Full 64-bit Official Raspberry Pi OS Now Generally Available

Raspberry Pi OS 64-bit

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced today the general availability of a full 64-bit version of the official Raspberry Pi OS distribution for all 64-bit Raspberry Pi devices.

Until today, Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian) was available only as a 32-bit operating system for all Raspberry Pi models, from Raspberry Pi 1 to the latest Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. This is was the recommend version offered by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, due to compatibility issues and to avoid customer confusion.

During the past few months, since April 2021, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a beta release of a full 64-bit version of their Debian-based Raspberry Pi OS, which is now finally out of beta testing and ready for mass deployment.

“We’ve come to realize that there are reasons to choose a 64-bit operating system over a 32-bit one. Compatibility is a key concern, many closed-source applications are only available for ARM64, and open-source ones aren’t fully optimized for the ARMhf port,” said Gordon Hollingworth. “Beyond that there are some performance benefits intrinsic to the A64 instruction set.”

The 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS is supported on the Raspberry Pi 3B, Raspberry Pi 3B+, Raspberry Pi 3A+, Raspberry Pi 4, Raspberry Pi 400, Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3), Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ (CM3+), Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4), and Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.

The biggest advantage of a 64-bit OS over a 32-bit one is, of course, related to RAM (the physical memory of the device). As such, the full 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS will now leverage the 8GB of memory available in Raspberry Pi models like the Raspberry Pi 4.

The 32-bit Raspberry Pi OS made use of the ARM LPAE (Large Physical Address Extension) to access up to 8GB of RAM on the Raspberry Pi 4, but that is no longer the case with the 64-bit variant, which you can download right now from the official website.

On the downside, there’s still no version of the WidevineCDM library, used by the 64-bit Chromium web browser to allow you to stream video and audio from popular streaming websites like Netflix, Spotify, or Disney+. Therefore, you’ll need to install the 32-bit version of the Chromium web browser with the following command.

sudo apt install chromium-browser:armhf libwidevinecdm0

Last updated 3 months ago