apt vs apt-get, apt-cache – What’s the difference?

APT is a package manager that used in Debian-based distributions. It is made to replace apt-get. But they both can perform the same functions. So, is there a difference between them? Let’s try to figure it out.

What was apt designed for?

In short, it was created to simplify work with package manager and make Debian-based more user-friendly. Previously, it was necessary to type “apt-get, apt-cache”. It’s long and not compact. So, apt includes these commands, now you can perform “apt install, apt search” instead of “apt-get install, apt-cache search”. It’s easier, isn’t it?

Turns out that apt is more user-friendly. By default, apt has syntax highlight in its output, but i didn’t notice the same in apt-get. This once again proves that apt is made to simplify the work.

apt-get has changed in its code to work with apt. So, apt is more than just alias or macros. It is a new utility.

apt vs apt-get, apt-cache – What is the difference between them?

apt or apt-get? What is the difference between these two commands? apt is a new utility that include both apt-get and apt-cache commands. Now it’s shorter to type just apt, instead apt-get, apt-cache. Take a look at this:

apt show firefox
instead of
apt-cache show firefox

Both utilities can show the package information about firefox package. So, with apt commands getting shorter. As mentioned apt contains all apt-get, apt-cache functions.

The difference is not only that the commands became shorter

In apt progress bars are improved, enabled syntax highlight, code has become more optimized, apt become smarter and faster.

In apt-get there is no way to show list of upgradable packages, but in apt you can perform:

apt list --upgradable

Here is a list of frequently used commands, It is well organized and described:

apt --help
Most used commands:
  list - list packages based on package names
  search - search in package descriptions
  show - show package details
  install - install packages
  remove - remove packages
  autoremove - Remove automatically all unused packages
  update - update list of available packages
  upgrade - upgrade the system by installing/upgrading packages
  full-upgrade - upgrade the system by removing/installing/upgrading packages
  edit-sources - edit the source information file

Now it’s easier to edit sources.list

sudo apt edit-sources


We can easily use apt instead of apt-get, because apt is more user-oriented (highlights, progress bars, intuitive and short commands). It is based on a new code and as we know, it is good when the errors of old utilities are corrected in new ones.

apt is easier to use than apt-get and apt-cache, but provide the same functions and even more (apt edit-sources, apt list –upgradable).

What to use? Personally, I prefer apt.

Updated: April 19, 2019 — 10:26 am