System options

Snap supports a set of system-wide options that allow you to customise your snap or Ubuntu Core environment. These are listed below.

See Setting system options for further details on how they they are viewed and configured.


On a Raspberry Pi, the following options set corresponding values in the config.txt system configuration file:

  • pi-config.disable-overscan
  • pi-config.force-turbo
  • pi-config.framebuffer-width
  • pi-config.framebuffer-height
  • pi-config.framebuffer-depth
  • pi-config.framebuffer-ignore_alpha
  • pi-config.overscan-left
  • pi-config.overscan-right
  • pi-config.overscan-top
  • pi-config.overscan-bottom
  • pi-config.overscan-scale
  • pi-config.display-rotate
  • pi-config.hdmi-cvt
  • pi-config.hdmi-group
  • pi-config.hdmi-mode
  • pi-config.hdmi-timings
  • pi-config.hdmi-drive
  • pi-config.avoid-warnings
  • pi-config.gpu-mem-256
  • pi-config.gpu-mem-512
  • pi-config.gpu-mem
  • pi-config.sdtv-aspect
  • pi-config.sdtv-mode
  • pi-config.config-hdmi-boost
  • pi-config.hdmi-force-hotplug
  • pi-config.start-x

Further details on the above, see the official Raspberry Pi documentation.

system journal.persistent

Enables or disables journal persistence. Can be true or false. If persistent journals were previously enabled by this setting, changing the value to false will delete all saved logs.

Example to enable the journal:

snap set system journal.persistent=true

system proxy.{http,https,ftp}

These options may be set to change the proxies to be used by the system when communicating with external sites that speak the respective protocols:

snap set system proxy.http="http://<proxy_addr>:<proxy_port>"
snap set system proxy.https="http://<proxy_addr>:<proxy_port>"

system refresh

There are four system-wide options that are used to manage how updates are handed:

  • refresh.timer: defines the refresh frequency and schedule
  • refresh.hold: delays the next refresh until the defined time and date
  • refresh.metered: pauses refresh updates when network connection is metered
  • refresh.retain: sets how many revisions of a snap are stored on the system

The following example asks the system to only refresh snaps between 4.00am and 7.00am, and 7.00pm and 10:10pm:

snap set system refresh.timer=4:00-7:00,19:00-22:10 

See Controlling updates for further details on how the above options are used.

system homedirs

Allows a snap’s user data to be stored in a user’s home location other under /home.

snap set system homedirs=<destination-directory>

See Home directories outside of ‘/home’ for further details.

Available since snapd 2.59.

system resilience.vitality-hint

This option adjusts the Linux kernel’s out-of-memory (OOM) killer behaviour for specific snap services.

By default, all snap services have the same value for systemd’s OOMScoreAdjust. By passing a list of snaps ordered by decreasing importance to the resilience.vitality-hint system option, the order is respected if snap processes are killed in low memory situations.

The list of snaps need to be as string containing comma separated snap instance names in decreasing order of importance, such as:

snap set system resilience.vitality-hint=snapA,snapB,snapC

In the above example, services inside snapA are the least likely to be killed in out of memory situations, followed by services in snapB, services in snapC, and then the services in all the other snaps not referenced by the vitality-hint option.

:information_source: Snaps added to resilience.vitality-hint are still more likely to be killed than the snap daemon, snapd, itself.

system service.console-conf.disable

May be set to true on devices running Ubuntu Core to disable the console-conf system configuration wizard that is launched by default when booting an initialised Ubuntu Core image.

snap set system service.console-conf.disable=true

This option is defined in the gadget snap and cannot be changed at runtime.

system service.ssh.disable

Can be set to true to disable the SSH service at startup.

snap set system service.ssh.disable=true

system service.ssh.listen-address

Specifies the local address that the SSH daemon should listen on.

Can be a comma separated list of hostnames, IPs or ports. When set, the SSH ListenAddress configuration is configured accordingly.

Port configuration needs to be in the following format: :<port-number>

snap set system service.ssh.listen-address=:8022
snap set system service.ssh.listen-address=myhost
snap set system service.ssh.listen-address=,myhost,foo:8022

Available since snapd 2.59, and only on Ubuntu Core 20 or later.

system snapshots.automatic.retention

Automatic snapshot retention time is configured with the snapshots.automatic.retention system option. The default value is 31 days, and the value needs to be greater than 24 hours:

snap set system snapshots.automatic.retention=30h

To disable automatic snapshots, set the retention time to no:

snap set system snapshots.automatic.retention=no

Disabling automatic snapshots will not affect preexisting, automatically generated snapshots, but only those generated by subsequent snap removals.

Automatic snapshots require snap version 2.39+.

system store.access

When set to offline, prevents the system for initiating connections to the Store.

snap set system store.access=offline

Prevention includes explicit actions, such as installing a snap, and automatic actions, such as periodic refreshes.

Unsetting the parameter restores the default access to the store.

snap unset system store.access

Available since snapd 2.61

system store-certs

A custom SSL certificate can be added to snapd’s trusted certificates pool for the store communication with the store-certs.<name>=<value> system option.

To add a certificate, enter the following:

snap set system store-certs.cert1="$(cat /path/to/mycert)"

A certificate can be removed with unset:

snap unset system store-certs.cert1

system swap.size

Sets the swap size for the base system.

Value can be any integer multiple of a megabyte that is either larger than or equal to 1 MB, or 0 for no swap enabled:

snap set system swap.size=200M

This option is typically defined in the gadget.yaml file when building an Ubuntu Core image:

      size: 200M

system system.disable-backlight-service

May be set to true to disable the backlight service:

snap set core system.disable-backlight-service=true

system system.kernel.cmdline-append

Dynamically add permitted kernel boot parameters to the default kernel command line on devices using the GRUB bootloader and with Ubuntu Core 20/22 or later.

snap set system system.kernel.cmdline-append=”opt1=val1 opt2=val2”

Proposed kernel boot parameters are verified against an allow list in the gadget snap. See gadget.yaml for further details on the list syntax.

This options requires the system or device to be manually restarted. The system will not restart automatically.

Consider using system.kernel.dangerous-cmdline-append instead if:

  • the gadget snap on your device is either the pc-gadget or pi-gadget, as the allow list isn’t defined.
  • you need to add kernel boot parameters without any verification filter.

system system.kernel.dangerous-cmdline-append

Dynamically add any kernel boot parameters to the default kernel command line on devices using the GRUB bootloader with Ubuntu Core 20 or later.

snap set system system.kernel.dangerous-cmdline-append=”opt1=val1 opt2=val2”

This system setting is considered dangerous because any boot parameter is permitted, potentially making devices vulnerable. To add only permitted or filtered options, see system.kernel.cmdline-append above.

This options requires the system or device to be manually restarted. The system will not restart automatically.

system system.kernel.printk.console-loglevel

Override the console log level with a number between 0 and 7.

The configuration will be stored in /etc/sysctl.d/99-snapd.conf and the default value is 4

Example to set the log level to 1:

$ snap set system system.kernel.printk.console-loglevel=1
$ cat /etc/sysctl.d/99-snapd.conf 
kernel.printk = 1 4 1 7


On systems that support Netplan, such as Ubuntu Core 20 and 22, snapd can both query and configure the Netplan key and value notation through its get and set system options commands:

$ snap get -d system
        "": {
                "network": {
                        "ethernets": {
                                "enp0s2": {
                                        "dhcp4": true
                        "version": 2

Netplan key names and properties reflect a device’s specification, capabilities and configuration. The network.ethernets.enp0s2 device listed above, for example, could be eth0 or another network device name. Equally, a device with wireless capabilities would present key value configuration options beneath

For example, the following output is typical of a static network configuration:

        "": {
                "network": {
                        "ethernets": {
                                "enp0s2": {
                                        "addresses": [
                                        "gateway4": "",
                                        "nameservers": {
                                                "addresses": [
                                                "search": []
                        "version": 2

The following snap set command could be used to change the gateway4 address in the above configuration:

snap set system

See Netplan reference for details on the key and value pairs used for network configuration.

Available since snapd 2.55.4

system system.power-key-action

Defines the behaviour of the system when the power key is pressed.

May be set to one of:

  • ignore
  • poweroff
  • reboot
  • halt
  • kexec
  • suspend
  • hibernate
  • hybrid-sleep
  • lock

To set the system power button behaviour to hibernate, for example, enter the following:

snap set system system.power-key-action=hibernate

system system.timezone

May be used to set a time zone value, as typically found in /usr/share/zoneinfo, such as America/Chicago.

snap set system system.timezone="America/Chicago"

To see the current timezone settings, use the snap get -d system:

$ snap get -d system
        "experimental": {
                "hotplug": true,
                "layouts": true
        "refresh": {
                "last": "2017-05-25T09:03:58.664837614+01:00",
                "retain": 2
        "seed": {
                "loaded": true
        "system": {
                "timezone": "America/Chicago"

system tmp.size

Configures the default size for the /tmp mount point on Ubuntu Core devices:

snap set system tmp.size=<size>

Size can given as either bytes, megabytes or gigabytes: <bytes>, <bytes/2^20>M, or <bytes/2^30>G.

To set the /tmp mount point to a size of 2GB, for example, run the following command:

snap set system tmp.size=2G

Use snap get to retrieve the current size:

snap get system tmp.size

To set to /tmp to the default size, remove any custom setting:

snap unset system tmp.size

By default, /tmp is set to use 50% of physical RAM.

system users.create.automatic

When true, permits the system to create users automatically from a valid system-user assertion, such as an assertion stored on external storage (see System user for more details). When false, users can only created manually with create user API calls:

snap set system users.create.automatic=false

Default is true.

system users.lockout

When set to True, Ubuntu Core user accounts will be locked for 900 seconds after 3 wrong passwords.

Can be either True or False.

system watchdog.runtime-timeout

Configures the system’s hardware watchdog runtime timeout.

The watchdog runtime timeout is an interval during which the system manager must contact the hardware watchdog to prevent a device from being automatically rebooted. Usage of this feature requires corresponding hardware support as the watchdog hardware, /dev/watchdog or the kernel option systemd.watchdog-device=, will be programmed to automatically reboot the system when not contacted within the specified timeout interval.

A valid value is a non-negative time duration in seconds, or suffixed with ms, min, h, d, w for milliseconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks respectively.

The following example will set the timeout to 1 minute:

snap set system watchdog.runtime-timeout=1m

:information_source: Raspberry Pi timer limitations

The Raspberry Pi hardware watchdog timer is limited to a maximum timeout of 15 seconds.

system watchdog.shutdown-timeout

Configures the system’s hardware watchdog shutdown timeout.

The watchdog shutdown timeout is an interval to permit a clean reboot of the system. If the system fails to reboot within this interval, the watchdog will forcibly restart the system to protect against failed or hanging reboots. Usage of this feature requires hardware support.

Note that the shutdown-timeout applies only to the second phase of a reboot, after all regular services are terminated and the system and service manager process has been replaced by the systemd-shutdown binary.

As with the watchdog runtime timeout, a valid value is a non-negative time duration in seconds, or suffixed with ms, min, h, d, w for milliseconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks respectively.

The following example will set the timeout to 500 seconds:

snap set system watchdog.shutdown-timeout=500

Last updated a day ago.