Ubuntu logo on gradient background

Like all personal computers, a PC running the Ubuntu desktop operating system must be turned off now and then. Shutting down Ubuntu is easy, and you have several methods at your disposal for a safe end to operation.

How to Power Off Ubuntu in the Desktop

The conventional way to shut down Ubuntu is in GNOME, the default desktop environment for Ubuntu. If you’re a recent convert from Windows or Mac, though, you won’t find the option where you’d expect. Shutting down a Windows 10 PC involves using the start menu, but GNOME places a small menu called the status menu for accessing the power options in the top-right corner of the screen.

Click anywhere in the status menu (you’ll see network, audio, and power icons), and in the dropdown menu that appears, click “Power Off / Log Out.”

From the options that appear, choose “Power Off.”

A dialog will appear, counting down from 60 seconds before automatically powering off. You’ll also see options to cancel, restart, or power off. Press “Power Off” if you don’t want to wait the full minute.

Once the shutdown process completes, voila! You now have a perfectly non-operating Ubuntu machine!

How to Turn Off Ubuntu Using the Power Button

Closeup of a round power button at the corner of a laptop keyboard.
Alexandru Nika/Shutterstock.com

To shut down Ubuntu with the physical power switch, look for the button on your laptop or desktop tower. It’s usually marked with the familiar I/O symbol, pictured above.

Press it once, and onscreen you’ll see the same Power Off dialog and countdown you get when shutting down through the desktop.

Power off dialog on Ubuntu Linux

You can either walk away and let the countdown complete on its own, or press “Power Off” to skip the countdown.

If your machine is completely unresponsive, you can longpress the power button for a hard shutdown. We don’t recommend doing this outside of emergencies, however, because forced shutdowns can damage your system.

How to Shut Down Ubuntu in the Terminal

There are multiple commands you can use to shut down your Ubuntu PC in the Linux terminal. One example is shutdown . To try it, simply open a terminal window and enter the shutdown command.


After 60 seconds, unless you cancel it with shutdown -c , your PC will power down. If you don’t want to wait 60 seconds, you can add the now argument.

shutdown now

A similar command is poweroff, which doesn’t need a special argument to initiate an immediate shutdown.


Is there a difference between poweroff and shutdown? They do offer some unique options and flags for shell scripting. For Ubuntu and all other distributions that use systemd, however, both commands use the same systemctl poweroff process in the end.

It’s possible you’ll run into problems with these commands if other users are logged into your device, or if you aren’t on the sudoers list. To learn more, check out our full guide to shutting down and rebooting Linux from the command line.

RELATED: How to Reboot or Shut Down Linux Using the Command Line

How to Shut Down Ubuntu From an Android Device

It’s possible to power off your Ubuntu PC by issuing terminal commands like the ones listed above through the KDE Connect mobile app for Android. It allows you to connect your mobile device with your Linux PC on the local network to share files, see notifications, send SMS messages, and much more. GNOME offers its own fully integrated version, called GSConnect, as a GNOME extension.

Both your mobile device and Ubuntu must be connected to the same network in order to do this. If you already have KDE Connect set up and paired, you can skip the next few steps.

First, install the GSConnect extension on Chrome, Firefox, or Nautilus and install the KDE Connect mobile app on your Android device.

Note: If you prefer, you can install the KDE Connect app on Ubuntu instead of GSConnect, although you won’t get full integration with your browser.

Once installation is complete on both devices, pair them by tapping the menu button on the Android app and then selecting “Pair New Device.” You should see your Ubuntu PC listed there, tap it and hit “Request Pairing.”

To begin the pairing process, tap "Request Pairing"

You’ll need to accept the pairing request on your PC. Then, in the Android app, select the “Run Command” option from your list of plugins.

Tap the "Run Command" plugin

In the Run Command screen, tap the pencil button to create a new command option.

You’ll be prompted on your Ubuntu PC to choose an allowed command. Click “Sample Commands,” and select “Shutdown” from the list that appears before clicking “OK.” The Shutdown command will appear on the Android app as an option in the Run Command menu. Tap it at any time to initiate a power down process on your Ubuntu PC.

Warning: When you tap the command, the shutdown will happen immediately, without a confirmation prompt, even if you have apps running with unsaved data on your PC. Only tap it if you’re certain you’re ready to power off.

Tap the shutdown command in the Run Command menu

You can customize the command in the GSConnect settings on your PC, and even create your own commands. KDE Connect is also useful for transferring files wirelessly between your Linux and Android devices.

Profile Photo for Jordan Gloor Jordan Gloor
Jordan Gloor is Technical Editor at How-To Geek. He's been writing technology explainers and how-tos since 2020, but he's tinkering with computers and other tech since childhood. He writes on everything from Windows to Linux and from cord-cutting to generating art with AI.
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