I've switched my Raspberry Pi 4 from 32 bit to 64 bit (Raspbian buster) by adding this to /boot/config.txt


This seems to work fine. I'm running docker and that has continued to work.

However, as a person coming from the desktop world, I'm used to explicitly running 32 or 64 bit programs.

Do I need to do anything to install and/or run programs in 64 bit mode?

Should reinstall programs like docker or stuff installed with apt?

  • 1
    You can't. The Raspbian userland is still 32-bit; a 64-bit kernel is compatible with that.
    – goldilocks
    Nov 10, 2019 at 16:41
  • 3
    by the way, you only need arm_64bit=1 if you use the standard kernel8.img kernel Nov 11, 2019 at 2:07

1 Answer 1


I have not tried any of this myself, but this is how I would do it. Make sure to have backups and be ready to roll back if something goes wrong.

First, add the Debian repo to your sources.list:

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian-security/ buster/updates main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian-security/ buster/updates main

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main

Then add the arm64 architecture and update the package list

sudo dpkg --add-architecture arm64 
sudo apt update
# don't upgrade

Note that it's not recommended to upgrade while you have Debian repos as sources. I got weird issues after such an upgrade, and since quite a few Raspbian packages got replaced by Debian counterparts, I wasn't inclined to track down those issues.

Finally, install an arm64 program:

sudo apt install firefox:arm64

This will pull a lot of dependencies including the most basic ones like libc, since the rest of your system is 32-bit. Then you should be able to run your 64-bit software alongside the rest of your 32-bit userland. If you have the same program in 32 and 64 bits, you'll have to find out where the 64-bit version is installed, my guess would be /usr/lib/aarch64-linux-gnu/bin/, /usr/aarch64-linux-gnu/bin/, /usr/bin/aarch64-linux-gnu/, or something along these lines.

Note: you may already know, but Ubuntu supports RPi and is known to run 64-bit binaries.

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