What Is a DEB File?

How to open, edit, & convert DEB files

A file with the DEB file extension is a Debian Software Package file. They're used mainly in Unix-based operating systems, including Ubuntu and iOS.

Every DEB file consists of two TAR archives that make up the executable files, documentation, and libraries. It may or may not be compressed using GZIP, BZIP2, LZMA, or XZ.

Similar to DEB files are micro deb files (.UDEB) that include some but not all of the same information as a regular DEB file.

Screenshot of several empty DEB files on Ubuntu
DEB Files (Ubuntu).

How to Open a DEB File

Open DEB files with any popular compression/decompression program, the free 7-Zip tool being one example. Any of these types of programs will decompress (extract) the contents of a DEB file and some create DEB compressed files.

While some of these file zip/unzip tools will work on Linux machines, too, they don't actually install the package like you'd expect them to—they just extract the contents of the archive.

To install DEB files, use the free gdebi tool, which supports right-clicking the .DEB file and opening it from the context menu.

While not as easy as using gdebi, you can also install DEB files with dpkg using this command, substituting /path/to/file.deb with the path to your own .DEB file:

dpkg -i /path/to/file.deb

Several DEB files can be installed using:

dpkg -i -R /path/to/folder/with/deb/files/

Uninstall DEB files using this command:

apt-get remove /path/to/file.deb

How to Convert a DEB File

A free file converter like FileZigZag can convert a DEB file to file formats like TGZ, BZ2, BZIP2, 7Z, GZIP, TAR, TBZ, ZIP, and others.

Convert the DEB file to RPM using this alien command:

apt-get update
apt-get install alien
alien -r file.deb

You can find lots of tutorials online for converting a DEB file to an IPA file, like this one at JailbreakErra. Another shows how to install the home theater software Kodi on iOS, but you can tweak the tutorial for installing a custom DEB file on an iPhone or another iOS device.

Install a DEB file on a jailbroken iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using iFunbox.

Still Can't Open the File?

If you can't get your file to open, you might be confusing another file format for one that uses the DEB file extension. When this happens, the DEB openers above won't be able to open your file.

For example, a DEM file might look related to a DEB file because their file extensions are similar, but those are most likely either Video Game Demo files or Digital Elevation Model files.

EDB is similar, but instead of having anything to do with Debian Software Package file, that file extension is reserved for database files, such as Exchange Information Store and Windows Search Index database files, both used by Microsoft Windows software.