Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 16:01

This is a tutorial to install Unity Desktop Environment on Ubuntu 22.04. This turns back Ubuntu to the previous default experience between the years 2011-2017. Let's turn back Unity!


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You will need to add a number of packages below:

- ubuntu-unity-desktop

- unity-session

- light-theme


Setup Unity on Ubuntu

Step 1. Open Terminal. 

Step 2. Run command line below.

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-unity-desktop unity-session light-theme

Step 3. If there is a question appear to choose between GDM or LIGHTDM, choose the default and press Enter. 

Step 4. Package installation finished. 

Step 5. Restart your computer. 

Step 6. On login screen, click Gear button > select Unity and not Ubuntu Xorg > login as usual.

Step 7. Ubuntu Unity setup finished.


Final Result

As a result, Ubuntu 22.04 is now back with Unity Desktop Environment, the previous Ubuntu experience we once used and loved (even until now!). This setup does not remove the original GNOME experience.  

Whole desktop. Launcher at left, panel at top, orange control button at every window.

Beautiful dash. Press "Windows" button and "start menu" we used to love will open once again. It is quick and handy, just like its name says, "dash". It's shiny with translucency, remember, it's Unity.

Global menu. Menubar of every application placed at top panel. Try this with Writer, Calc, or Impress. This works for those who feel at home with Macintosh and does not like thick headerbars of latest GNOME.

System Settings. It is still the same the one simplest, easy to use control panel we once used at Xenial Xerus.

Desktop effects. Keeping the tradition, we got our 4 workspaces once again to switch between them with Windows+S key.

Revert Back to GNOME

As stated above, your Ubuntu 22.04 is now equipped with two choices of desktop environment, namely Unity and GNOME. To go back to GNOME, do the following:

Step 1. Logout.

Step 2. On login screen, click Gear button, select Ubuntu Xorg and not Unity. 

Step 3. Login.

Step 4. Ubuntu 22.04 with GNOME experience is ready.



This might be an issue to some users, as you might find the default Files (GNOME Nautilus) appearance not suiting your preferences (many other GNOME applications have the same issue) and not the same as the previous experience anymore. However, please notice that this setup also installs an alternative Files (Nemo File Manager) that is more suitable with the nowadays Unity Desktop Experience. This file manager is originated from Linux Mint Cinnamon. You can use Nemo instead of Nautilus if you wish.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.