podman-auto-update - Man Page

Auto update containers according to their auto-update policy


podman auto-update [options]


podman auto-update pulls down new container images and restarts containers configured for auto updates. To make use of auto updates, the container or Kubernetes workloads must run inside a systemd unit. After a successful update of an image, the containers using the image get updated by restarting the systemd units they run in. Please refer to quadlet(5) on how to run Podman under systemd.

To configure a container for auto updates, it must be created with the io.containers.autoupdate label or the AutoUpdate field in quadlet(5) with one of the following two values:

Auto Updates and Kubernetes YAML

Podman supports auto updates for Kubernetes workloads.  The auto-update policy can be configured directly via quadlet(5) or inside the Kubernetes YAML with the Podman-specific annotations mentioned below:

  • io.containers.autoupdate: "registry|local" to apply the auto-update policy to all containers
  • io.containers.autoupdate/$container: "registry|local" to apply the auto-update policy to $container only
  • io.containers.sdnotify: "conmon|container" to apply the sdnotify policy to all containers
  • io.containers.sdnotify/$container: "conmon|container" to apply the sdnotify policy to $container only

By default, the autoupdate policy is set to "disabled", the sdnotify policy is set to "conmon".

Systemd Unit and Timer

Podman ships with a podman-auto-update.service systemd unit. This unit is triggered daily at midnight by the podman-auto-update.timer systemd timer. The timer can be altered for custom time-based updates if desired. The unit can further be invoked by other systemd units (e.g., via the dependency tree) or manually via systemctl start podman-auto-update.service.



Path of the authentication file. Default is ${XDG_RUNTIME_DIR}/containers/auth.json on Linux, and $HOME/.config/containers/auth.json on Windows/macOS. The file is created by podman login. If the authorization state is not found there, $HOME/.docker/config.json is checked, which is set using docker login.

Note: There is also the option to override the default path of the authentication file by setting the REGISTRY_AUTH_FILE environment variable. This can be done with export REGISTRY_AUTH_FILE=path.

Alternatively, the io.containers.autoupdate.authfile container label can be configured.  In that case, Podman will use the specified label's value instead.


Check for the availability of new images but do not perform any pull operation or restart any service or container. The UPDATED field indicates the availability of a new image with "pending".


Change the default output format.  This can be of a supported type like 'json' or a Go template. Valid placeholders for the Go template are listed below:

.ContainerID and name of the container
.ContainerIDID of the container
.ContainerNameName of the container
.ImageName of the image
.PolicyAuto-update policy of the container
.UnitName of the systemd unit
.UpdatedUpdate status: true,false,failed


If restarting a systemd unit after updating the image has failed, rollback to using the previous image and restart the unit another time.  Default is true.

Note that detecting if a systemd unit has failed is best done by the container sending the READY message via SDNOTIFY. This way, restarting the unit waits until having received the message or a timeout kicked in. Without that, restarting the systemd unit may succeed even if the container has failed shortly after.

For a container to send the READY message via SDNOTIFY it must be created with the --sdnotify=container option (see podman-run(1)). The application running inside the container can then execute systemd-notify --ready when ready or use the sdnotify bindings of the specific programming language (e.g., sd_notify(3)).


Require HTTPS and verify certificates when contacting registries (default: true). If explicitly set to true, TLS verification is used. If set to false, TLS verification is not used. If not specified, TLS verification is used unless the target registry is listed as an insecure registry in containers-registries.conf(5)


Create a Quadlet file configured for auto updates:

$ cat ~/.config/containers/systemd/sleep.container
Exec=sleep infinity

Generate a systemd service from the Quadlet file by reloading the systemd user daemon:

$ systemctl --user daemon-reload

Start the systemd service and make sure the container is running

$ systemctl --user start sleep.service
$ podman ps
CONTAINER ID  IMAGE                                     COMMAND         CREATED        STATUS        PORTS       NAMES
f8e4759798d4  registry.fedoraproject.org/fedora:latest  sleep infinity  2 seconds ago  Up 2 seconds              systemd-sleep

Check if a new image is available via --dry-run:

$ podman auto-update --dry-run --format "{{.Image}} {{.Updated}}"
registry.fedoraproject.org/fedora:latest   pending

Update the service:

$ podman auto-update
UNIT           CONTAINER                     IMAGE                                     POLICY      UPDATED
sleep.service  f8e4759798d4 (systemd-sleep)  registry.fedoraproject.org/fedora:latest  registry    true

See Also

podman(1), podman-generate-systemd(1), podman-run(1), podman-systemd.unit(5), sd_notify(3), systemd.unit(5)

Referenced By

podman(1), podman-systemd.unit(5).

The man page docker-auto-update(1) is an alias of podman-auto-update(1).