Ubuntu – Do Ubuntu kernel updates happen automatically


I'm a new Linux user, so I have a question regarding kernel updates. Do they happen automatically? On some sites, I read that kernel updates are automatic. However, in regards to the new 4.6 and 4.7 kernels, I read that you need to manually update them.

Best Answer

New Ubuntu kernels do get installed as part of normal update and upgrade procedures. For example, this week my 16.04 kernel version went from 4.4.0-34-generic to 4.4.0-36-generic when I ran my daily sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade

If you don't run those commands very often, you will get prompted by a pop up to update software when important updates like a new kernel are available. You have to authenticate these updates, they won't happen otherwise, as @AndroidDev points out.

The system will always boot the newest kernel by default. After a kernel update, it's a good idea to run sudo apt autoremove to remove older kernels (it leaves one extra spare older kernel)

If you want to install a newer mainline kernel (4.6*, 4.7*) for some special reason then you must do so manually, but this is rarely a good idea, as the Ubuntu kernels are patched and configured to work well with Ubuntu.