Installing Python packages


Some Python packages can be found in the Raspberry Pi OS archives and can be installed using apt. For example:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3-picamera

This is the preferred method of installing software, as it means that the modules you install can be kept up to date easily with the usual sudo apt update and sudo apt full-upgrade commands.

Python packages in Raspberry Pi OS which are compatible with Python 2.x will always have a python- prefix. So, the picamera package for Python 2.x is named python-picamera (as shown in the example above). Python 3 packages always have a python3- prefix. So, to install picamera for Python 3 you would use:

sudo apt install python3-picamera

Uninstalling packages installed via APT can be accomplished as follows:

sudo apt remove python3-picamera

They can be completely removed with purge:

sudo apt purge python3-picamera


Not all Python packages are available in the Raspberry Pi OS archives, and those that are can sometimes be out-of-date. If you can't find a suitable version in the Raspberry Pi OS archives, you can install packages from the Python Package Index (PyPI). To do so, use the pip tool.

pip is installed by default in Raspberry Pi OS Desktop images (but not Raspberry Pi OS Lite). You can install it with apt:

sudo apt install python3-pip

To get the Python 2 version:

sudo apt install python-pip

pip3 installs modules for Python 3, and pip installs modules for Python 2.

For example, the following command installs the Unicorn HAT library for Python 3:

sudo pip3 install unicornhat

The following command installs the Unicorn HAT library for Python 2:

sudo pip install unicornhat

Uninstall Python modules with sudo pip3 uninstall or sudo pip uninstall.

Upload your own Python modules to pip with the guide at PyPI.


The official Python Package Index (PyPI) hosts files uploaded by package maintainers. Some packages require compilation (compiling C/C++ or similar code) in order to install them, which can be a time-consuming task, particlarly on the single-core Raspberry Pi 1 or Pi Zero.

piwheels is a service providing pre-compiled packages (called Python wheels) ready for use on the Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi OS is pre-configured to use piwheels for pip. Read more about the piwheels project at