How to Check Ubuntu Version Using GUI and Terminal Commands

It is good to know what version your Ubuntu is at any given time. While certain VPS hosting providers may offer a convenient control panel to check this information, it’s not always the case. Therefore, it’s important to learn other ways to check the Ubuntu version, especially when working with virtual servers or Linux systems that may not provide a built-in graphical interface.

Every two years, there is an LTS (Long Term Support) version published, with support for at least 5 years. The current LTS version is 20.04, released in April 2020. The Ubuntu version numbers refer to the year and month of release.

Every 6 months between the LTS versions, Ubuntu releases a provisional version. This may seem like a lot, but it makes the development more controlled. Versions are usually released in April and October, with the latest being 19.10.

All other versions that are not LTS, on the other hand, have relatively short support and their goal is limited to testing new features and bug fixes.

Knowing your Ubuntu version will help you better understand what packages or applications you should be installing. So how do you check your Ubuntu version?

This article will show you how to check your Ubuntu version information using the terminal and command line, as well as the graphical interface on a desktop environment.

How to Check Ubuntu Version Through System Settings

It is possible to know which version of Ubuntu your computer is running from the graphical interface if you’re running it in a desktop environment.

  1. Start the Ubuntu application and open up the System Settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and look for the Details section and click on it.
  3. Locate the window with the basic information, and in it see the Ubuntu version.

As you can see in the screenshot, our system is running Ubuntu 18.04.

Check Ubuntu version through the GUI

How to Check Ubuntu Version Through the Terminal

There are several command options we can choose for a Ubuntu version check. Some show the version directly and others give more Ubuntu description information.

  1. Open your terminal (CTRL + ALT + T) and then proceed.
  2. Run the lsb_release -a command.
  3. Check the output for the current Ubuntu version.

The output will look similar to this:

Checking the Ubuntu System Version in the Terminal

If you are looking for a cleaner description line of what version your Ubuntu is, use the following command:

lsb_release -d

The output of your Ubuntu version will look like this:

Description: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

As a bonus, we can verify the Ubuntu hardware information of the equipment, by executing this command in the command line:

sudo lshw

If the command doesn’t work, you most likely have to install the list hardware utility with the following command:

sudo apt-get install lshw

Other Ways to Check Ubuntu Version Through the Terminal

There are a handful of alternative commands you can use to check your Ubuntu version and information. Let’s take a look at the command cat. You can use:

cat /etc/lsb-release

With the version of Ubuntu looking like this:


Or simply typing in this command:

cat /etc/issue

The output from this command will look like this:

Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS \n \l


Knowing different ways of checking the Ubuntu version you’re working on is something simple yet essential. Not knowing your tools, information, and system settings can complicate your work.

To summarize, you can check your Ubuntu version through the below methods:

  1. Check your Ubuntu version in the GUI settings
  2. Use the lsb_release -a or lsb_release -d command line
  3. Use the cat /etc/lsb-release or cat /etc/issue command line

We hope that this article has helped you check your Ubuntu version information through the graphical interface or the terminal, and both methods are quick and easy. If you have any questions or tips, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.

The author

Edward S.

Edward is a content editor with years of experience in IT writing, marketing, and Linux system administration. His goal is to encourage readers to establish an impactful online presence. He also really loves dogs, guitars, and everything related to space.