Pop!_OS 21.10 is Here, Jumps Ahead to GNOME 40

The most important feature of this release is the new Application Library.

For those of you unaware, Pop!_OS was born when Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, abandoned the Unity desktop. The distro is developed by System76, a US computer manufacturer of Linux-based laptops, desktops and servers.

Pop!_OS 21.10 is the latest version of the System76’s popular open-source desktop operating system that features some improvements and other mostly desktop alterations.

Pop!_OS 21.10 Highlights

Pop!_OS 21.10 Cosmic Desktop

The most important feature of this release is the new Application Library, which is as an alternative to GNOME’s Application Wall. The app now provides a cleaner and more organized experience. The alphabetical organization of applications and folders makes it easier to scan, while the Search function quickly filters both your installed applications as well as applications available to install from the Pop!_Shop.

In addition to, you can also create, edit, and delete custom folders and drag and drop applications into them. The new folders are always visible and act like tabs, so you can move between your personally organized apps. On top of that, for a better multi-monitor experience, the Application Labrary will launch on the display that contains your mouse focus.

Application Library

Under the hood Pop!_OS 21.10 features a Linux kernel 5.15 and latest NVIDIA driver. It’s important to note that the devs behind Pop!_OS changed how they deal with Linux kernel updates. In short, the latest kernels will be released only after they’ve passed extensive quality assurance tests.

We can’t fail to mention the new feature that Pop!_OS 21.10 provides called Refresh OS. What it does, you might ask? So, your system will now recognize when Pop!_OS is installed from the recovery partition and offer the Refresh OS option prior to unlocking an encrypted drive.

In other words, the Refresh Install option allows you to reinstall the OS without losing user account information and data in the home directory.

Outside of these changes, Pop!_OS 21.10 inherits all of the core foundational features found in the previous Pop!_OS 21.04 release.

Last but not least, an ARM build for Pop OS 21.10 is now available for Raspberry Pi 4 family of devices. For now it’s a tech preview, so consider it as not stable.

For more information about all changes in Pop!_OS 21.10, you can refer to the official announcement.


Of course Pop!_OS is not exclusive only to System76’s computers. You can download Pop!_OS 21.10 directly from the System76 website.

It’s available in two different ISOs variants – one for NVIDIA, and the other for Intel hardware. So if you have or plan to have an NVIDIA GPU in your system, you should select the NVIDIA version.

How to Upgrade From Previous Pop!_OS Version

If you already had Pop!_OS 21.04 installed, you can kick off upgrade via the below commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

At this point you’ll be prompted to enter your password. Once the process is finished, run the following command to complete the upgrade process:

pop-upgrade release upgrade
Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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