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How to Fix "Pending update of firefox snap"

Many Ubuntu users have recently become frustrated by the Pending update of "firefox" snap message they sometimes see when using Firefox. The message usually says something like “Close the app to avoid disruptions (13 days left)”. This is a big annoyance for users who might not want to close the app or install an update on that timeline, and would rather do it on their own schedule. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to completely avoid this problem on Ubuntu.

Close the app to avoid disruptions (13 days left)

As I wrote in a previous blog post, Ubuntu 21.10+ changed the distribution method for Firefox from an apt package to a snap package. The snap version of Firefox includes this forced upgrade mechanism that many users don’t like. If you want to completely avoid the forced upgrade problem, the best way to do so is to uninstall the Firefox snap package and install Firefox via a different method.

I think installing Firefox using the self-contained zip method (provided directly by Mozilla) is currently the best way to install Firefox on Ubuntu. This method will perform auto-updates using the same mechanism it uses on Windows, installing the updates when Firefox starts (but never forcing you to shut down a running browser). Alternatively, if you want to install Firefox using apt, you can do so if you by adding a PPA that provides Firefox as an apt package instead of snap. (As of Ubuntu 22.04, the official Ubuntu Firefox apt package just installs the snap package, so you need a PPA if you want to actually install Firefox as a .deb with apt.)

Here’s how you can remove the Firefox snap package an use either method to install a non-snap version of Firefox:

Remove Firefox Snap

Regardless which method you choose, here’s how to remove the snap:

  1. Backup your bookmarks, extensions, and settings, if you care. For me, this happened automatically because I was signed in to Firefox Sync.
  2. Remove the snap. sudo snap remove --purge firefox (Using --purge will remove the app data, which is probably what you want since the apt package stores its data in a different location.)
  3. You might want to clean up after the snap version a little more – rm -r ~/snap/firefox.

Install Firefox from Self-Contained Zip

Mozilla provides a version of Firefox that can run on most Linux distributions simply by unzipping it. You can use this to install Firefox outside Ubuntu’s package manager (using neither snap nor apt-get). As such, Firefox should be able to update itself like it does on Windows. Detailed instructions for this method can be found in this Firefox help article. You’ll unzip Firefox to /opt, install a symlink in /usr/local/bin, and add a .desktop file for your desktop environment.

Install Firefox with apt

Installing Firefox from apt can also work well – Firefox will continue working and updating like any other apt package. Ubuntu 22.04 removed the .deb from the repositories so you’ll need to add a PPA.

  1. Add the Mozilla Team PPA: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
  2. Install Firefox with apt: sudo apt update && sudo apt install firefox

If you need more detailed instructions for this method, see these OMG! Ubuntu! instructions.

I’ve been running Firefox from a self-contained zip for almost a year now, and I haven’t had any problems with it. It’s been much more stable for me than the snap version (and it doesn’t display annoying warnings telling me I have 13 days left to update). I hope this method works as well for you as it does for me.


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About the Author

Mike Kasberg

👋 Hi, I'm Mike! I'm a husband, I'm a father, and I'm a senior software engineer at Strava. I use Ubuntu Linux daily at work and at home. And I enjoy writing about Linux, open source, programming, tech, and other random topics.