How can I be informed when a new version of a specific package is available for install? Is there a way to have apt-get skip a specific version, but install when the next one is available?

I am running Raspbian on a Raspberry Pi 3, and have determined that the current version of a particular package breaks my set up. I reverted to a backed up image and then used apt-mark hold to prevent that package from being updated as I continue to apt-get update and apt-get upgrade to maintain all other packages on the device.

I see that apt-cache show gives me specific version information about the package that I put on hold, but I can't tell if it is giving me information on the version that is already installed or the version that is available to be installed, but not yet installed. How can I see what version is installed and what is available to be installed?

Aside from getting this information, ideally, is there a way for apt-mark to only hold a specific version, but allow the next one to go? (I'm assuming that my issue will be resolved in the next version.)

Note, I have specifically not mentioned what package I'm having a problem with because I'm not trying (in this question) to troubleshoot that specific issue, but rather learn tools to manage similar issues in the future.

2 Answers 2


You could do so using package pinning. Create a file in /etc/apt/preferences.d:

Package: package-name
Pin: version 1:
Pin-Priority: 450

This will set the priority of a particular package version below 500 (which AFAIK is the default value), so that this particular version will not be installed unless no other version is available. A future version will have the default priority and should be picked up during updates.

As you have already found out, apt-cache policy package-name will tell you which package versions are available. It will also display the priorities you have set by pinning.


I've found apt-cache policy [package name] to give me the version number of the currently installed version and the version number of the version available to install.

Not a complete answer to my question, but a simple, convenient way to get the information I was looking for.

  • Please accept your own answer with a click on the tick on its left side. Only this will finish the question and it will not pop up again year for year.
    – Ingo
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 9:37

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