Updating and Upgrading Raspbian

To update software in Raspbian, you'll need to use the apt tool in a terminal window. Open the terminal from the taskbar or application menu:

Terminal

First, update your system's package list by entering the following command:

sudo apt-get update

Next, upgrade all your installed packages to their latest versions with the command:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Generally speaking, doing this regularly will keep your installation up to date, in that it will be equivalent to the latest released image available from raspberrypi.org/downloads.

However, there are occasional changes made in the Foundation's Raspbian image that require manual intervention, for example a newly introduced package. These are not installed with an upgrade, as this command only updates the packages you already have installed.

Updating the kernel and firmware

The kernel and firmware are installed as a Debian package, and so will also get updates when using the procedure above. These packages are updated infrequently and after extensive testing.

Running out of space

When running sudo apt-get dist-upgrade, it will show how much data will be downloaded and how much space it will take up on the SD card. It's worth checking with df -h that you have enough free disk space, as unfortunately apt will not do this for you. Also be aware that downloaded package files (.deb files) are kept in /var/cache/apt/archives. You can remove these in order to free up space with sudo apt-get clean.

Upgrading from Jessie to Stretch

Upgrading an existing Jessie image is possible, but is not guaranteed to work in every circumstance. If you wish to try upgrading a Jessie image to Stretch, we strongly recommend making a backup first — we can accept no responsibility for loss of data from a failed update.

To upgrade, first modify the files /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list. In both files, change every occurrence of the word jessie to stretch. (Both files will require sudo to edit.)

Then open a terminal window and execute:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade

Answer 'yes' to any prompts. There may also be a point at which the install pauses while a page of information is shown on the screen – hold the space key to scroll through all of this and then press q to continue.

Finally, if you are not using PulseAudio for anything other than Bluetooth audio, remove it from the image by entering:

sudo apt-get -y purge "pulseaudio*"

If moving to a new Pi model (for example the Pi 3B+), you may also need to update the kernel and the firmware using the instructions above.