How to integrate Netplan with desktop

NetworkManager YAML settings back end

NetworkManager is the tool used by Ubuntu Desktop systems to manage network devices such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi adapters. While it is a great tool for the job and users can directly use it through the command line and the graphical interfaces to configure their devices, Ubuntu has its own way of describing and storing network configuration via Netplan.

On Ubuntu 23.10 “Mantic Minotaur” and later, NetworkManager uses Netplan APIs to save the configuration created using any of its graphical or programmatic interfaces. This leads to having a centralised location to store network configuration. On the Desktop, it’s convenient to use graphical tools for configuration when they are available, so nothing changes from the user perspective; only the way the system handles the configuration in the background.

For more information on Netplan, see

For more information on NetworkManager, see

How it works

Every time a non-temporary connection is created in NetworkManager, instead of persisting the original .nmconnection file, it creates a Netplan YAML file in /etc/netplan/ called 90-NM-<connection UUID>.yaml. After creating the file, NetworkManager calls the Netplan generator to provide the configuration for that connection. Connections that are temporary, like the ones created for virtual network interfaces when you connect to a VPN for example, are not persisted as Netplan files. The reason for that is that these interfaces are usually managed by external services and we don’t want to cause any unexpected change that would affect them.

How to use

Installing NetworkManager

The NetworkManager 1.44.2 package containing the Netplan integration patch is available by default in Ubuntu 23.10 “Mantic Minotaur” and later as part of the official Ubuntu archive.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install network-manager

User interface

From this point on, Netplan is aware of all your network configuration and you can query it using its CLI tools, such as sudo netplan get or sudo netplan status. All while keeping untouched the traditional way of modifying it using NetworkManager (graphical UI, GNOME Quick Settings, nmcli, nmtui, D-Bus APIs, …).

Management of connection profiles

The NetworkManager-Netplan integration imports connection profiles from /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/ to Netplan during the installation process. It automatically creates a copy of all your connection profiles during the installation of the new network-manager package in /root/NetworkManager.bak/system-connections/. The same migration happens in the background whenever you add or modify any connection profile.

You can observe this migration on the apt-get command line. Watch for logs like the following:

Setting up network-manager (1.44.2-1ubuntu1.2) ...
Migrating HomeNet (9d087126-ae71-4992-9e0a-18c5ea92a4ed) to /etc/netplan
Migrating eduroam (37d643bb-d81d-4186-9402-7b47632c59b1) to /etc/netplan
Migrating DebConf (f862be9c-fb06-4c0f-862f-c8e210ca4941) to /etc/netplan

For example, if you have a Wi-Fi connection, you will not find the connection profile file at /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/ anymore. Instead, the system removes the profile file, and Netplan creates a new YAML file called 90-NM-<connection UUID>.yaml in /etc/netplan/ and generates a new ephemeral profile in /run/NetworkManager/system-connections/.


Netplan doesn’t yet support all the configuration options available in NetworkManager (or doesn’t know how to interpret some of the keywords found in the key file). After creating a new connection you might find a section called passthrough in your YAML file, like in the example below:

  version: 2
      renderer: NetworkManager
        name: "enp1s0"
      dhcp4: true
      wakeonlan: true
        uuid: "0f7a33ac-512e-4c03-b088-4db00fe3292e"
        name: "Ethernet connection 1"
          ethernet._: ""
          ipv4.ignore-auto-dns: "true"
          ipv6.addr-gen-mode: "default"
          ipv6.method: "disabled"
          ipv6.ip6-privacy: "-1"
          proxy._: ""

All the configuration under the passthrough mapping is added to the .nmconnection file as they are.

In cases where the connection type is not supported by Netplan, the system uses the nm-devices network type. The example below is an OpenVPN client connection, which is not supported by Netplan at the moment.

  version: 2
      renderer: NetworkManager
        uuid: "db5f0f67-1f4c-4d59-8ab8-3d278389cf87"
        name: "myvpnconnection"
          connection.type: "vpn"
 "path to ca.crt"
          vpn.cert: "path to client.crt"
          vpn.cipher: "AES-256-GCM"
          vpn.connection-type: "tls"
          vpn.key: "path to client.key"
          vpn.remote: ""
          vpn.service-type: "org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.openvpn"
          ipv4.method: "auto"
          ipv6.addr-gen-mode: "default"
          ipv6.method: "auto"
          proxy._: ""