux system? Whether you’re on pure Arch or an Arch-based distro like Manjaro and Garuda Linux, we’ll show you how to safely update your system with one or two simple commands.

Keeping packages up-to-date is important on any Linux distro. Arch operates on a rolling release model, delivering bleeding-edge updates to your virtual door as soon as they’re ready. Because of that, frequent updates (combined with effective backups) are necessary to avoid a broken system and corrupt packages.

RELATED: How to Back Up Your Linux System

Most Arch-based distros use the pacman package manager to download and install updates, a  process technically referred to as “syncing.” You’ll use pacman commands to keep your packages synced and operational.

Note: Your user account needs sudo access to follow these instructions.

Apply a System Update on Arch Linux

To begin an update of all installed packages, open any terminal app and pass the following command:

sudo pacman -Syu

You’ll be prompted for your password before the command can proceed. This command checks for available updates. If there are any, it will list the packages, along with their new version numbers.

Enter "sudo pacman -Syu" in a terminal

Advertisement

You’ll then be prompted to confirm that you want to apply a full upgrade. Type y and hit Enter to confirm, or use n to cancel.

Type y and hit Enter to confirm update

If you have packages that you suspect are corrupt, you can force a database download with your update to take care of those issues. Even if no updates are available, pacman will verify the integrity of your currently installed packages. Add a second y to the string to make that happen.

sudo pacman -Syyu

How to Update a Specific Package in Arch Linux

If you only want to update a specific package, use the same command that you used to install it, replacing package_name with your choice.

sudo pacman -S package_name
Warning: We don’t recommend upgrading specific packages while ignoring other available updates often. Because of Arch’s rolling release process, cherry-picking updates can cause issues.

If you’re not sure what the name of a package is, you can search your installed packages using the -Qs flag.

pacman -Qs string

Be sure to replace string with your search term. This will search both package names and descriptions, so you should find what you’re looking for easily.

RELATED: 37 Important Linux Commands You Should Know

Jordan Gloor Jordan Gloor
Jordan Gloor is Technical Editor at How-To Geek. He's been tinkering with computers and other technology since childhood when his rural Arkansas home got dial-up internet. Jordan combines his skills in written communication with his penchant for tech to help create our informative how-to guides.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.