Home > bash, ubuntu > apt-get: “the following packages have been kept back”

apt-get: “the following packages have been kept back”


You install something with apt-get and it keeps telling you that some “packages have been kept back”. Great! What to do with that?


After looking at this warning for years, today I got fed up and looked after it on Google. I found the solution here. If you have a package called X kept back, then try to install it with “sudo apt-get install X“. That’s all.

Categories: bash, ubuntu Tags:
  1. alex
    October 13, 2011 at 00:40

    doesn’t “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade” do the trick?

  2. December 8, 2011 at 20:29

    Worked like a charm! Thanks, this has been bugging me for a few weeks.

  3. June 18, 2012 at 13:22

    dist upgrade always works for me.

  4. Nikolaj Hansen
    July 23, 2012 at 13:21

    aptitude full-upgrade

  5. Raymond
    August 30, 2012 at 03:50

    Perfect this, kept back behavior, has been annoying more some time. Worked for me.

  6. Barry
    September 26, 2012 at 13:29

    I think doing the “sudo apt-get install X” is a slightly different behaviour than you may want.

    If you have package X which relies on package Y, the system will install Y when you tell it to install X. When you uninstall X, the system can then uninstall Y as it’s no longer needed.

    If at some stage you had Y as a kept back package and specifically told apt-get to install the update, I believe the system marks the package as something you want installed and will no longer remove it if X is uninstalled.

    Doing “aptitude full-upgrade” on the other hand appears to upgrade the kept back packages without affecting dependencies.

  7. richard
    November 21, 2012 at 07:49

    That’s what I was looking for ‘dist-upgrade’ did the trick.
    Just successfully turned a mint install into an ubuntu 12.10 install.
    Package managers take a bow.

  8. Eslam Foad
    March 3, 2013 at 21:41

    sometimes this package has unmet dependencies and it’s impossible to meet them; for example you have python 2.7 installed and the package needs python < 2.7; so apt-get install won't solve the problem

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