Pop!_OS 20.04 – New features and how to upgrade

System76, the maker of premium Linux laptops and desktops, has released a new version of their flagship Pop!_OS, a Ubuntu-based Linux distro. Pop!_OS 20.04 release launches a new Pop!_Shell auto tiling feature, new shortcuts for its Workspaces, and Flatpak support via Flathub repository.

Pop!_OS Desktop
Pop!_OS 20.04 Beta Desktop

Recently, we covered System76’s new high-end laptop, Lemur Pro, which stands out amongst their wide selection of Linux machines because of its long-lasting battery life of more than 14 hours and lightweight design. Pop!_OS is their flagship Linux distro that is aimed at professionals, including software developers, data scientists, machine learning engineers, and automation experts.

What’s New in Pop!_OS 20.04

Pop!_OS is designed to be a distraction-free, highly functional OS for professional, educational, and scientific endeavors.

Get More Out Of Your Screen Real Estate with Pop!_OS

With its highly effective workspaces, advanced window management, ample keyboard shortcuts, out-of-the-box disk encryption, and myriad pre-installed apps. It would be an excellent pick for anyone hoping to use their time and effort effectively.

Automatic Window Tiling Spurs Productivity

The most notable feature in this Beta release is the Pop Shell’s new automatic tiling option. You can toggle the option from the menu at the top right corner of the screen, and any new windows that you open will automatically be organized as tiles next to each other with a customizable gap between them. Several new keyboard shortcuts are available to switch between the windows, resize and rearrange them as per your needs.

Before this Beta release, Pop!OS already included a Window Snapping feature that arranges two windows side by side. The new auto tiling takes it a step further by allowing you to snap several windows into a tiled layout, so you can quickly navigate between them and avoid frequently switching between windows and losing track of your workflow.

Pop!_OS Auto Tiling feature
Pop!_OS Auto Tiling

You may argue that given the moderate display size of most laptops and desktops, the Auto Tiling may end up being detrimental to your focus and efficacy. We have tested the feature and found it to be handy in some scenarios where you need to gather information from several windows and find yourself continually swapping windows.

Auto Tiling Menu
Auto Tiling Menu in Pop!_OS 20.04 Beta

You can quickly turn off the feature in case you need to focus on a single window by toggling the ‘Tile Windows’ option, which reverts the windows to floating mode. When the ‘Show Active Hint’ toggle is on, the current window is highlighted. In case you forget the keyboard shortcuts, use the ‘View All’ under the ‘shortcuts’ menu item, as shown in the screenshot above.

Since it is still in the Beta stage, there are several bugs in auto tiling. Several times, the windows do not tile up perfectly when you toggle the option off and back on.

New Application Launcher & Keyboard Shortcuts

Pop!_OS Application Switcher and Launcher
Pop!_OS Application Switcher and Launcher

  • Use Super + / to activate the new application switcher and launcher
  • Simply user Super + / and start typing the name of the application you want to switch to or launch

Using Workspaces in Pop!_OS is now made easier by a host of new keyboard shortcuts, which you can quickly refer to from the Tile Menu.

Pop!_shell Keyboard shortcuts
Pop!_shell Keyboard shortcuts

Flatpak support with the Flathub

Pop!_Shop, the app store on Pop!_OS, now includes Flatpak application support and the Flathub app repository by default. Flatpak is a new technology for building and distributing desktop applications on Linux. It makes it easy for app developers to create only one app that will work on all Linux distros, and distribute it via Flathub, a universal app store for Linux users.

Pop!_OS Flathub repo
Pop!_OS Flathub repo

You can now pick out and install from a wide variety of popular apps by simply searching for them in Pop!_Shop.

You may want to check our in-depth review of the Pop!_OS.

Getting Pop_OS! 20.04

You can download the Pop!_OS 20.04 ISO from the below link and test it out. Being a Beta version, we don’t recommend it on your production machines.

Download Pop!_OS 20.04 for Intel/AMD

Download Pop!_OS 20.04 for Nvidia

Upgrading for your current Pop!_OS

Now that the stable version of Pop!_OS 20.04 is available via, its users can simply upgrade from 18.04 and 19.10 to 20.04 using the following command:

sudo pop-upgrade release upgrade systemd -f

Those on 19.04, first need to update 19.10 to get to 20.04. Use the commands one at a time, followed by pressing the enter key.

sudo pop-upgrade release upgrade systemd
sudo pop-upgrade release upgrade systemd -f


The new version is worth trying for its helpful Auto Tile feature and workspaces support. Besides, having Flatpak support is a welcome update that helps users to be able to widen the choice of apps they use on their Pop!_OS. Did you try out this Pop!_OS? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *