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apt-mark - Man Page

show, set and unset various settings for a package

Examples (TL;DR)


apt-mark {-f=filename | {auto | manual} pkg...  | {showauto | showmanual} [pkg...] } | {-v | --version} | {-h | --help}

apt-mark {hold | unhold | install | remove | purge} pkg...  | {showhold | showinstall | showremove | showpurge} [pkg...]  


apt-mark can be used as a unified front-end to set various settings for a package, such as marking a package as being automatically/manually installed or changing dpkg selections such as hold, install, deinstall and purge which are respected e.g. by apt-get dselect-upgrade or aptitude.

Automatically and Manually Installed Packages

When you request that a package is installed, and as a result other packages are installed to satisfy its dependencies, the dependencies are marked as being automatically installed, while the package you installed explicitly is marked as manually installed. Once an automatically installed package is no longer depended on by any manually installed package it is considered no longer needed and e.g. apt-get or aptitude will at least suggest removing them.


auto is used to mark a package as being automatically installed, which will cause the package to be removed when no more manually installed packages depend on this package.


manual is used to mark a package as being manually installed, which will prevent the package from being automatically removed if no other packages depend on it.


minimize-manual is used to mark (transitive) dependencies of metapackages as automatically installed. This can be used after an installation for example, to minimize the number of manually installed packages; or continuously on systems managed by system configuration metapackages.


showauto is used to print a list of automatically installed packages with each package on a new line. All automatically installed packages will be listed if no package is given. If packages are given only those which are automatically installed will be shown.


showmanual can be used in the same way as showauto except that it will print a list of manually installed packages instead.


-f=filename, --file=filename

Read/Write package stats from the filename given with the parameter filename instead of from the default location, which is extended_states in the directory defined by the Configuration Item: Dir::State.

Prevent Changes for a Package


hold is used to mark a package as held back, which will prevent the package from being automatically installed, upgraded or removed.


unhold is used to cancel a previously set hold on a package to allow all actions again.


showhold is used to print a list of packages on hold in the same way as for the other show commands.

Schedule Packages for Install, Remove and Purge

Some front-ends like apt-get dselect-upgrade can be used to apply previously scheduled changes to the install state of packages. Such changes can be scheduled with the install, remove (also known as deinstall) and purge commands. Packages with a specific selection can be displayed with showinstall, showremove and showpurge respectively. More information about these so called dpkg selections can be found in dpkg(1).


-h,  --help

Show a short usage summary.

-v,  --version

Show the program version.


Show audit (and notice) messages. This overrides the quiet option, but only for notice messages, not progress ones.

-c,  --config-file

Configuration File; Specify a configuration file to use. The program will read the default configuration file and then this configuration file. If configuration settings need to be set before the default configuration files are parsed specify a file with the APT_CONFIG environment variable. See apt.conf(5) for syntax information.

-o,  --option

Set a Configuration Option; This will set an arbitrary configuration option. The syntax is -o Foo::Bar=bar. -o and --option can be used multiple times to set different options.

--no-color,  --color

Turn colors on or off. Colors are on by default on supported terminals for apt(8) and can also be disabled using the NO_COLOR or APT_NO_COLOR environment variables, or further configured by the APT::Color configuration option and scope, see apt.conf(5) for information on that.



Status list of auto-installed packages. Configuration Item: Dir::State::extended_states.

See Also



apt-mark returns zero on normal operation, non-zero on error.


APT bug page[1]. If you wish to report a bug in APT, please see /usr/share/doc/debian/bug-reporting.txt or the reportbug(1) command.


Mike O'Connor

APT team



APT bug page

Referenced By

apt(8), cdist-type__apt_mark(7).

11 December 2018 APT 2.9.2