After uninstalling a package I used to do apt-get autoremove to remove other unused dependencies.

I understand that apt (rather than apt-get) is the modern way to manage packages on the command-line - I can uninstall things with apt remove. But then how do I do the autoremove step? Do I still have to do this with apt-get?

I'm using Ubuntu Utopic.

  • 1
    Where do you understand that "apt is the modern way..." from? The man page simple states that it's a CLI to the package management and to look at apt-get and apt-cache for more low-level command options.
    – ETL
    Jan 11, 2015 at 18:00
  • @ETL it was my understanding that: Back in the day, apt-get was considered buggy - it initially didn't handle dependencies properly, so people used aptitude. This then took a swing, and apt-get was considered the more reliable way to install things, while aptitude had bugs in Ubuntu. Apparently apt was started when apt-get was in version 1.0.0 or something. You're right it basically looks like a neater API for the same features as apt-get, apt-cache and dpkg, but one of the systems guys here at Canonical told me apt was now considered the better one to use. Jan 13, 2015 at 9:38
  • Funny they would say that. This morning, I randomly did apt list | head and got the following warning: WARNING: apt does not have a stable CLI interface yet. Use with caution in scripts.
    – ETL
    Jan 13, 2015 at 14:47
  • @ETL ah well that kinda speaks to its newness doesn't it. Yeah the API of course has to be more stable for use in scripts, but doesn't mean it's not reliable to use on the CLI. Jan 13, 2015 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


Short answer: you don't.

Long answer: from the man pages:

apt (Advanced Package Tool) is the command-line tool for handling packages. It provides a commandline interface for the package management of the system. See also apt-get(8) and apt-cache(8) for more low-level command options.

apt-get is the command-line tool for handling packages, and may be considered the user's "back-end" to other tools using the APT library. Several "front-end" interfaces exist, such as aptitude(8), synaptic(8) and wajig(1).

So to apt and apt-get are two tools which are part of the APT library. apt can be used to perform some functions and apt-get others. They have some overlap. apt covers all the common options a basic user would need. apt-get contains more low-level functions that a sysadmin would use.

As per the full man page of the apt tool, it does not have a command to auto remove unused package. One has to use apt-get (or possibly another front-end interface).

  • 1
    Not directly, but one can pass configuration options via -o.
    – muru
    Jan 12, 2015 at 10:12

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