In this post we show you how to remove and delete a PPA from Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros like Linux Mint.
As with most things, there a couple of different ways to remove a PPA. You can use your mouse (aka the GUI way) or you can use your keyboard (aka the CLI way).
Both methods achieve the same end result: deleting a PPA you’ve added to your system. I will say upfront that the CLI method, while scarier looking, is by far the faster, safer way to do it.
Why Remove a PPA in Ubuntu?
Like many people I add PPAs to Ubuntu (or more accurately Ubuntu’s software sources list) so that I can install the latest versions of apps, drivers, or other software I want that are not available through the regular Ubuntu archive.
In short, PPAs are fast, efficient and …Yeah, not without their own issues.
But the biggest problem I encounter is that not all PPAs are equal.
See, most PPAs are software specific. That’s to say they focus on building and packaging a single app or tool (and any related dependencies it needs) for a certain set of Ubuntu releases. You know that when you add the PPA that it will only affect a specific set of software on your system — no nasty surprises!
But beware of kitchen sink PPAs. These types of PPAs contain a tonne of different packages, drivers, libraries and dependencies, all in the same repo, not all of which may be compatible, stable, or wanted.
It’s all too easy to unknowingly add a kitchen sink PPA to your system to install one app, only to inadvertently upgrade half your OS along with it!
To stop packages I do not want to upgrade from being upgraded when I “have” to use kitchen sink PPA I promptly remove the PPA afterwards — hence this post.
While you can also disable a PPA to prevent unexpected updates, and pin packages to a particular version, there’s little point: if you don’t need to use a PPA, ditch it.
Remove a PPA (CLI Method)
To add a PPA on Ubuntu you use the command
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:name, then enter your root password to authorise the change.
But is just as easy to remove a PPA in Ubuntu using a similar command. In a new terminal window (press
t to open one up) run the command:
sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:name/here
ppa:name with the relevant PPA name, in the same syntax. For example:
sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:dhor/myway
If you don’t know the PPA name (and you might not; it may have been a while since you added it) you can remove Ubuntu PPAs using the Software & Updates app — aka the GUI way.
Remove a PPA (GUI Method)
It’s might be a fairly involved hassle to add a PPA to Ubuntu or Linux Mint using a GUI, but removing one is much simpler.
On Ubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, or similar distro follow these steps:
- Launch Software & Updates
- Click the “Other Software” tab
- Select (click) the PPA you want to delete
- Click “Remove” to remove it
You will be asked to confirm your password (enter it) and see a prompt to refresh your system’s package list.
If you’re on Kubuntu or KDE Neon you can head to
Muon Discover > Sources > Configure Software Sources to access a list of PPAs and manage (i.e. delete, remove, update, edit) them there.
Do note that each PPA you add appends two lines to your
sources.list.d file: one for installer packages, and one for source code. You should remove both entries to totally remove a PPA from your system.
Bonus Method: Use PPA Purge
When you remove (delete) a PPA from your system you do NOT remove (delete) any packages you installed or upgraded to from it.
To do that, to remove all packages installed from a PPA, downgrade any packages it has affected, and remove the PPA you can use the
PPA Purge tool.
Since it’s a CLI tool I’m going to assume you’re okay installing it from the command line:
sudo apt install ppa-purge
When you have PPA Purge installed you can run:
sudo ppa-purge ppa:name/here
If you don’t know the name of the PPA you want to purge, look it up in the Software & Updates app first.
There are plenty of reasons why you may want to remove a PPA from Ubuntu, Linux Mint and related distros.
The archive may no longer support your Ubuntu version, resulting in errors and warnings appearing when you try to update software; it may have an expired GPG key, which also results in errors and warnings.
Finally, adding lots of PPAs to your system can make updating it a touch slower, as every archive needs to be checked for updates and their package list compared to the existing one.