How To Upgrade Raspberry Pi OS to Debian Bookworm from Bullseye

Upgrade an existing Raspberry Pi OS to the latest Debian GNU/Linux operating system series.
Raspberry Pi OS Bookworm

The wait is finally over and Raspberry Pi OS is now based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm” release and you can upgrade your Raspberry Pi right now. Here’s how!

The Raspberry Pi Foundation released new images for its Raspberry Pi OS that are based on Debian Bookworm. This is a major update that switches from X11 to Wayland by default with new apps, replacements for previous default apps, as well as other necessary adjustments.

The Bookworm-based Raspberry Pi OS also adopts PipeWire as the default multimedia backend and NetworkManager as the default network manager instead of PulseAudio and dhcpcd.

Not only that it updates your favorite applications, desktop environments, and core components to the latest versions, but the Debian Bookworm-based Raspberry Pi OS upgrade also adds official support for the recently announced Raspberry Pi 5 single-board computer.

Most of you might want to upgrade your existing Raspberry Pi OS installations based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” to Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm”, so here’s how to do it in a few easy steps.

How to upgrade to the latest Raspberry Pi OS

Before upgrading your Raspberry Pi OS installations, make sure that you have a recent backup of your most important files on an external drive, you know, just in case. Once you do that, open the Terminal app and do a full update by running the following commands.

sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade

When the update is complete, assuming you don’t have to reboot your Raspberry Pi, type the command below to edit the sources.list, which contains the software archives for the Debian GNU/Linux repositories.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Here, you need to change two things. First, you need to replace “bullseye” with “bookworm” (without quotes) on all three lines. Then, you need to add the “non-free-firmware” value at the end of each line. When you finish editing the sources.list file, it should look like this.

Save the file with Ctrl+O and exit the program with Ctrl+X. Now, you need to edit one more file to reflect the Debian Bookworm base, namely the raspi.list file, by running the command below.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list

Here, you only need to replace the “bullseye” value with “bookworm” (without quotes). It should look like in the screenshot below. Save the file with Ctrl+O and exit the program with Ctrl+X.

Now, all that remains is to update the new Debian Bookworm repositories and upgrade our Raspberry Pi OS installations. To do that, run the command below in the Terminal app.

sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade

Please note that the upgrade from Debian Bullseye to Debian Bookworm is quite big and it will take a while to complete, so relax and keep an eye on it for various prompts about replacing certain configuration files. For me, it took about 30 minutes for the upgrade to complete!

That’s it, once the upgrade is complete, reboot your Raspberry Pi and enjoy the new features and updates.

Last updated 4 months ago

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