Frequently Asked Questions

Ubuntu Touch is the touch-friendly mobile version of the popular Ubuntu operating system. Originally designed and developed by Canonical Ltd, the project now resides with the UBports Foundation.

The Ubuntu operating system, upon which Ubuntu Touch is based, is one of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions in the world. UBports is the new home for Ubuntu Touch and will continue with Canonical's original mission of Convergence — the bold idea of bringing mobile computing to the desktop and desktop computing to mobile which will now be developed by the UBports Foundation.

The goal of Convergence will be to seamlessly blend mobile and desktop environments into a single unified experience. UBports Foundation is excited to continue development of Ubuntu Touch and to bring Convergence to life.

An amazing team of coders, developers, testers and users from around the world working together to successfully advance the Ubuntu Touch project. Officially, the UBports Foundation will be the legal entity encompassing the project, but it is the community of volunteers that make Ubuntu Touch what it is today. If it were not for this community of dedicated individuals who've spent countless hours, and many sleepless nights, working on the project, we would not have the dream of Convergence and the Ubuntu Touch experience that everyone knows and loves.

Ubuntu Touch has something no other mobile device has. Convergence — One platform for phone, tablet and desktop. Users will experience the freedom of choosing any device they desire by having a unified operating system. Application developers create programs once, and they are automatically adjusted for optimal use dependent on the user and device. Desktop apps can run on the phone, and phone apps can run on the desktop... with only one app! The possibilities are exciting and the future of computing is Convergence!

Canonical started with Ubuntu Touch. Convergence was a dream and now it's reality on the Nexus 5!

What is convergence?
Convergence is a single user experience that spans to all form factors and adapts to the different contexts of use. It means exactly the same operating system and applications run on phones, tablets and desktops. This is done by using responsive layouts that adapt to the different screen or window sizes.

Convergence supports all input types equally and simultaneously to allow users to interact using a pointer, touch or keyboard; whenever and however they choose.

Why did we put priority on convergence?
Over the last twenty years computing has become exponentially faster, cheaper and more power efficient. As a result, phones and tablets today have the processing power to undertake tasks that only a few years ago required PC hardware. The boundaries between form factors are becoming blurred; there is very little difference in terms of hardware between an Ultrabook with a touchscreen and a 12inch tablet with a keyboard attached.

By using convergence we breakdown the last barrier between form factors with a single operating system and app ecosystem for all different types of hardware. This enables new forms of interaction. For example, drafting an email on your phone during your journey to work, and then when you arrive at your desk you can plug the phone into a monitor and continue composing the same email in a desktop environment.

How does it work?
Its simple. By attaching your Ubuntu Touch mobile device to a screen and pairing a bluetooth keyboard/mouse, you will enter the world of convergence and begin to understand what has us so excited. With convergence, the future is mobile!

UBports is the foundation/legal entity that stands behind projects like Ubuntu Touch. The UBports project was founded by Marius Gripsgard in 2015 and the programming source code for the project was, thanks to the hard work of many volunteers, picked up and moved into the free software community where the project could not only be maintained but also expanded.

We are happy to say that we've collected the required members to file the paperwork to raise the UBports Foundation. This is an important step forward in the process. Our goal is still to have the Foundation ready for the beginning of next year.

The UBports Foundation's mission is to support the collaborative development of Ubuntu Touch and to promote the widespread use of Ubuntu Touch. It will give users a body to trust in the development of Ubuntu Touch. It will also improve our transparency in funding, spending, and decision making.

To learn more, check out the UBports Foundation.

Our goals:

Help and promote the collaborative software development of Ubuntu Touch;

Encourage the development of Ubuntu Touch and its features while coordinating and organizing the collaborative work on the software;

Assist the community while defending its interests and the sustainability of its developments;

Promote the use of the Ubuntu Touch as solution for mobile devices;

Facilitate synergies, collaborations and fund raising efforts;

Actively collaborate on the definition of the roadmaps of new versions, features and their implementation.
From our recent developments of Project Sudoku, we've been able to change how we will handle our policy for the Legacy phones. In our original plan to bring our platform to 16.04, we were using systemd, which requires changes to a device's kernel to use versus Upstart. With Sudoku, we are continuing to use Upstart. This means that we can bring 16.04 to all of our currently supported devices.

We have begun creating 16.04 images for all supported devices. It is currently only for use by developers and testers and we welcome your contributions.

An excellent question. Going from 15.04 to 16.04 isn't easy, but it seems to be much easier than going from 15.04 to the (very early) 18.04. Similarly, rebuilding 15.04 sources on a 16.04 base isn't easy, but it is faster. Choosing the easier path means a faster release, which means we don't get left in the dust. Release early, release often.

The most stable version available for the core devices (Fairphone 2, OnePlus One, Nexus 5 and BQ M10 FHD) is 15.04. Soon 16.04 LTS will be released for these devices. The next version, 16.04 LTS, is under active heavy development and will be released shortly. For developers and testers interested in working on 16.04.

If you would like to follow along with the development of 16.04, see our progress.
We're working as fast as we can to get the images out there but currently do not have fixed dates. The Halium project is expected to signifcantly speed this process up. To track our progress, you can follow along at here.

With the success of Halium, our release time frame is expected to be significantly reduced and we will be able to push out new images much quicker. The Halium project will unify the Hardware Abstraction Layer and create a bridge between Android hardware and the Ubuntu Touch operating system. With a successful Halium project, UBports team will spend less time on Android device drivers and more time on Ubuntu Touch. That is what we like to call a Win–Win.
We need you! UBports is a welcoming community of like minded individuals interested in promoting Ubuntu Touch. If you are interested in Ubuntu Touch we would love to have you. Please vist our Get Involved and Welcome pages to find out more about Ubuntu Touch.

Ubuntu Touch works everywhere: Underwater, In space, or even in Canada. Your connectivity will depend on the device hardware and networks available in those locations though. Please see  devices  page for more information about frequency compatibility.

The Nexus 5, Fairphone 2 and Oneplus One offer the best experience and are used by many people as their Daily Drivers.
Core Devices are the Devices that will receive all the new features, critical security-updates and bug-fixes from UBports. These devices will soon be rebased on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Until then, the existing legacy image (based on 15.04) can be installed.

Fairphone 2

OnePlus One

Nexus 5


To find our most current and up to date list of devices
Yes! UBports will take over all devices and will continue delivering new features for the core devices. The older legacy devices will be maintained on life support and the actual work will happen in the non-legacy branch, but we will still provide critical security-updates and merge bug-fixes from the community. This way you will still be able to use your phone with Ubuntu Touch if you own one of the official devices, but the cool and shiny new features will probably only land in the non-legacy branch.

Due to the limitations of the closed Android device trees on the official BQ and Meizu products, we have no choice but to relegate them to the legacy branch. Without access to the device tree, this prevents us from fixing bugs in hardware enablement or adding new features dependent on the kernel.
Like everyone else, although we cannot be held legally liable for any problems that happen with the devices, we will always work diligently to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, should they arise. Just like you, we are passionate about every device working as smoothly as possible and we look forward to you helping us accomplish this.
We rely on Android kernel and drivers to make the phone work. This is the unfortunate reality of Android hardware.
Ubuntu operates under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and all of the application software installed by default is free software. In addition, Ubuntu installs some hardware drivers that are available only in binary format, but such packages are clearly marked in the restricted component.
It should just work, if for some reason it doesn't verify that your mobile broadband provider is part of /usr/share/mobile-broadband-provider-info/serviceproviders.xml.
Great question. We are excited about the Librem 5 phone and think it might be a great new Ubuntu Touch device. Time will tell what the final device will look like and we will analyze its capabilities as a future Ubuntu Touch device once the details are finalized.
There are many applications in the  OpenStore  that run on Ubuntu Touch. Some popular applications include: Telegram messenger, uMatriks, Podbird (audio shows), Dekko2 (email), Instagraph (instagram) and uNav. However, many of the apps that you know on Android/iOS might not exist yet. There is a project called  Anbox  that is working on allowing android apps to be run on Ubuntu Touch.
Anbox puts the Android operating system into a container, abstracts hardware access and integrates core system services into a GNU/Linux system. Every Android application will be integrated with your operating system like any other native application.

Installation instructions are now at UBports Docs

It is to be noted that Anbox currently works only on select devices (listed in the docus) running 16.04. Thus, it is meant only for testing by experienced users in its current state. Neither Anbox nor 16.04 are ready as a daily driver. Anbox requires a kernel change, which has not been completely tested yet. This is so that the "Android Binder" will work. Eventually there will be a "two-binder" system so that the Anbox and Ubuntu Touch parts don't interfere with each other.

Report any Anbox issues here.
In the OpenStore app running on Ubuntu Touch or browse online at the Ubuntu Touch Apps. The Ubuntu Store will be closing its doors at the end of 2017 and we will be working with developers to help migrate their apps over to the OpenStore.
Our documentation can be found at our  Read The Docs  page.
A great place to chat and hang out with the community is our Telegram and Matrix groups.

Our Community Updates is the UBports channel which provides live updates directly from the lead developers about the current state of Ubuntu Touch. It is usually a fun and entertaining way to find out exactly what is happening behind the scenes. To find out when the next one will take place, follow us in Telegram, check out the forums or subscribe to the News Feed.

The Ubuntu Touch Audiocast is a less technical focus that is light, educational, entertaining.

And of course the Forums for a more permanent record of all things technical.
Please start by contacting us in our Telegram SuperGroup

To report any bugs and issues with Ubuntu Touch, go here and search you device code name. To report any bugs and issues with Ubuntu Touch, check out Ubuntu Touch Issues and search for your device code name. For proper documenting procedures and further details on bug reporting, follow our Issue Tracking Guidelines.

This new mode called Desktop mode, is what makes Ubuntu Touch so exciting and why the project has gained enormous support. This concept, following in the philosophy of Convergence, allows a mobile device to automatically transform into a desktop computer when attached to an external screen. Paired with a Bluetooh keyboard and mouse, the phone will have all the capability of Ubuntu for desktop, but will be running from your mobile device. The possibilities are groundbreaking and we are excited to continue developing this feature and look forward to expanding the possibilities.

Yes, if your phone is capable you will be able to run Ubuntu Touch on it's touch screen, but then dock it to an external screen, and be presented with the Desktop shell. This is the power of Convergence which the UBports team is excited to bring to your mobile devices.
Multiboot is not fun to maintain and we don't have time to do it. Some people have been able to get this working with kernel patches and recovery tricks, but it will kill OTA updates. We plan for Anbox to solve the Android problem.

Currently on the 15.04 code-base, the minimum specs for the Ubuntu Touch operating system are:

1 Ghz dual core Cortext A9

1 GB ram

OpenGL/ES supported graphics

8 GB storage

A snap is a self-contained package of libraries and run-times that provide all the necessary ingredients to allow an application to run. This allow the snap to be confined from the OS and other apps through security mechanisms but still allow communication with other snaps according to policies defined by the user. In addition, users have the ability to upgrade/downgrade applications without affecting the core OS or any other applications. This is game changing for GNU/Linux as it allows apps to be upgraded and modified worry free since it is possible to easily roll back to a previous state. Our goal is to support Snap packages on the M10 Tablets and Pro 5 device once the 16.04 update arrives. OS and Kernel patches will need modification and this is still a work in progress.
The internal memory of your Ubuntu Touch device can be expanded using a microSD card as long as your device has the hardware to support it. To begin using an SD card, simple insert it into your device until you hear a click which indicates its been inserted correctly. To remove the card, safely unmount the card using the External Drives app, then press in on the card to eject it.
UBports documentation is hosted here.

Community member Miguel has put together an amazing programming course. All documentation can be found here as well as in the UBports forum.
Marius Gripsgard

Ricardo Mendoza

Jan Sprinz

Members of the community
All of the required packages for the system are found in our metapackage.

The packages we build are also in the repo.
Halium is the collaborative project to unify the Hardware Abstraction Layer for projects which run GNU/Linux on mobile devices with pre-installed Android. What this means is quicker development and lanches of Ubuntu Touch on halium based android devices. None of our existing devices will run halium since it doesn't really make sense from a development stand point. Ubuntu Touch is being actively developed to run on vanilla Halium but isn't ready yet.
We don‘t have a GUI for this yet, but we should have the ability to encrypt the home folder using the terminal similar to how it‘s done on a regular install of Ubuntu.
There are multiple ways to present and offer them. Get in touch with us on Telegram or #ubports at Freenode to discuss.

You can also find information on our Get Involved page.

If you wish to submit new designs via github, you can start an issue and post images of your ideas.
Our documentation can be found at our  Read The Docs  page.
Right now, you‘d do this by creating a UITK style, but we don‘t have terribly much information for this. It‘s possible that changes will come with 16.04, but we‘re not sure yet.
This was a design decision made by the developers at Canonical. The goal was to give Ubuntu Touch the longest possible battery life, sacrificing a bit of usability for it. For some apps there exists a special rule called life-cycle exception, and they are allowed to work in the background. For example the music player works with this exception. UBports is working on a concept that will relax these strict rules a bit for future releases.
Yes, we have considered it. We have decided that we will not offer hotfix releases unless an issue is both a regression and critically damages use of the phone. For example, if the radio on every Nexus 5 broke with a stable update, we would release a hotfix.

Other than that, we want to stick to our 6-8 week schedule of OTAs. 
Ubuntu Touch is the operating system that runs on the bare metal, so to speak, of the phone and is developed and maintained by UBports. Our software is designed to completely wipe off android, except for the bits to control camera, modem, gps, etc, and install a totally new and advanced OS.

Ubuntu for Android is an app created by Canonical for Android devices. The two projects are not related.
Ubuntu Touch currently targets the ARMv7 and above Application Processor family (Cortex A8, A9 and above).
We invite you to join our  Newcomers Room  where all of the friendly UBports Welcoming Team are ready to help. This is a special area to not only help with installation questions, but also to introduce yourself and get to know some other community members outside our main Supergroup. We understand that with 1000 members strong, you may not feel comfortable jumping right in, so we created a side area for introductions. If you would like to join the Ubuntu Touch community this is a great place to start.

If you have one of our supported devices, please see our  Get Ubuntu Touch  page.

Due to limited time and resources, we are not porting to new devices until the 16.04 rebase is finished.

Devices provides of list of our supported phones and tablets.

If you should want to get involved in porting, our documentation provides further information.
Ubuntu Installer is simple and easy to use.

Launch the downloaded AppImage and follow the instructions. Its that easy. Please contact us and let us know how it went!
Ubuntu Touch will now use the Ubuntu Installer instead of the MDT.

MDT tool can be found here.
In simple terms, adb is a way for your desktop computer and device to communitcate with each other through a USB cable. It is a tool that comes with android-tools-adb and android-tools-fastboot which is used by the Ubuntu Touch installer on a supported device.

If you are on Ubuntu 16.04 desktop computer, type the following commands in termainl: sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot phablet-tools
It is an older installer that was a temporarily solution when UBports started and has been replaced by the UBports-Installer.
Our primary focus is on Ubuntu Touch for mobile phones and tablets at the moment. We have not yet produced an x86 build of Ubuntu Touch but compatibility will be provided later to support the converged device use case.
Our documentation can be found at our  Read The Docs  page.
Please join and get in touch with someone in our UBlangs  Telegram  group to find out more.
UBlangs is our telegram group devoted to translating Ubuntu Touch and the applications that run on it.

Our Welcome Page has a list of current Telegram language groups. If you don't see your language listed, please contact us to see about setting it up.
Our documentation can be found at our  Read The Docs  page.
On any device running Ubuntu Touch you can check out the OpenStore app to see all the apps available in the official UBports store. To browse the collection from a desktop computer, please see  uAppExplorer  for a current list of available apps.
We are working on it! We are happy to announce that Anbox is now available on our 16.04 Ubuntu Touch builds, but this is a work in progress.
We would like a lot more X11 apps to be avaible on Xenial. Xmir will make this a lot easier. The Libertine container was difficult to worth with, but we want it to work.
Check out our documentation for information on creating apps.
Brian Douglas has created Clickable to compile, build, and deploy Ubuntu Touch click packages all from the command line.
We've taken a fairly conservative stance on moving apps wholesale from the Canonical store into the OpenStore. We don't want to be stuck with a ton of apps that will never have any hope of being maintained again. Instead, we've been contacting and encouraging developers to move their apps on their own accord.

If you have any app that you just can't live without and the developer hasn't moved it yet, we encourage you to let them know that you love their app and want to see it continue.
Linuxbrew will provide more information.

Features Can install software to a home directory and so does not require sudo Install software not packaged by the native distribution Install up-to-date versions of software when the native distribution is old Use the same package manager to manage both your Mac and GNU/Linux machines
Our goal is to provide a single platform for app developers, which will allow a single codebase to run on all Ubuntu Touch devices. It is possible to use apt on your Ubuntu Touch device but it is only for developers as it will most certainly break future ota updates.
Our documentation can be found at our  Read The Docs  page.
OK, so if you watched any of the YouTube live shows, then you know what this is about!

UBports is pronounced "You Be Ports" and Ubuntu is pronounced "Ooh boon too". UBports is not plural, never remove the S from the end.
Our documentation can be found at our  Read The Docs  page.