How to Install and Use Snap Packages in Ubuntu


A tutorial on how to find, install and maintain snap packages in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus comes with the new style of package management called Snappy or in-short snap. Snappy packages are transactional packages developed by Canonical for Ubuntu. Due to its transactional nature, snap packages can be used in across Linux Distributions. Snap packages are very useful due to its atomic update in nature. The packages can be found and installed via command line. The snap packages also can be downloaded from websites as .snap files and it contains all the dependencies needed inside the .snap package. The installed snap softwares are installed in their respective folders and doesn’t interfere with rest of the system. That means, if you have installed a software via typical apt-get install xyz and installed the same software via installing xyz.snap, then both the version of the same software can co-exist in your PC without interfering with each other.

As of today not much softwares are packaged in snap, but some of them are available. Here’s how to find them and install them.

Find a Snap Package

To find a snap package, run below command. It will give you a list of all available snap packages, their version and description.

snap find

snap find

To find a specific snap packages you can give the name as argument.

snap find name

snap find name

Install a Snap Package from Command Line

To install a snap package, run below command with snap package name.

sudo snap install name-of-the-package

snap install

The chosen snap package will be installed using its all dependencies and progress can be seen in the terminal as well.

After installation, you can launch the application directly from Dash/Application menu.

Updating Snap Package

You can update an installed snap package by using below command:

sudo snap refresh name-of-the-package

snap refresh

List your installed snaps

To list down all the snap packages installed in your system, use below command;

snap list

snap list

Removing a snap package

To remove a snap package from your system, simply run below command:

sudo snap remove name-of-the-package

snap remove

View Snap Activity

To view the recent changes done using snap in your system, run below command. This will give the list of installed/update activity in those snap packages with date time stamp.

snap changes

snap changes

Handling Snap Errors

There are some errors you may encounter while installing/maintaining snap packages. E.g. while downloading a snap package via command snap install, if you press CTRL+C for abort, then you may get below error while trying for the second time and so on. This is so bad that you can’t even install any other snap packages.

error: can't install "notes": snap "ubuntu-core" has changes in progress.

snap err

Ideally when you do the same when installing via apt install command, apt will take care when you run it for the second time. There is a bug (Bug#1592074) open as of writing this article for the expectation of rolling back the changes while aborting a snap installation.

To solve this error, follow these steps:

  • Run below command to find out the ID of the error installation.
snap changes

snap changes abort

  • As you can see, ID=7 is the installation which I aborted. Now, run below command with the ID.
sudo snap abort 7

snap abort

  • This will abort the pending change that still has pending task. Now you can continue installing the same package or different package.


Drop a comment if you are facing any trouble using snap packages.


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