Unity Versions

Last modified by Maarten Struijk Wilbrink on 2022/01/18 15:23

Choosing and using Unity versions

Unity comes in 3 basic versions:

  1. Alpha / Beta 
  2. Tech stream
  3. Long term support (LTS)

All of these versions can be downloaded through the Unity Hub

As a rule of thumb: it is best to develop your project on the latest available LTS version. LTS is by far the most stable version, and will provide you with the best developmental experience, with fewest bugs. The stability is maintained because no new features will be added to the LTS stream, only bugfixes and updates. LTS versions will be supported for two years. 

Only if your project is dependent on a feature that is only introduced in the Tech Stream should you use this instead of the LTS. Be mindful that API changes and bugs are common in Tech Stream versions. Only choose this option if you absolutely require features not present in the latest LTS. 

Currently, Unity 2020 is in LTS. It is recommended to use this version. 

Caution when updating

Updating to a later version of Unity is relatively easy, but should always be done with excellent Version Control and manual backups. 

Level of Risk with updating

  1. Updating within the same ‘family’ of Unity versions can almost always be done without issues.
    — E.g. updating from Unity 2020.2.15 to Unity 2020.2.21 should be relatively safe, and is recommended to do on a semi-regular basis. 
  2. Updating between more distant versions of Unity should be done with more caution.
    - E.g. updating from 2021.1.19 to Unity 2021.2.1 can introduce larger changes to the API, which may result in compilation errors and performance changes. 
  3. Updating between ‘year-versions’ can be fraught with issues.
    - E.g. updating from Unity 2019.4.34 to Unity 2021.1.10 will probably result in a lot of issues which need to be solved. This may take a lot of time to so, and you should only do this if there are serious issues with the earlier version of Unity which impact your project in unsolvable ways. 

Downgrading your Unity version to an earlier version can be done as well (see below on how to obtain previous versions of Unity). This is possibly the most troublesome of ‘updates’ to be done. Proceed with caution!

Downloading new versions through Unity Hub

A new version of Unity can be downloaded through the Unity Hub. After download has completed, you can choose the version of Unity on a project by project basis in the Project view of the Unity Hub. 

Downloading Archive versions

Specific versions of Unity can be got through the Archive. This can be very useful in case you need to download a version of Unity which is not the very latest in either the Tech Stream or the LTS Stream. 

One usecase for this would be if you obtain a full Unity Project (not just the final Build of the project) from another developer (or from past you!), and you need to make changes to the project. If there’s no need to upgrade to a different Unity version, it’s recommended to download the exact version that was (last) used in development.

Archive versions of Unity can always be added to the Unity Hub, and you can update your Project’s version using the method described above. 

Versions for multiple devices / developers

Make sure that the exact same version of Unity is used by all developers, and all devices on which the project is opened and edited. This does not apply to machines which exclusively run a ‘Build’ version of your project.

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