Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Fix Missing App Icons for Flatpak Installed Apps in Kubuntu

Ubuntu 21

In this guide, we will discuss a common issue faced by Kubuntu users: missing application icons for apps installed via Flatpak. If you’ve ever installed an application using Flatpak only to find that its icon is missing, this article is for you. We’ll go through the steps to fix this issue and ensure your applications appear as they should.

Quick Answer

To fix missing app icons for Flatpak installed apps in Kubuntu, you need to locate the .desktop files for the Flatpak applications and copy them to the system’s applications directory using the cp command with root privileges. Afterward, log out and log back in to refresh the system and load the new application icons.

Understanding the Issue

Flatpak is a universal packaging system for Linux distributions, which allows you to install applications in an isolated environment. Kubuntu, like many other Linux distributions, supports Flatpak. However, a common issue that users encounter is that the icons for Flatpak-installed apps do not appear in the application menu.

Prerequisites

Before we dive into the solution, make sure you have the necessary permissions to execute commands and modify system files. You will need to have sudo access on your system.

Locating the .desktop Files

The first step in resolving this issue is to locate the .desktop files for the Flatpak applications. These files define how an application is launched, how it appears in menus, and its associated icon. For Flatpak apps, these files are typically located in the following directory:

/var/lib/flatpak/app/*application_name*/current/active/files/share/applications

Replace *application_name* with the name of your application. For example, if you’re looking for the .desktop file for the Spotify app, the path would be:

/var/lib/flatpak/app/com.spotify.Client/current/active/files/share/applications

Copying the .desktop Files

Once you’ve located the .desktop file, the next step is to copy it to the system’s applications directory. This can be done using the cp command as follows:

sudo cp /var/lib/flatpak/app/*application_name*/current/active/files/share/applications/*application_name*.desktop /usr/share/applications

This command uses sudo to execute the command with root privileges, cp to copy the file, and then specifies the source file and the destination directory.

Refreshing the System

After copying the .desktop file, you may need to log out and log back in for the changes to take effect. This refreshes the system and loads the new application icons.

Automating the Process

If you frequently install Flatpak apps and encounter this issue often, you might want to automate this process. One way to do this is by creating a script that automatically copies the .desktop files whenever a new Flatpak app is installed. However, this is beyond the scope of this article.

Conclusion

Missing application icons can be a minor yet annoying issue when using Flatpak on Kubuntu. Fortunately, with a bit of command-line magic, it’s relatively straightforward to resolve. By manually copying the .desktop files to the correct location, you can ensure your Flatpak apps appear as they should in the application menu.

Can I use this method to fix missing icons for apps installed through other package managers like Snap or APT?

No, this method is specific to fixing missing icons for apps installed via Flatpak. For apps installed through other package managers like Snap or APT, you may need to follow different steps to resolve the issue.

Will this method work for all Flatpak apps?

Yes, this method should work for all Flatpak apps. The .desktop files are responsible for defining the icon and other properties of the application, so copying them to the correct location should ensure that the icons appear as they should in the application menu.

Do I need to have root access to execute the commands mentioned in the article?

Yes, you need to have sudo access or root privileges to execute the commands mentioned in the article. The commands involve copying files to system directories, which typically require administrative permissions.

Do I need to restart my system after copying the .desktop files?

In most cases, logging out and logging back in should be sufficient to refresh the system and load the new application icons. However, if you still don’t see the icons after logging back in, you may need to restart your system for the changes to take effect.

Can I automate the process of copying .desktop files for all Flatpak apps?

Yes, it is possible to automate the process of copying .desktop files whenever a new Flatpak app is installed. However, it requires creating a script or using other methods to monitor for new installations and perform the copying automatically. This is beyond the scope of this article but can be explored further if needed.

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