Mint is among the most popular Linux distributions due to a variety of reasons. It is fast, customizable, and stable. You can run it on old machines easily since its hardware requirements are minimal and can select from four different desktop environments.

Besides this, the OS supports a huge library of open-source applications, which you can download and install easily. Updating these applications is also very simple, and takes just a few seconds. If you're new to Linux Mint and want to learn how to install and update apps on the system, this is just the guide you need.

Installing Applications

There are a few different ways by which you can install different software applications on Linux Mint. You can use the default package manager, the command line interface, and even directly from software websites.

Using the Synaptic Package Manager

The ideal way of installing applications on Linux is through the software or package manager. Different Linux distros come with their own software or package managers, which let you install various applications on the system. Package managers not only install the application you need but also all the libraries and dependencies needed to run it on the machine.

You can find thousands of programs in the software manager, which are called packages, hence, the name package manager. Mint comes preinstalled with the Synaptic Package Manager, and here is how you can use it to install programs on your system.

  1. On your Linux Mint desktop, click on the 'Menu' button in the lower-left corner of your Mint desktop to open the menu.
  1. Type Synaptic Package Manager and click on it when it appears in the search results.
  1. It will ask for your password before opening, so type it in the authentication box and press the 'Enter' key or click on the 'Authenticate' button.
  1. When the package manager opens up for the first time, it will show you an introductory message. Click on the 'Close' button to close it and access the manager.
  1. Now, click on the 'Search' button on the top right to search for an application you want to install.
  1. Doing so will bring open up a search box. Type in the name of the application you want to search for, such as VLC Media Player and click on the 'Search' button.
  1. In the search results that appear, scroll down until you find 'VLC'. Click on it to select it.
  1. Next, click on the check box and you will get the option to 'Mark For Installation'. Click on it to select it.
  1. Marking the app for installation will show you all the dependencies that will be installed along with the app for it to be able to run on your computer. Click on the 'Mark' button again to proceed.
  1. When you mark the application you want to install, the package manager will highlight the items it will download in green. Click on the 'Apply' button to start downloading the application and its dependencies.
  1. You will see a final summary of the items to be downloaded, and you can choose to proceed or cancel the process. Click on the 'Apply' button again.
  1. The package manager will start downloading the application and whatever libraries it needs to run.
  1. Once the package manager downloads all the files, it will automatically start installing the application onto your system. You don't have to do anything, just wait for a few minutes until it completes the process.
  1. Once the process is completed, you will find the application in your Mint menu. Just left-click on the Menu button and type the name of the application, such as 'VLC'.
  1. When the application appears, click on it to open it.

Using the Command Line Interface

If you are familiar with the command line and find it easier to use, it is another option that lets you install apps in Mint. Installing apps via the command line or terminal is often faster as well, especially once you get used to it.

  1. Click on the terminal icon on the lower left side of the panel. The panel is what appears at the bottom of the screen, similar to the taskbar in Windows.
  1. You can install apps in Mint just by typing in simple commands in the terminal. For instance, to install CherryTree, a simple note-taking app, just type in sudo apt install cherrytree in the terminal window and press the 'Enter' key.
  1. Mint will then ask for your password. Type it in and press the 'Enter' key again.
  1. This will allow Mint to download the dependencies for the application. It will then inform you about how much disk space will be used, and whether you want to continue. Press the Y key on your keyboard to proceed.
  1. Mint will take a few seconds to install the application. Once it is done, click on the menu on the lower left and type 'CherryTree' to find it.

Similarly, you can just use the above command with the name of the application you want to install and install it on your computer quickly and easily.

From Application Websites

Another method you can use to install applications in Mint is directly from the application websites, though this method may not be suitable for all applications.

  1. To install an application directly from its website, first visit its website. For instance, to install the Edge browser, visit its download page and click on the download button. For Mint, choose the .deb option.
Note: When installing applications directly in Linux, make sure you download the right installer. Mint is based on Debian, so you can download .deb packages and install them easily. While you can technically install .RPM files, the process is quite complicated and may not always work.
  1. After clicking on the .deb option, you will have to accept the terms and conditions for using the software. Click on the 'Accept and Download' button.
  1. Save the installer to your computer and wait for the download to complete. Once it is downloaded, click on it and you will see the package manager window appear. Click on the 'Install Package' button.
  1. The package manager will ask for your password before it installs the application. Type it in the authentication box and press the 'Enter' key.
  1. Wait until the package manager installs Edge browser on your system. The package manager will notify you when it's done.
  1. To open the browser, click on the Menu button on the bottom left and type edge browser. Click on it when it appears in the search results to launch it.

Updating Apps

Just like installing apps, updating them is quite simple in Mint. Linux distros check for software and app updates automatically, so you do not need to do it manually. More importantly, they notify you about the updates but let you choose when to install them, unlike Windows.

Mint and other Linux distros do not install updates on their own without user consent. Because of this, the chances of your system running into issues are very low and you have complete control over how updates are installed. Here is how you can update apps on Mint.

With the Update Manager

  1. As explained above, Mint and other Linux distros check for updates automatically. If updates are available, you will see a shield icon with a notification dot on the lower right side of the panel. Click on it to view the available updates.
  1. Clicking on the icon will open the Update Manager, which will show you the available updates. These can include updates for both system components and installed apps. You can choose which updates to install by checking or unchecking the boxes next to different applications.
  1. After selecting the updates you want to install, click on the 'Install Updates' button at the top.
  1. The Update Manager will ask for your password before updating installed apps, so type it in and press the 'Enter' key or click on the 'Authenticate' button.
  1. The update manager will download and install the updates. Once it finishes, it will check for updates again. You will get a notification when all updates are complete.

That's it. You have successfully updated your installed apps.

Note: The default settings in the Update Manager are ideal for beginners who want to update their apps using it. However, once you become familiar with Mint, you can even configure it as you wish and control how to install updates.

Via The Terminal

Besides installing apps, you can use the terminal to check for and install updates in Mint.

  1. Click on the terminal icon on the panel or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T.
  2. Type sudo apt get update in the terminal and press the 'Enter' key.
  1. When asked, type in your password and press the 'Enter' key again.
  1. If updates are available, the package manager will show them. It will show you how much data will be downloaded and the disk size that will be used. You can install the updates in the same manner as when installing an app using the terminal.

Installing and updating system components and applications is very easy in Mint, whether you choose to do so using the graphical tools or the command line. In both cases, the OS will inform you about the data and disk space the updates will require, which is quite handy.

Additionally, in most cases, you do not need to reboot your system after installing an update. Even if an update requires a system restart, Mint only offers it as a recommendation, which means you can continue using it without restarting immediately. It will automatically install the update whenever you reboot your machine next time.