How to Remove Snap Packages in Ubuntu Linux

4 min

A tutorial on how to remove Snap from Ubuntu Linux and get a snap-free system.

Snap packages developed by Canonical are beneficial for several use cases. It provides an easy and faster update of applications directly to the end-users. Not only that, it has several other benefits, such as it comes with all dependencies packaged and allows multiple installations of the same applications. Furthermore, it runs in a sandbox mode, providing security and other benefits.

Among all these benefits, there are other debatable drawbacks of Snap tech. For example, almost every user who used Snap reported its slower performance, including its startup time, compared to native deb or RPM packages. In addition, due to its design, the application installation size is huge and costs disk space because it packages all the dependencies.

Not only that but due to its sandbox nature, the Snap apps may not access several areas of your Linux desktop until managed with proper permission.

This guide explains how you can remove the snap from the Ubuntu system altogether.

These steps are tested in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish and Ubuntu 23.10. However, it should work for all applicable Ubuntu versions.

Warning: These steps will remove Software and Firefox, the two critical applications in your Ubuntu system. Make sure you take backups of bookmarks and other Firefox settings before trying these steps.

Remove Snap Packages in Ubuntu Linux

  1. Open a terminal and view the list of Snap packages installed in your system using the below command. It shows the snap packages such as Firefox, Software store, themes and other core packages installed by default.
snap list
Snap list in Ubuntu
Snap list in Ubuntu
  1. Remove snap packages in the following order. Firstly, remove Firefox. Secondly, snap-store and the other packages that you see in the above command output in your system.
sudo snap remove --purge firefox
sudo snap remove --purge snap-store
sudo snap remove --purge gnome-3-38-2004
sudo snap remove --purge gtk-common-themes
sudo snap remove --purge snapd-desktop-integration
sudo snap remove --purge bare
sudo snap remove --purge core20
sudo snap remove --purge snapd
  1. Finally, remove the snap daemon via apt command.
sudo apt remove --autoremove snapd
remove snap and others
remove snap and others

That’s not all. Even if you removed the snaps using the above command, the sudo apt update command again brings back the snap if you don’t stop the apt trigger.

  1. So, to stop that, we need to create an apt preference file in /etc/apt/preferences.d/ and create a new preference file to stop snap. Create a new file called nosnap.pref in /etc/apt/preferences.d/
sudo -H gedit /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref
  1. And add the following lines, then save the file.
Package: snapd
Pin: release a=*
Pin-Priority: -10
create a pref file
create a pref file

The apt preference is a potent tool if you know how to use it. For example, in the above statements, the Pin-Priority -10 means preventing a package from installation.

Unrelated to this tutorial, for example, if you want to give super high priority to all the packages from distribution code name=bullseye, then one may see these preferences. If you want to learn more, you can visit the apt man pages.

Package: *
Pin: release n=bullseye
Pin-Priority: 900
  1. Returning to the topic, once you save and close the above file, run the below again from the terminal.
sudo apt update
  1. Finally, the steps are complete for getting rid of the snap from Ubuntu.

Installing Software and Firefox as deb files after removing Snap from Ubuntu

You removed Firefox and Sofware applications, so you need those for your work.

You can use the following command to install the apt version of the Gnome Software. Make sure you use the --install-suggests. Otherwise, it will install the snap version again!

sudo apt install --install-suggests gnome-software

And to install firefox, use the official PPA via the below commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t 'o=LP-PPA-mozillateam' firefox
Add the PPA
Add the PPA
Install Firefox as deb file from PPA
Install Firefox as deb file from PPA

Once you have installed Firefox, enable the automatic update using the below commands. To learn more, visit this page.

echo 'Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins:: "LP-PPA-mozillateam:${distro_codename}";' | sudo tee /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/51unattended-upgrades-firefox

Last but not least, create another preference file for Firefox to give super high priority to the above PPA while running apt. If you don’t do this, the apt update command again pulls back firefox snap and brings over all snap packages.

sudo -H gedit /etc/apt/preferences.d/mozillateamppa

Finally, add these lines and save the file.

Package: firefox*
Pin: release o=LP-PPA-mozillateam
Pin-Priority: 501

That’s it.

Revert back to Snap in Ubuntu

If you change your mind, remove the preference file and install the applications using the below commands.

sudo rm /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
sudo snap install snap-store
sudo apt install firefox

Closing Notes

Wrapping up the tutorial on removing snap in Ubuntu, I would say these are unnecessary efforts to eliminate Snap completely. Mainly, these are difficult for new users. I hope this guide helps you to get rid of snap. Cheers.

Updated based on Ubuntu 23.10 test.


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