Flatpak is a universal packaging system that facilitates software installation on Linux. It’s stable, forward-compatible, and bundles dependencies with the program itself, so you don’t have to install them separately.
Another advantage of Flatpak is that all Flatpak programs run inside a sandbox for improved system security. However, this also means each Flatpak program needs to request access to different system components.
If you use Flatpak, you’d know that managing these permissions can be tricky. Flatseal is a graphical utility that simplifies this and lets you easily view and modify Flatpak permissions on Linux.
Let’s dive in to see how.
What Is Flatseal?
Flatseal is a GUI-based app with a neat graphical interface that lets you view and manage permissions for all the Flatpak packages installed on your machine. It’s easy to use, and since messing up permissions can have negative consequences, it comes with a reset button to help you reset all permissions to their default state if anything goes wrong.
Everything from as basic as network permissions to permissions for windowing systems, GPU acceleration, shared memory, virtualization, user or system files, and environment variables, Flatseal allows you to manage all sorts of permissions as per your needs.
How to Install Flatseal on Linux
Flatseal works on all those Linux distros that support Flatpak. It’s available as a Flatpak package itself, and you can install it by opening the terminal and running the following command:
flatpak install flathub com.github.tchx84.Flatseal
Alternatively, if you prefer to build it yourself, start by cloning the Flatseal repository onto your device. Open the terminal and use this command to do this:
git clone https:
Now, navigate to the Flatseal directory using the cd command, like this:
Finally, run these commands to build Flatseal:
flatpak build-bundle repo flatseal.flatpak com.github.tchx84.Flatseal
flatpak install flatseal.flatpak
How to Use Flatseal to View and Manage Flatpak Permissions
After you’ve installed Flatseal, open the applications menu, search for Flatseal, and launch it.
When Flatseal launches, you’ll see the main window with two panels. The left panel lets you select Flatpaks, and the one on the right is where you can view and manage the permissions for the selected Flatpak app.
If you’re new to Flatpak and would like to learn more about its permissions, click the hamburger menu icon on the main Flatseal window and select Documentation from the menu options. Use the hyperlinks on the documentation page to find out about them. Hit the X button in the top-right corner to close the documentation page.
1. Viewing Flatpak Package Permissions
To see what permissions a Flatpak package is using, select it from the sidebar on the left, and you would see all its permissions in the window to the right.
If you’ve got a long list of Flatpak packages installed on the computer, rather than scrolling through the list, Flatseal lets you search for a package directly. For this, click the search icon in the top-left corner of the Flatseal window, enter the package name, and Flatseal will show it if it’s available. Click on it to select the package and view its permissions.
When you select a Flatpak package, you’ll see all its details along with the permissions it uses on the right window. You’ll find a few details about the Flatpak package, such as the author, version number, runtime, and the date on which it was last updated.
Below this section, you’ll see a list of all the permissions the Flatpak package uses, classified into different permission categories to make navigating the permissions easier and save you time.
If you want to know more about a Flatpak, there’s also a Show Details button at the top of the Flatseal window. Simply select the package and hit Show Details, and it will open the package in the software manager.
Additionally, you can also uninstall a Flatpak package from here by clicking the Delete button or the trash icon next to it.
2. Modifying Flatpak Package Permissions
Modifying a Flatpak package’s permissions involves toggling on or toggling off the switch next to the system permission you want to allow or deny.
After you select a Flatpak and view its permissions, toggle the switch to turn it on or off. Certain Flatpaks will already have permissions enabled for certain essential system components, so be careful when you change them.
When you enable or disable permissions for a Flatpak package, Flatseal will display an alert icon next to it to inform you that the permission’s been changed.
Similarly, when you modify permissions for certain system components, like Notifications, you’ll see an Unset button next to the toggle to help you unset the permission change and revert it back to its previous state.
Now, although unadvisable—unless you have a few select Flatpak packages and know what you’re doing—Flatseal also lets you modify permissions of all installed Flatpaks on your machine at once.
For this, select All Applications from the left-hand pane, and then toggle the switches next to permissions you want to grant or deny in the right window.
3. Reset Flatpak Package Permissions to Default
At any point, if you feel your permission changes are causing issues or affecting any of your Flatpak’s functionality, you can reset the permissions to restore them to the default values.
To do this, select the package from the sidebar and click the Reset button in the right window. Alternatively, if you wish to do it for all Flatpak packages, choose All Applications instead and hit Reset.
Manage All Flatpak App Permissions in One Place
Managing app permissions on your computer is a handy feature that helps you keep track of the permissions your apps require for proper functioning. Flatseal is possibly the best utility out there to view and manage Flatpak app permissions on Linux. And the best part is since it’s a graphical app, you can do all of this with a few simple clicks.
If you’re new to Flatpak, you’ll probably get overwhelmed by the intricacies of this new packaging system. Getting yourself acquainted with some of the basics will help you feel more comfortable using Flatpak.