How to Update Kali Linux

How to Update Kali Linux

How to Update Kali Linux

Kali Linux is referred to as the ‘most advanced’ penetration testing distribution‘. It has a wide range of tools dedicated to penetration testing, ethical hacking, reverse engineering and computer forensics amongst others.

NOTE:// You do not need to know what the latest release of Kali is before performing the upgrade. When you perform the upgrade, your system will automatically upgrade to the latest release available for your system. Also unlike in some operating systems, you do not need to download the latest Kali release just to upgrade your distro. This is totally unnecessary and inconvenient. All upgrades in Kali Linux can be done at the terminal.

Upgrading in this case is just that. It basically means that you are replacing the old packages with latest versions of the packages if available. According to the apt help, a Kali Linux full-upgrade (the best upgrade option), is explained as to “upgrade the system by removing/installing/upgrading packages”.


You probably knew all this, because the fact that you are reading this article means that you are already using Kali Linux, and want to know how you can upgrade or update the OS to the latest available release, so imma cut to the chase!

Before upgrading your system, you might want to check the Kali Linux Branch that your system relies on. Branches determine the versions and stability of packages that will be installed in your system. Check the Branch that your system is hooked to using the command:

root@kali:/# cat /etc/apt/sources.list

To know more about Kali Linux Branches, and how to switch branches, check out this article:How to Switch Kali Linux Branches in sources.list


A successful Kali Linux upgrade can be accomplished in exacly two steps:

Step 1: Updating List of Available Packages

root@kali:/# sudo apt update

After this command, the list of upgradable packages is generated. The list can be viewed prior to performing the system upgrade using the command:

root@kali:/# sudo apt list –upgradable


Step 2: Upgrading the System

root@kali:/# sudo apt full-upgrade


root@kali:/# sudo apt full-upgrade -Y

If you don’t want to enter the ‘Y’ letter later to agree to perform the full upgrade. The consent prompt will appear if you don’t enter ‘Y’ as part of the full-upgrade command, as in the previous command.

The two options can also be merged by using and, expressed as ‘&&’ as show below:

root@kali:/# sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade -Y

I’d advice splitting the two commands to know which packages will be removed/installed/upgraded prior to starting the upgrade process.

For all the commands above, the ‘sudo‘ prefix is optional if you are logged into your system as the root user. Therefore, you can exclude it from your commands if you are performing the upgrade as root.

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How to Update Kali Linux
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