Shuttleworth announced on 21 October 2015 that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS would be called Xenial Xerus. It was released on 21 April 2016.
The default desktop environment continues to be Unity 7, with an option for Unity 8. In May 2015, Shuttleworth indicated that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS would include Unity 8 and Mir, but that users have a choice of that or Unity 7 and X.org. He said, "Unity 8 will be an option for 16.04 and we'll let the community decide the default for 16.04."
The release adds support for Ceph and ZFS filesystems, the LXD hypervisor (using seccomp) for OpenStack, and Snap packages will be supported. It will use systemd instead of Upstart as its init system. This release will replace the Ubuntu Software Center with GNOME Software and eliminate Empathy and Brasero from the ISO file. Reviewer Jack Wallen said, "The truth of the matter is, the Ubuntu Software Center has been a horrible tool for a very long time. Making this move will greatly improve the Ubuntu experience for every user."
This release has online Dash search results disabled by default in Unity 7. "None of your search terms will leave your computer", stated Ubuntu desktop manager Will Cooke. Reviewer Jack Wallen said about this, "I've never considered the inclusion of online search results to be spyware. In fact, I have always considered the online results to be an efficient means of searching for products through Amazon (etc.). That being said, with the release of 16.04, this feature is disabled."
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS does not support the AMD Catalyst (fglrx) driver for AMD/ATI graphics cards and instead recommends the radeon and AMDGPU alternatives. These may not provide optimal graphics performance, however. AMDGPU-PRO is available for Ubuntu 16.04.
The first point release, 16.04.1, was released on 21 July 2016. Release of Ubuntu 16.04.2 was delayed a number of times, but it was eventually released on 17 February 2017. Ubuntu 16.04.3 was released on 3 August 2017. Ubuntu 16.04.4 was delayed from 15 February 2018 and released on 1 March 2018, providing the latest Linux kernel, 4.13, from Ubuntu 17.10. Ubuntu 16.04.5 was released on 2 August 2018, and Ubuntu 16.04.6 was released on 28 February 2019. Ubuntu 16.04.7 was released on 13 August 2020.
In September, 2021, Canonical announced that it would extend LTS support for the 14.04 and 16.04 to a total of 10 years, extending the support date for 16.04 until April 2026.