On all newer Ubuntu installations, Ubuntu activates the Apport Error Reporting Service by default at boot time. This means that from time to time, a large number of internal errors will appear on your Ubuntu screen. These pop-ups are a function of the internal debugger, which automatically generates reports for all your system packages that have crashed.

Ubuntu Error reporting

The problem with these error popups is that there are a large number of Ubuntu users and the probability is high that the error has already been reported. It is also very likely that the files for your bug report have already been sent by some. Also, as an Ubuntu professional, you may already know how to fix the problem yourself. You should then focus on fixing the problem instead of sending the report to Canonical. In such situations where these reports are just an annoyance for you, we recommend that you disable them. Also, crashes and bugs may sound like big problems, but in reality they are mostly minor operating system glitches, of which you may experience several every day. It almost never means that your system is broken or about to crash.

In this article, we will describe how to configure the Apport service to manage the error report pop-up on the Ubuntu desktop. We will describe how to enable/disable the Apport service both from the command line and from the Ubuntu graphical user interface.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

How does Apport work?

The purpose of the Apport error reporting is to:

  • Gauge the system crashes as and when they happen
  • Gather information about the crash and the operating system state for report submission
  • Report unhandled exceptions in other programming languages such as Python
  • Report some other problems that can be automatically detected such as package installation and upgrade failures
  • Generate a pop up on UI for the user, for each crash, and guide the user on how to report it
  • File non-crash error reports about software to developers so that they can gather information about the operating system and package versions being used by a Ubuntu user

Disable Error Reporting through the Command Line

If you are a Terminal-savvy person, you can configure the Apport service in the following ways to disable error reporting:

Note: You can open the Terminal application either through the system Dash or the Ctrl+alt+T shortcut.

Stop Apport

The Apport service is in a running or active state by default when you install Ubuntu 18.04. You can stop this service by running the following command as sudo:

$ sudo service apport stop

Stop apport

The service will silently stop without giving any notification. Now your system will not send any error reports during the current log in section. The service will, however, start again when you boot your system next time.

Disable Apport at Boot

In order to permanently disable the Apport service, you need to configure it to be disabled automatically at boot. For this, you need to make some changes in the Apport configuration file. Open the file in any of your favorite editors. We are using the Nano editor to open the file as sudo:

$ sudo nano /etc/default/apport

Disable apport
In the apport file, lookup for a line that has the enabled value ‘1’ by default. Change this value to 0 so that the system does not start the apport service at boot.

Press Ctrl+X, Y, and then hit Enter to save the changes to this file.

Uninstall Apport

Another simple, but less recommended way is to completely remove the apport service with all its configurations from your system. You can do this by purging Apport through the following command as sudo:

$ sudo apt-get purge apport

Please note that only an authorized user can add/remove and configure software on Ubuntu.

Uninstall apport

Now the Apport service is completely removed from your system and you do not need to worry about any error reports being sent from your Ubuntu system.

Enable Error Reporting through Command Line

If you ever want to enable the Apport service again, you can install the service by running the following command as sudo:

$ sudo apt install apport

Install Apport application with apt

You can then manually start the service by running the following command:

$ sudo systemctl start apport

After this, make sure that the apport configuration file is set up properly to start the apport service at boot.

$ sudo nano /etc/default/apport

Please ensure that the value of enabled is set to 1 in this configuration file. Press Ctrl+X, Y and then hit Enter to save the changes to this file.

Enable/Disable Error Reporting through the UI

If you prefer using the GUI for performing simple administrative tasks, you can make of the graphical Settings utility.

The Settings can be accessed either through the system Dash or by accessing it as follows:

Click on the downward arrow located at the top-right corner of your Ubuntu desktop and then click the settings icon from the following view:

Ubuntu settings

The Settings utility opens in the WiFi tab by default. You need to click on the Privacy tab in order to configure problem reporting.

Alternatively, you can enter privacy in the Dash search to open the Privacy settings directly.

Privacy settings

In the right pane, look up for the Problem Reporting feature, whose value is ‘Automatic’ by default.

Privacy Settings > Problem reporting

Click on Problem Reporting to customize the error reporting feature that reports the technical problems to Canonical anonymously.

Disable sending of problem reports

Here you can switch off the “Send error reports to Canonical” button in order to disable error reporting altogether. Or you can select if you want the system to automatically send error reports or else to show a dialog for each error before sending its report to Canonical.

As soon as you make the required settings, they take effect and will also retain the value on your next system boot.

Now you have a way out of disabling unwanted error pop-ups, which might otherwise distract you from the actual task at hand. It also saves system resources that it was previously using to start the Apport service, check for bugs and crashes, and then for the UI notifications and further reporting procedures.

How to Disable/Enable Automatic Error Reporting in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn