Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Disable Zeitgeist and Improve Your Privacy on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 2

Zeitgeist is a service in Ubuntu that logs user’s activities and events, anywhere from files opened to websites visited. This tool is a part of the GNOME desktop environment and is used to organize the activities and provide a sort of ‘timeline’ of what the user does. However, not everyone is comfortable with this level of logging. If you’re among those who prefer to keep your activities private, this article is for you. We’ll discuss how to disable Zeitgeist and thereby improve your privacy on Ubuntu.

Quick Answer

To disable Zeitgeist and improve your privacy on Ubuntu, you can either use the terminal to stop the Zeitgeist daemon, remove the Zeitgeist packages from your system, or deactivate the Zeitgeist services. Each method offers a different level of disabling, allowing you to choose the option that suits your needs.

Understanding Zeitgeist

Before we get into how to disable Zeitgeist, it’s important to understand what it is and why it might be a concern. Zeitgeist is a service that logs the users’ activities on their computer, providing them with a chronological journal of their activities. This includes files opened, websites visited, conversations had, emails sent and received, and more.

While this can be useful for some, it does raise privacy concerns for others. If you’re uncomfortable with this level of logging, you might want to consider disabling Zeitgeist.

Disabling Zeitgeist

There are multiple ways to disable Zeitgeist on Ubuntu. Here are a few methods:

Method 1: Using the Terminal

One of the easiest ways to disable Zeitgeist is through the terminal. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:
zeitgeist-daemon --quit

This command stops the Zeitgeist daemon, effectively disabling it. The --quit parameter instructs the daemon to stop running.

Method 2: Removing Zeitgeist Packages

If you want to completely remove Zeitgeist from your system, you can do so by removing its packages. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Terminal.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:
sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist-core

The remove command in apt-get is used to uninstall a package. In this case, we’re uninstalling the zeitgeist-core package, which is the main package for Zeitgeist.

Method 3: Deactivating Zeitgeist Services

Another way to disable Zeitgeist is by deactivating its services. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Terminal.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:
echo -e '\nHidden=true\n' | sudo tee --append /etc/xdg/autostart/zeitgeist-datahub.desktop

This command appends the line Hidden=true to the file /etc/xdg/autostart/zeitgeist-datahub.desktop, which controls the Zeitgeist data hub service. When Hidden=true is set, the service is not started.


Disabling Zeitgeist can help improve your privacy on Ubuntu. Whether you choose to disable it temporarily, remove its packages, or deactivate its services, you’ll be taking a step towards a more private computing experience. Remember, though, that while these methods will disable Zeitgeist, they won’t remove any logs that have already been created. To do that, you’ll need to manually delete the logs from your system.

Can disabling Zeitgeist affect the functionality of my Ubuntu system?

Disabling Zeitgeist will not affect the core functionality of your Ubuntu system. It primarily disables the logging and activity tracking features provided by Zeitgeist.

Will disabling Zeitgeist delete any logs that have already been created?

Disabling Zeitgeist will stop any further logging of activities, but it will not automatically delete any logs that have already been created. To delete the logs, you will need to manually remove them from your system.

Can I enable Zeitgeist again after disabling it?

Yes, you can enable Zeitgeist again if you decide to. Simply reverse the steps mentioned in the article to re-enable Zeitgeist on your Ubuntu system.

Are there any alternative tools or methods to improve privacy on Ubuntu?

Yes, there are alternative tools and methods to improve privacy on Ubuntu. For example, you can use privacy-focused web browsers, install additional privacy extensions, or configure privacy settings in your applications. It’s always a good idea to explore multiple options and find what works best for you.

Leave a Comment

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