How to Determine Ubuntu version trough GUI and Command Line

Get Ubuntu Version Information

Looking for Ubuntu version and system information on your machine can come in handy in a variety of scenarios such as downloading the relevant build of software according to your OS version. It also helps in knowing your OS version when you might be getting help from online forums or working with development environments. If you are a newbie using Ubuntu for the first time, believe me, you are in for a treat.

There are two main ways in which you can check out the version of Ubuntu you are running. We will be covering both in this tutorial. The GUI settings only provide the Ubuntu version but if you are looking for the full version number of your operating system, you will need to opt for the terminal method. Terminal provides different options to view the full version of your OS.

As you go through the tutorial, you will come across two terms: Ubuntu version and full version. The Ubuntu version consists of the main version like Ubuntu 18.04 while the full version is Ubuntu 18.04.1 where the last digit is the build number.

Check Ubuntu Version from Graphical User Interface

In order to check your Ubuntu version through GUI, follow the steps described below.

Step 1: Open the System Settings from the shortcut provided in the left Launchpad or by searching on the application finder as shown in figure 1 and 2 respectively.

Open Ubuntu System Settings

Figure 1

Search for System Settings

Figure 2.

Step 2: Here, you will be able to see numerous other settings that you can carry out but what we are interested right now is in Details. Double click on Details and wait for it to load.

Ubuntu System Setting Details

Step 3: The following system details will be displayed here. As you can see, apart from the Ubuntu version, there is also information about memory, processor, graphics, OS type as well as disk size.

Show Ubuntu Version in GUI

Check Ubuntu Version from Terminal

I have found that terminals work whichever way you try them. Therefore, even if the GUI method for searching your Ubuntu version doesn’t work, this one is going to definitely work for you. This is a quite simple and straight forward method to check out detailed information about your system.

Using the lsb_release command

Step 1: Open a new terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or searching for Terminal in the launcher.

Step 2: Enter the following command mentioned in the box.

lsb_release -a

Step 3: The following output will be shown in your terminal window.

Ubuntu lsb_release command

From the above output, the description shows the detailed Ubuntu version that you are using which is 16.04.5 on my system which is the full version.

Step 4: You can also check the description only by entering the following command on your terminal window

lsb_release -d

Step 5: The following output will be displayed to you which shows the full version of Ubuntu installed on your system.

LSB Release description

Using /etc/issue file

Another way to check the version of Ubuntu you are running on your machine is by viewing the issue file on your system. To open the file, enter the following command on your terminal.

cat /etc/issue

The output will display the version of Ubuntu running on your system as shown in the image below.

Get content of /etc/issue file

Using /etc/os-release file

This method will only work if your version of Ubuntu is 16.04 or newer. This file contains information about the operating system identification data, therefore, be careful while handling this. To view the file, we will enter the following command.

cat /etc/os-release

The following output will be displayed to you and from this, you can view the version of Ubuntu that you are running on your machine.

Get content of os-release file

Using hostnamectl command

This command allows users to set the hostname but it also provides the Ubuntu version of the system. Simply open a terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T and enter the following command.


The output will display the version as well as other system information such as machine ID, kernel ID, architecture and operating system.

Using hostnamectl command to get Release information

Finding our Ubuntu version on your system is quite simple and easy as described in this tutorial. Now, you can check the version of your Ubuntu operating system using the different methods that we have discussed in this tutorial.