How to Install HandBrake on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04 or 20.04

This guide will demonstrate how to install HandBrake on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04 LTS using the command-line terminal with APT or Flatpak and Flathub as an alternative.

HandBrake is a powerful, open-source video transcoder available for Linux users. It provides a wide array of features that make it an essential tool for anyone looking to convert video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. HandBrake stands out for its ability to process most common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection. Its versatility is further enhanced by the range of video editing features it offers, such as video cropping and filtering. Additionally, HandBrake supports batch encoding, which is particularly useful for processing multiple videos in one go. With its user-friendly interface, HandBrake simplifies the complexities of video conversion, making it accessible to users of all experience levels.

Key Features of HandBrake:

  • Transcode Videos Efficiently: Use HandBrake to convert videos from nearly any format to a broad selection of modern, widely supported codecs.
  • Support for Various Formats: HandBrake processes most common multimedia files, ensuring broad compatibility.
  • Convert DVD and BluRay Sources: Utilize HandBrake to transform DVD or BluRay sources that are free of copy protection into digital formats.
  • Enhance Videos with Editing Tools: Apply HandBrake’s editing features to crop and filter your videos for a polished output.
  • Facilitate Batch Encoding: Leverage HandBrake’s capability to encode multiple videos simultaneously, enhancing productivity.
  • Navigate with Ease: Benefit from HandBrake’s user-friendly interface, which is designed for straightforward navigation and use.
  • Quick Setup with Presets: Choose from HandBrake’s customizable presets for fast and efficient video conversion.
  • Tweak with Advanced Options: Explore advanced encoding options to tailor your video conversion process to your needs.

With these capabilities at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to start the installation process of HandBrake on Ubuntu and begin leveraging its powerful video conversion features. Now, let’s dive into the technical steps to install HandBrake on your Ubuntu system.

Install HandBrake on Ubuntu via APT

Update Your Ubuntu System Before HandBrake Installation

The initial step in the installation process involves updating your Ubuntu system. Keeping your system updated ensures that all existing software packages are current, which can help prevent potential conflicts when installing new software. We ensure that our system’s existing software runs the latest version, guaranteeing a smoother installation of HandBrake.

To update your Ubuntu system, you’ll need to use the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Install HandBrake on via APT Command

sudo apt install handbrake

For a new version of HandBrake, consider using Flatpak, which the next section will demonstrate.

Install HandBrake on Ubuntu via Flatpak and Flathub

This section will explore an alternative method of installing HandBrake employing the Flatpak package manager. Flatpak, similar to Snap, is a universal package manager for Linux distributions. It bundles dependencies with applications, making applications more stable and secure as they run in isolated environments. Additionally, it provides access to a vast range of applications that may not be available in your distribution’s default repositories.

Note: If your system is yet to have Flatpak installed, consider referring to our detailed guide on “How to Install Flatpak on Ubuntu” for a step-by-step tutorial on installing the most recent supported version of Flatpak.

Enable Flathub for HandBrake

Before installing HandBrake via Flatpak, enabling the Flathub repository is crucial. Flathub is a primary hub for distributing applications on Flatpak, harboring various applications, HandBrake included.

You’ll employ the following command to add the Flathub repository to your Flatpak configuration. This action ensures broader access to numerous applications:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

Upon executing this command, the Flathub repository becomes integral to your Flatpak configuration, paving the way for installing HandBrake and many other applications.

Install HandBrake via Flatpak Command

With Flathub successfully enabled, you can install HandBrake using the flatpak install command. Execute the following command in your terminal:

flatpak install flathub fr.handbrake.ghb -y

This command fetches and installs HandBrake from the Flathub repository, equipping your system with the latest version of this powerful video transcoder.

Launch HandBrake on Ubuntu via CLI or GUI

Now that HandBrake has been successfully installed using the APT or Flatpak method, it’s time to learn how to launch this powerful video transcoder.

Launching HandBrake from the Terminal

One method to launch HandBrake is directly from your terminal. This can be achieved by using a simple command:


However, the command changes slightly if you have installed HandBrake using Flatpak. Flatpak applications require a unique application ID when launching from the terminal. To launch HandBrake installed via Flatpak, use the following command:

flatpak run fr.handbrake.ghb

While this is certainly an effective way to launch HandBrake, it might not be the most practical, especially if you prefer using a graphical interface over the terminal.

Launching HandBrake from the Desktop Environment

A more user-friendly way to launch HandBrake involves utilizing Ubuntu’s desktop environment. Here is the path to launch HandBrake:

  1. Activities: Locate and click on the Activities button, usually located at the top left corner of your desktop. This will display all running applications and provide access to the application launcher.
  2. Show Applications: Find and click on the ‘Show Applications’ button, often symbolized by a grid of dots. This will reveal a list of all the installed applications on your Ubuntu system.
  3. HandBrake: Scroll through your applications or use the search bar to locate HandBrake. Click on the HandBrake icon to launch the application.
Launching HandBrake using the application icon on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.
Demonstration of launching HandBrake on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.

First-Time Tips with HandBrake on Ubuntu

HandBrake is a highly versatile tool for video transcoding, and understanding how to navigate and utilize its features effectively is crucial. Below, I have provided some tips and tricks to help you start with HandBrake on Ubuntu Linux.

Understanding HandBrake’s Interface

HandBrake’s user interface, although feature-rich, is straightforward and intuitive. However, there are a few elements you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Source Selection: This is where you select the video file or DVD that you want to convert. HandBrake can handle various input formats.
  • Destination: Here, you choose where to save the converted file and what to name it.
  • Presets: HandBrake offers various preconfigured settings for different devices and quality levels. These can be a great starting point.

Customizing Your HandBrake Settings

The beauty of HandBrake lies in its flexibility. You can customize numerous settings according to your specific requirements:

  • Output Settings: HandBrake provides extensive options for customizing your output, including file format (MP4, MKV), video codec, framerate, quality, and more.
  • Audio and Subtitles: HandBrake allows for detailed control over audio and subtitles, including selecting audio tracks, choosing audio codecs, and including or excluding subtitles.
  • Filters: You can apply various filters to your video, such as deinterlacing, denoising, and adding grayscale.

Remember, while customizing your settings, always consider the device or platform on which you’ll play the video.

Essential HandBrake Tips

Here are some additional tips to enhance your HandBrake experience:

  • Batch Conversions: HandBrake supports batch conversions, meaning you can queue up multiple videos for conversion. This is incredibly useful when you have a series of videos to convert.
  • Preview Window: Before you start a long conversion process, use the preview window. This feature lets you see how your video will look with the current settings.
  • Constant Quality versus Average Bitrate: HandBrake provides two primary methods for controlling video quality. Constant Quality aims to maintain a specific quality level throughout the video, while Average Bitrate tries to achieve a specific file size. You need to choose what works best for your specific use case.
  • Presets: Don’t forget about the presets. They are a fantastic way to start if you’re unsure about settings. You can always modify a preset to fit your needs better.

Remember, the best way to get comfortable with HandBrake is to experiment. Try out different settings, explore all the features, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.

User interface of HandBrake upon first load on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.
First look at HandBrake’s UI on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04.

Managing HandBrake on Ubuntu

This guide segment will walk you through crucial aspects of maintaining HandBrake on your Ubuntu Linux system. As an Ubuntu user, knowing how to update and uninstall applications is just as important as knowing how to install them. Both these tasks can be performed with ease using a terminal window.

Update HandBrake

HandBrake, like any other software, receives updates regularly. These updates often provide new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes, enhancing the overall user experience.

APT Update Method for HandBrake Installations

If you installed HandBrake using APT, use the following command to update:

sudo apt update

Flatpak Update Method for HandBrake Installations

For those who used Flatpak for installation, the following command will check for updates:

flatpak update

Uninstall HandBrake

If you no longer need HandBrake, it can be uninstalled from your system. Again, the procedure varies based on the installation method you initially chose.

APT Removal Method for HandBrake Installations

If HandBrake was installed using APT, the following command will remove it from your system:

sudo apt remove handbrake

Flatpak Removal Method for HandBrake Installations

For HandBrake installations performed via Flatpak, use the below command for uninstallation:

flatpak remove  --delete-data fr.handbrake.ghb -y


We’ve walked through the steps to install HandBrake on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, or 20.04 LTS, making your video transcoding tasks a breeze. HandBrake is a go-to tool for converting and editing videos, offering a robust set of features to cater to your multimedia needs. Whether you’re batch processing or tweaking individual files, this software has you covered. Give it a spin, explore its capabilities, and see how it can streamline your video projects. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to experiment with HandBrake’s various features to get the most out of your video editing experience.

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