Automatic search for new updates with apt

I had always the problem that my system don’t show me if updates are available. The most online howto just install the unattended-upgrades tool. But I don’t want to automatic install updates because I am running debian unstable and I want to have the control over my system.

The good thing is that everything you need for this is already installed on a debian system. You just have to configure it.

First of all I change the the apt config under /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic:

# used by: /usr/lib/apt/apt.systemd.daily 

# update package list
#  - Do "apt-get update" automatically every n-days (0=disable)
APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";

# download upgrade packages
#  - Do "apt-get upgrade --download-only" every n-days (0=disable)
APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "1";

# apt autoclean
#  - Do "apt-get autoclean" every n-days (0=disable)
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "1";

This configuration options are read used by the script /usr/lib/apt/apt.systemd.daily. The will be run via systemd automatically.

Now we are actually got to go. There is only one problem. The default systemd timer runs only two times a day. I want the the timer run every two hours, because I use a laptop and it is most not always on, because of the the timer with the default settings will not run very often.

To change this we can simple create a systemd override for the apt-daily.timer. For that simple run the follwoing command:

systemctl edit apt-daily.timer

Now a editor will open with an empty file will open, add the following lines to the file and save it:


This will let the job run every two hours.

laptop  debian  apt