How to Install Etcher on Ubuntu

November 30, 2020

Introduction

Etcher (also known by its full name, balenaEtcher) is a free, open-source image flasher, a utility for creating bootable SD cards or USB flash drives from .img and .iso files. Simple and user-friendly, Etcher is a good choice even for those who are not particularly tech-savvy.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to install Etcher on Ubuntu using the AppImage format or command line interface.

How to install Etcher on Ubuntu


Note: Etcher is an easy way to write a Linux image on an SD card of USB flash.


Prerequisites

  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or newer
  • Access to the command line (for the command line method)
  • Sudo privileges (for the command line method)

Installing Etcher on Ubuntu Using AppImage

Etcher is available for download as an AppImage, a portable software distribution format. AppImage makes it easy to run applications without having to go through a complicated installation process.

The following steps will help you run Etcher from its AppImage.

Step 1: Download AppImage from Balena’s Website

Visit Etcher’s official website and download the AppImage for Linux. Since the 18.04 edition, Ubuntu supports only 64-bit architecture, so choose the x64 version.

Downloading Etcher from balena's website

Step 2: Extract the .zip File

1. Navigate to the location on your drive where you downloaded the .zip file containing AppImage.

2. Right-click the .zip file and select Extract Here.

Unzipping Etcher AppImage file

3. The .zip file extracts to a folder. Navigate to that folder.

Step 3: Assign Execute Permissions to the AppImage File

1. Right-click the file and select Properties.

Going to properties of the AppImage file in File Explorer

2. In Properties, click the Permissions tab.

Locating Permissions tab in AppImage file properties

3. In the Execute section of the Permissions tab, check the Allow executing file as a program check box.

4. Close the Properties dialogue.

Checking the box in the execute section

Step 4: Run Etcher

After you give the AppImage permission to run as an application, all you have to do is double-click the app icon and Etcher will start.

Running Etcher from its AppImage file


Tip: To uninstall Etcher AppImage, simply delete the file you downloaded.


Installing Etcher on Ubuntu Using Apt

You may prefer to install Etcher as any other software and receive automatic future updates. In that case, install the program using the apt package manager.

Step 1: Add Debian Repository for Etcher

Add Etcher’s repository to the list of repositories from which Ubuntu retrieves application files. In the console, type the following command:

echo "deb https://deb.etcher.io stable etcher" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/balena-etcher.list

Ubuntu will confirm the addition of the repository:

Adding Etcher Debian repository

Step 2: Add the repository key to authenticate the package source

Next, use apt-key to add Etcher’s repository key to the trusted list. To do this, type the following:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkps://keyserver.ubuntu.com:443 --recv-keys 379CE192D401AB61

The output should look like this:

Adding Etcher’s repository key to the trusted list

Step 3: Install Etcher

Now you can proceed with installing Etcher using apt.

1. First, update the package list:

sudo apt update

2. Next, install the package:

sudo apt install balena-etcher-electron

3. When prompted, type y and press Enter.

Installing Etcher using Apt

4. Wait for the installation to finish and run Etcher by finding it in the list of your Ubuntu applications. Alternatively, start it by typing balena-etcher-electron in the command line.


Note: If you are one of the many Ubuntu users that are still not sure about the difference between apt and apt-get, read our article APT Vs APT-GET.


Conclusion

This tutorial presented two simple methods to install Etcher, a popular bootable media creator. AppImage will come in handy if you need Etcher for a single use. On the other hand, if you plan to use the application regularly, you may want to perform a full installation via the command line.

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Marko Aleksic
Marko Aleksić is a Technical Writer at phoenixNAP. His innate curiosity regarding all things IT, combined with over a decade long background in writing, teaching and working in IT-related fields, led him to technical writing, where he has an opportunity to employ his skills and make technology less daunting to everyone.
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