APT vs APT-GET :: Which to Choose?

APT vs APT-GET :: Which to Choose

APT vs APT-GET :: Which one is better?. If you have been using Debian for awhile you are familiar with APT-GET. APT has been around for only a short while, only since Debian 8.  Many people have not switched over to using APT. APT-GET still works, so why switch?

APT (Advanced Package Tool) is a higher-level tool for installing and removing packages. It includes dpkg, a low-level tool for handling .deb packages. APT also performs most other functions that have to do with package management, including integrating with external repositories. One of the new features is a progress bar when downloading or upgrading.

The following table gives you a head to head comparison of the features. As you can see many things remain the same. APT seems to do things a bit quicker. For a full comparison you can look into the help section of both of the commands by typing in apt –help and apt-get –help.

Function APT APT-GET
Install package apt install <package> apt-get install <package>
Remove package apt remove <package> apt-get remove <package>
Remove package including configuration apt purge <package> apt-get purge <package>
Update sources apt update apt-get update
Update packages (without removing or reinstalling) apt upgrade apt-get upgrade
Update packages (with removing and reinstalling) apt full-upgrade apt-get dist-upgrade
Remove unnecessary dependencies apt autoremove apt-get autoremove
Search package apt search <package> apt-get search <package>
Display package information apt show <package> apt-cache show <package>
Display active package sources (in detail) apt policy apt-cache policy
Display available and installed package versions apt policy <package> apt-cache policy <package>
New Commands
Edit packages sources open /etc/apt/sources.list in a text editor apt-get edit sources
List packages by criteria apt list dpkg –get-selections > list.txt
Set/change package status apt-mark <package> echo <package> hold | dpkg –set-selections


Old habits die hard, or so the saying goes. Switching to APT will make things faster for you. APT is more logically laid out and easier to use. Differences still are causing confusion in many forums, but in the long run APT is winning. If you are using any flavor of Debian (Linux Mint, Ubuntu, etc.) it is worth the switch.

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