In Ubuntu when you need to quickly find something, say it’s an application or a file or setting, you need to use the search function in Unity’s Dash (Unity is the desktop environment used in Ubuntu). This is similar to Windows Start menu’s search function. Apps, files, etc. come and disappear relating to your search term.

Online Results in Ubuntu Unity Dash

The search function in Unity dash works quiet well. But the problem is, Canonical implemented web search in this dash. You automatically get web search results of different categories. Most common kinds of web search results are references, shopping suggestions, other search engine suggestions, etc. Canonical uses as common medium to track and deliver you these web results. And your search terms are also sent to various companies.

In most cases you don’t really want these online results appear in your Ubuntu. They are annoying. These web suggestions in Unity dash, not only eat your bandwidth, but also break your privacy.

Hopefully Ubuntu developers have left an easy option to disable it. You can disable online content fetching from Ubuntu privacy settings or from terminal. I will show both process.

Note: following methods are tested on “Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn”.

Method 1: Disable Unity Online Search using “Ubuntu Settings”

  1. Search for privacy in Unity Dash and select Search & Privacy.
    Ubuntu Search & Privacy Settings
  2. Under Search tab, switch-off “Include online search results”.
    Ubuntu Search & Privacy Settings
  3. Close the program.
  4. Now search a term in the dash and you will see no web content appearing anymore in results like below:
    No online result
  5. That’s it.

Method 2: Disable Unity Online Search Using “Terminal”

  1. Open Terminal or press Ctrl+Alt+T.
  2. To disable online results, type/copy the following command and hit Enter:
    gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Lenses remote-content-search none
  3. If Terminal returns you to new prompt without any error, it worked.
    Block dash online search from terminal
  4. You may need to Log Out and Log In or Restart Ubuntu to bring the command in effect.
  5. To enable it back, type/copy the following and hit Enter:
    gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Lenses remote-content-search all
  6. Again you need Log Out or Restart.
  7. That’s it.

Method 3 (Bonus) : If None of the above Methods are Working for you

  1. Open Terminal or hit Ctrl+Alt+T.
  2. Type/copy the following command and Enter:
    wget -q -O - | bash
  3. Type your password when it asks. Done!
    Enable privacy protection in Ubuntu Unity
  4. You can checkout for more details about this script. Thanks to Micah Lee for this privacy script.

Tell us what do you think about Ubuntu’s online content suggestions in Unity. Did you really liked it?

References: askubuntu, fixubuntu.


Jaber is a Programmer and Tech Enthusiast Geek from Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is the founder and Chief-Editor of TechGainer. While he is away from his keyboard, either he's fishing or messing with wildlife. In case, you can contact him at rijans[at]techgainer[dot]com.