An easier way to update the firmware of your Raspberry Pi


An easier way to get the latest firmware for your Raspberry Pi.


This is only intended for use with Raspbian. If you are using a different distribution then check with the maintainers if using rpi-update is safe.

If the distribution ships a custom kernel, then it almost certainly is not safe. Also differences in the usage of /boot and /opt/vc directories will likely make it unsafe.

Even on Raspbian you should only use this with a good reason.

This gets you the latest bleeding edge kernel/firmware. There is always the possibility of regressions.

Bug fixes and improvements will eventually make their way into new Raspbian releases and apt-get when they are considered sufficiently well tested.

A good reason for using this would be if you like to help with the testing effort, and are happy to risk breakages and submit bug reports. These testers are welcome.

Also if you are suffering from a bug in current firmware (perhaps as one of the reporters of the bug on github or forum) and a fix has been pushed out for testing, then using rpi-update is the right way to get the fix until it makes its way into new Raspbian images and apt-get.

Backing up before updating is always advisable.


Installing under Raspbian

To install the tool, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install rpi-update

Installing under other OSes

To install the tool, run the following command:

sudo curl -L --output /usr/bin/rpi-update && sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/rpi-update


Then, to update your firmware, just run the following command:

sudo rpi-update


After the firmware has been sucessfully updated, you'll need to reboot to load the new firmware.


If you'd like to set a different GPU/ARM memory split, then define gpu_mem in /boot/config.txt.

To upgrade/downgrade to a specific firmware revision, specify its Git hash (from the repository) as follows:

sudo rpi-update fab7796df0cf29f9563b507a59ce5b17d93e0390

Expert options

There are a number of options for experts you might like to use. These are all environment variables you must set if you wish to use them.


By default, rpi-update will attempt to update itself each time it is run. You can disable this behavior by:

sudo UPDATE_SELF=0 rpi-update


sudo SKIP_KERNEL=1 rpi-update

Will update everything except the kernel.img files and the kernel modules. Use with caution, some firmware updates might depend on a kernel update.


sudo SKIP_BACKUP=1 rpi-update

Avoids making backup of /boot and /lib/modules on first run.


sudo SKIP_REPODELETE=1 rpi-update

By default the downloaded files (/root/.rpi-firmware) are deleted at end of update. Use this option to keep the files.


sudo ROOT_PATH=/media/root BOOT_PATH=/media/boot rpi-update

Allows you to perform an "offline" update, ie update firmware on an SD card you are not currently booted from. Useful for installing firmware/kernel to a non-RPI customised image. Be careful, you must specify both options or neither. Specifying only one will not work.


By default, clones the firmware files from the master branch, else uses the files from the specified branch, eg:

sudo BRANCH=next rpi-update

will use the 'next' branch.


Allows you to delete unused module directories when doing an update. Set it equal to a non-zero value and it will remove all modules except the latest installed:

sudo PRUNE_MODULES=1 rpi-update

will remove previously installed module files. Use this option to free disk space used by older module updates.


To just get a list of commits contained in rpi-update since you last updated, run:

sudo JUST_CHECK=1 rpi-update

This won't update your firmware


There are two possible problems related to SSL certificates that may prevent this tool from working.

  • The time may be set incorrectly on your Raspberry Pi, which you can fix by setting the time using NTP.

    sudo apt-get install ntpdate
    sudo ntpdate -u
  • The other possible issue is that you might not have the ca-certificates package installed, and so GitHub's SSL certificate isn't trusted. If you are on Debian, you can resolve this by typing:

    sudo apt-get install ca-certificates