How to update Raspberry Pi Raspbian operating system software

You don’t need to bring your own Raspberry Pi to our tutorial workshops, but if you do, you’ll need to make sure your Raspberry Pi’s Raspbian software is up-to-date.

Your Raspberry Pi will need to be connected to the internet to do this. You will need Raspbian Stretch – which you should have if your Raspberry Pi’s software is no older than August 2017. If you bought your Pi after summer 2017, then you’re probably good to continue.

If your software is from before August 2017 (known as Raspbian Jessie or Wheezy) then unfortunately it is not possible to upgrade (without a lot of fuss); you will need to download a fresh image of Raspbian and burn it to an SD card. Find out more here. Alternatively you can buy or borrow an up-to-date SD card at one of our events.

(Worried about messing it up? Learn how to back up your SD card.)

Ready? Let’s go.

  1. Start your Raspberry Pi and wait for the desktop to appear
  2. Hold down the CTRL and ALT keys on your keyboard, then press the T key. You can now release the CTRL and ALT keys.
  3. A black window should appear. This is called the Terminal.
  4. Type:
    sudo apt update
    …and press the ENTER key. It will download a list of available updates.
  5. When that’s finished, type:
    sudo apt -y upgrade
    …and press the ENTER key.
  6. This might take a long time, depending on how long ago you last updated and how fast your internet connection is. It will download the update files and install them. This could be anything from thirty seconds to maybe an hour.
  7. When the update has finished, close the Terminal window and then restart your Raspberry Pi. On the PIXEL desktop you can do this with the Raspberry menu – Shutdown – Reboot.

There may still be some extra files you need for each specific tutorial; our lovely volunteer staff should have these files available on a USB memory stick at our events – just ask.

If you’re bringing your own Raspberry Pi to a tutorial, please turn up at least ten minutes early to plug in your computer.

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Posted in Tutorials