Raspberry Pi continues to innovate from year to year to make sure that our favorite single-board computers can continue to improve into the future.
As part of this, the Raspbian OS, which is the base operating system for all Raspberry Pi computers, continues to be updated constantly, in order to provide bug fixes, solutions for digital problems, and brand-new features.
Raspberry Pi computers are used, day to day, by millions of people, as educational platforms for learning to code, program, and build computers, or even as portable personal computers that can be slipped right into your pocket with ease.
With so many different users operating these computers for different purposes, it is inevitable that patches and Raspbian OS updates will come about to improve their experience. One of our favorite projects is using the Raspberry Pi as a retro gaming machine hooked up to a big TV!
But how do you actually tell if your Pi is updated to the latest Raspbian version? And how do you find out exactly which version you are using? Does the latest Raspbian OS work on all Pi devices? Even the oldest models?
If you’ve ever wondered what version of Raspbian OS your Pi is running on, prepare to wonder no longer, as we are going to show you exactly how you can find out what version of the popular OS your Pi is running on!
How Do I Know What Version Of Raspbian I Have?
There is a very simple method that you can use to find out exactly what version of Raspbian OS your Pi computer is operating on. Open up the terminal on your Pi and, on a new row, type in:
By typing in this command, you will be met with the information you are looking for. The information includes such things as the version, its name, and where it was downloaded from.
The terminal will tell you the name of the OS you are running on, and exactly which version you are running, as determined by the number just under the name.
You can also see exactly where the particular OS was downloaded from, and where you can get more information on it.
How Do You Update Your Raspbian OS?
If you find that your Pi is not operating on the current version of the Raspbian OS, don’t worry, it is very easy to download the latest version.
Open up the Pi terminal and then type in the following command:
sudo apt update
This will download the latest available Raspbian OS, ready to be installed onto the computer itself.
From there, head back to the terminal and type in:
sudo apt dist-upgrade
This will cause the update file to be implemented and installed onto the computer. Wait for the updated OS to install. This can take some time, so while you wait, give yourself a pat on the back for making it this far!
Once the update file has been installed into your Raspberry Pi computer, all you then need to do is restart the Raspberry Pi itself. When the Pi reboots, it will now be running on the latest version of the OS that you recently installed.
How Do You Know Which Model Of Raspberry Pi You Have?
There is a very simple command that you can type directly into the Rapsbian OS’ terminal to find out exactly which model of Raspberry Pi you are using. Simply open up your terminal window, create a new row, and then type in:
This will bring up all kinds of data about the CPU of the Raspberry Pi you are operating on (see also ‘Does Overclocking Reduce CPU Lifespan‘). It will tell you exactly the board your Pi is built from, as well as who manufactured it.
This can help you to narrow down exactly which Raspberry Pi you are using.
Does The Latest Version of Rapbian OS Work On All Raspberry Pi Models?
Yes. Even the very latest version of the Raspbian OS will operate smoothly on even the oldest model of Raspberry Pi computer.
This is because the Raspbian OS is highly optimized, and works perfectly no matter where it is installed, as it is designed to not be overly taxing on computer systems.
If you’re worried that your current Raspberry Pi model will not be able to handle the latest version of the Raspbian OS, don’t worry, it will work perfectly fine!
Can A Raspberry Pi Run On Any Other OS Than Raspbian OS?
Yes. Though the Raspbian OS is perfectly optimized to work amazingly on your Raspberry Pi computer, a Pi can also run on a number of other operating systems, so you can customize your experience as you see fit.
A few examples of operating systems that run on the Raspberry Pi include Ubuntu, which has a very straightforward UI and runs quite well.
However, in order to run Ubuntu, you will need to ensure that your Raspberry Pi is model 2 or higher, or it will not run effectively.
Other operating systems include Arch Linux ARM, which is a more advanced operating system option for those who have lots of experience with computers and know their way around.
FydeOS allows you to access an operating system that is incredibly similar to the Google Chrome OS. This is great for those who want a simple and easy-to-understand OS for things such as video and music streaming.
This is just a small number of operating systems that can effectively run on a Raspberry Pi computer.
However, it is important that we mention that Raspberry Pi computers are designed to run on Raspbian OS, and thus you may encounter serious issues when running other operating systems upon it.
Make sure to exercise caution and moderation when running any other kind of OS on your Raspberry Pi, so that you can be sure it will not overheat or become overloaded and run the risk of becoming irreparably corrupted.
What Are Our Finishing Thoughts?
Finding out which version of the Raspbian OS you are running on is incredibly easy, and this information can be found with just a few commands pumped into the terminal of your Pi computer.
The Raspbian OS is perfectly optimized for Raspberry Pi computers, and thus it operates perfectly on every single model of Raspberry Pi.
Pi computers can run on other operating systems, but some work slightly better than others. You should also be careful to ensure that you do not overload your Pi computer by making it run from another OS that it was not designed for use with.
Check out the video below for a walkthrough on how to find out what version of Raspbian is running on your Raspberry Pi.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Raspbian A Good OS?
In short, yes. The Raspbian OS is the operating system of choice for pretty much all Raspberry Pi users.
The OS is designed, from the ground up, to be used on Raspberry Pi computers, and makes the most of its computing power without overloading them (even the oldest Pi models).
The Raspbian OS is so popular that it can even be downloaded and installed on other computers for use.
Is There A New Raspberry Pi Coming?
While it has been a long time since the Raspberry Pi 4 was first released, as of December 2022 there has still yet to be any confirmation of a Raspberry Pi 5 model.
However, this does not mean that it will not happen. With Raspberry Pi computers proving so popular, it is only a matter of time before the Raspberry Pi 5 is formally announced and available to the public!