apt-mark [-f=filename] {auto | manual | showauto | showmanual} pkg... | {-v | --version} | {-h | --help}


apt-mark will change whether a package has been marked as being automatically installed.

When you request that a package is installed, and as a result other packages are installed to satisfy its dependencies, the dependencies are marked as being automatically installed. Once these automatically installed packages are no longer depended on by any manually installed packages, they will be removed by e.g. apt-get or aptitude.


auto is used to mark a package as being automatically installed, which will cause the package to be removed when no more manually installed packages depend on this package.


manual is used to mark a package as being manually installed, which will prevent the package from being automatically removed if no other packages depend on it.


hold is used to mark a package as held back, which will prevent the package from being automatically installed, upgraded or removed. The command is only a wrapper around dpkg --set-selections and the state is therefore maintained by dpkg(1) and not affected by the --file option.


unhold is used to cancel a previously set hold on a package to allow all actions again.


showauto is used to print a list of automatically installed packages with each package on a new line. All automatically installed packages will be listed if no package is given. If packages are given only those which are automatically installed will be shown.


showmanual can be used in the same way as showauto except that it will print a list of manually installed packages instead.


showhold is used to print a list of packages on hold in the same way as for the other show commands.


-f=filename, --file=filename

Read/Write package stats from the filename given with the parameter filename instead of from the default location, which is extended_status in the directory defined by the Configuration Item: Dir::State.

-h, --help

Show a short usage summary.

-v, --version

Show the program version.

-c, --config-file

Configuration File; Specify a configuration file to use. The program will read the default configuration file and then this configuration file. If configuration settings need to be set before the default configuration files are parsed specify a file with the APT_CONFIG environment variable. See apt.conf(5) for syntax information.

-o, --option

Set a Configuration Option; This will set an arbitrary configuration option. The syntax is -o Foo::Bar=bar. -o and --option can be used multiple times to set different options.



Status list of auto-installed packages. Configuration Item: Dir::State::extended_states.

RELATED TO apt-mark…



apt-mark returns zero on normal operation, non-zero on error.


\m[blue]APT bug page\m[]\s-2\u[1]\d\s+2. If you wish to report a bug in APT, please see /usr/share/doc/debian/bug-reporting.txt or the reportbug(1) command.


Mike O'Connor

APT team



APT bug page