With the Ubuntu 20.04 release here, you’re probably thinking about making the upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 yourself — but how do you do it?
It’s actually pretty easy. And in this guide I show you the steps required to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from Ubuntu 18.04 or Ubuntu 19.10 right now, no waiting for point releases.
You do not need to download an
.iso, fuss around with a USB thumb drive, or lose any of your files as you can upgrade to 20.04 directly with a half-way decent internet connection.
Before you upgrade (whenever you choose to do it) I recommend you make a backup of any important files and system settings, dot files, and critical content. Also keep some ‘rescue’ media to hand should things go wrong. You never know.
Finally, if you upgraded to 20.04 before April 23 you do NOT need to reinstall anything to get the ‘final’ version. Just keep installing any (and all) pending software updates and you’re good to go.
How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04
The Ubuntu 20.04 release officially lands on April 23, 2020. It will be supported by 5 years of app and security updates, taking you through to July 2025.
You can upgrade to 20.04 from Ubuntu 18.04 or Ubuntu 19.10. If you run Ubuntu 16.04 LTS you will need to upgrade to 18.04 first.
To upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 you will need:
- A working internet connection
- A fully-updated Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or Ubuntu 19.10
- A pinch of patience
The exact steps required for each distro different slightly so do read carefully.
Note: you can NOT upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from a 32-bit Ubuntu release. Support for 32-bit architecture was dropped in 19.10.
Upgrade from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
The easiest way to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 is to wait for it to be released — or is it?
See, if you use Ubuntu 18.04 LTS you will not be notified that Ubuntu 20.04 is available until July 23. This is when the first point release in the Focal cycle is scheduled for release.
Why the wait? It’s a standard practice aimed at maximising stability which is what an LTS is all about, after all.
To upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from 18.04 before July’s point release you have to change your upgrade preferences setting as follows:
- Open “Software & Updates”
- Select the “Updates” tab
- Change “Notify me of a new Ubuntu version” to “For any new version”
Now when the software updater does its routine check it’ll ‘see’ the new release and let you know about it. You just need to click the “Upgrade” to, well, you can guess the rest! 😉
Don’t see the prompt? You can ‘force’ upgrade Ubuntu 20.04 from Ubuntu 18.04 using the command:
sudo do-release-upgrade -c
Upgrade from Ubuntu 19.10
You can upgrade Ubuntu 19.10 to 20.04 from April 23 using the built in software updater tool.
The upgrade prompt will not appear to everyone at the same time, so if you don’t see it instantly on release day do don’t panic and try to be patient.
As long as your system is fully up-to-date you’ll be notified that the upgrade is available in a. desktop pop-up. Just click the ‘Upgrade…’ button when you see it to do the rest.
Impatient? You can force check for a new stable Ubuntu release using this command:
sudo do-release-upgrade -c
Follow the instructions as presented.
Upgrading before April 23
This section was written prior to the final release and is, as of April 23, no longer required.
To force upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 run:
sudo do-release-upgrade -d
This command checks for a new development release, disables all third-party PPAs, and rewrites your system’s
apt list to point to
focal development branches (from where it fetches updated packages required to complete your upgrade).
Do not press any other button(s) after you issue the command. Wait for it to calculate the changes. Providing your internet connection is reliable, proceed as directed.
If you choose to decline the upgrade when prompted you WILL need re-enable the
bionic (18.04) or
eoan (19.10) repos manually. This is NOT done automatically.
The majority of the upgrade happens automatically, meaning you don’t need to do anything other than wait (and watch all the lines whizz past you in the terminal).
That said, don’t abandon your system entirely as, config dependent, you may be required to press
N to okay the odd package overwrite at some point during the process (and it won’t budge until you do).
Once done, just reboot your system when prompted to enjoy the refreshed Focal Fossa experience firsthand.