There are plenty of new features in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. As an ardent Ubuntu user, it is normal to get excited about this new version release.

Getting 22.04 LTS when you are already using Ubuntu

Wondering how to get your hands on 22.04 as an existing Ubuntu user? There are two ways to get the new version:

  • Install Ubuntu 22.04 afresh: it deletes your existing data and applications to give you a fresh new system. You can do it with any Ubuntu version.
  • Upgrade to Ubuntu 22.04 from 20.04 or 21.10: your existing data and most of the applications remain as it is and you get the new Ubuntu version.

You probably already know how to do a fresh install of Ubuntu so I am not going that way in this tutorial. Here, I’ll show you the steps for upgrading to Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish from 21.10 or 20.04.

The upgrade procedure constitutes of three main steps:

  • Make sure that you get notified of the availability of a new version
  • Update your system: sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade
  • Run the update manager with the -d option (to force an upgrade): sudo update-manager -d
  • Don’t worry. I’ll discuss the steps in detail. I’ll also provide suggestions on things to look for before and after the upgrades.
Things to know about upgrading the Ubuntu version to a new release
Upgrading to Ubuntu 22.04 from 21.10 and 20.04 means that you don’t need to create a live USB of Ubuntu and do a fresh install.

All you need is a good internet connection that can download around 1.5 GB of data. The upgrade process takes a few clicks and 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on your internet speed.

Here are a few things you should know and keep in mind.

  • All your data and most of the application settings remain the same in the existing system. However, making a data backup on an external disk is always recommended. 
  • If you choose to upgrade your Ubuntu version, you cannot downgrade it. You cannot go back to Ubuntu 20.04 or 21.10 without reinstalling it. And if you do that, you’ll have to format the disk/partition.
  • It is always a good idea to make a backup of your data before performing a major upgrade like this.
  • Please note that some PPA and external repositories you have added may not work in the newer versions.
  • All PPAs and external repositories will be disabled during the upgrade. You’ll have to re-enable them after the upgrade procedure finishes.
  • You need to have around 3-4 GB of free space on your root partition. If not, clean your disk and make some free space on Ubuntu.
  • You need a good internet connection for the upgrade procedure.
  • You may need an hour or less depending on your internet speed for the entire upgrade procedure.
  • You might not see the option to upgrade right after the release of a new version. Upgrades roll out in bunches and it may take a few days before you get it. You may force an upgrade though.

Precheck before you start the upgrade

The upgrade to 22.04 is available from 20.04 and 21.10. If you are using Ubuntu 18.04, you’ll have to upgrade to 20.04 first and then upgrade to 22.04. I would recommend a fresh install rather than two major version upgrades but it is up to you to decide if you want a fresh install or not.

For any other version, you’ll have to go for a fresh install.

Check your Ubuntu version to ensure that you are using 20.04 or 21.10:
lsb_release -a

Next, you should make sure that all the crucial applications (you cannot function without) are available in the new Ubuntu version. For example, if you use a specific embroidery software for your business and it is not available for the new release yet, you may want to hold on to the upgrade.

If you take every step carefully, please ensure that

  • You have copied the contents of the home directory on an external USB. This is optional but could help if anything goes wrong in some unlikely cases.
  • You have a live Ubuntu USB or access to another computer so that you can do a fresh install of Ubuntu in the unlikely event of a failed upgrade.

With that aside, let’s focus on the upgrade procedure. There are two ways to upgrade to a new version like Ubuntu 22.04 and I have shown both ways here: 

I am using default Ubuntu with GNOME desktop but the same steps should be applicable to other Ubuntu flavors such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.

Method 1: Upgrade to Ubuntu 22.04 graphically (for desktop users)

Go to Software & Updates:

And under the Updates tab, make sure that Notify me of a new Ubuntu version is set to

  • Any new version (if you want to upgrade to any new release).
  • Long term support release (if you want to upgrade to only LTS release)

This will reload the Software repository cache.

Once the correct Software Sources settings are in place, open a terminal and use the command below to update the system. It may take some time, depending on your internet speed.
sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade

If you are asked to do a system restart, restart your system.

Run Update Manager so that it looks for distribution upgrades. 

sudo update-manager

This will open the Software Updater and it should notify you of the availability of Ubuntu 22.04.

Obviously, click on Upgrade. The rest of the process is fairly easy. All you have to do is to follow the on-screen instructions.

It will download the release upgrade tool.

And then it will prepare your system for the upgrade by setting new software repositories. 

And at this stage, you’ll be asked to actually upgrade your system. This is the point of no return. You cannot go back from here so make sure you have a reliable internet. The entire process may take anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes depending on your internet speed.

Now your system will be installing the new Ubuntu 22.04 packages.

After some time, you’ll be asked whether you want to keep the obsolete packages from the previous Ubuntu install. I advise removing them.

At this point, you have already completed the Ubuntu 22.04 upgrade process. Your system will be restarted.

After the restart, you’ll see the Ubuntu 22.04 default wallpaper.

That’s it. That’s all you needed to do to upgrade to Ubuntu 22.04 from Ubuntu 21.10 and 20.04. Enjoy Ubuntu 22.04.

Method 2: Upgrade to Ubuntu 22.04 using command line

You need to make sure that you have update-manager-core package installed. Open a terminal and run the following command:
sudo apt install update-manager-core

Make sure that you have Prompt set to LTS in the file /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades.

You should also install any pending software updates:

sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade

After this, run the following command to upgrade to Ubuntu 22.04:

sudo do-release-upgrade

This command will search for a newer Ubuntu version. If it finds a new version, it will download the files, around 1.5 GB in size, and then will ask you if you want to install those new packages. If you choose yes, your upgrade procedure starts.

As I said previously, you might not see the availability of the new version immediately. You may see “no new release found”.

No new release found? Here’s what you may do

If you are desperate for upgrading to Ubuntu 22.04 and trying the do-release-upgrade results in “no new release found”, you can use a dirty trick.

You can run the upgrade command with option -d:

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

The -d option looks for the development release which is still 22.04 at the moment.

Bonus Tip: Post upgrade check

Once you have upgraded successfully, you can start enjoying the new version. But don’t forget the third-party repositories that had been disabled before the Ubuntu version upgrade.

Go to Software & Updates. You’ll find that PPAs are listed with comments like “disabled during upgrade”. Tick the checkboxes to enable the PPAs.

The job is not over yet. Some of the PPAs might not be available in the new Ubuntu version. How to know that? Just run this command in the terminal: 

sudo apt update

Do you see any error about repositories not being found for Jellyfish? If yes, you should disable the repositories it is complaining about again.

Troubleshooting: What to do if the upgrade fails for some reasons

Check if you can still boot into the system and if the old system version is still available.

If not, see if you can access the recovery and boot into an older kernel.

If that too doesn’t work, it’s time to utilize the backup. Do a fresh install of the new version and get the data back from the backup USB disk.

Upgrading is usually smooth but no harm in being careful

I don’t remember the last time the upgrade procedure failed me. However, having proper backup and contingency in place are signs of a mature and alert computer user.

I hope this tutorial helps you in upgrading to Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. If you face any issues or have any questions, please let me know in the comment section.