I recently updated my Raspberry Pi with sudo apt update and sudo apt full-upgrade to the system. Even if Python 3.8 is out, when I run python3 in terminal, it shows me version 3.7, instead of 3.8.

Why is this the case?

  • 3
    Because that is what is available in the default repos. It takes time for a package to go from release to inclusion in the repos, and hence available for install. Aug 12, 2020 at 19:07
  • Cool. You can leave an answer if you wish :) Aug 12, 2020 at 19:28
  • 1
    If you want 3.8 you will have to compile from source or wait for Bullseye - probably mid 2021, but a Raspberry Pi release is unlikely before end 2021. See wiki.debian.org/Python
    – Milliways
    Aug 13, 2020 at 7:35

2 Answers 2


Why? Just because it takes a while for distributions to integrate new versions.

Here's what I did to install Python 3.8.5 on my rpi:

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential tk-dev libncurses5-dev \
libncursesw5-dev libreadline6-dev libdb5.3-dev libgdbm-dev libsqlite3-dev \
libssl-dev libbz2-dev libexpat1-dev liblzma-dev zlib1g-dev libffi-dev


wget https://www.python.org/ftp/python/$version/Python-$version.tgz

tar zxf Python-$version.tgz
cd Python-$version
./configure --enable-optimizations
make -j4
sudo make altinstall

Installs Python into /usr/local/bin

  • You remind me last time I upgraded my jessie python 3.5.3 to 3.7.3. I needed to upgrade because I wanted to learn tensorflow which at that time only supported python 3.7. At that time I had 10 years expereince in Wi95/XT/ .. Win7, and I knew all the batch commands like CD (change directory, make directory, copy/remove files, zip/unzip files etc), so I though I was knowledge enough to do the python 3.7 upgrade. But then I did not know what were tar, zxf, tgz, ... So it took me more than 4 hours (yes 4 hours) to mess up jessie. Fortunately I had a micro SD backup of jessie. My lesson learnt, ..
    – tlfong01
    Aug 13, 2020 at 0:33
  • 3
    Cheers, copy paste friendly galore. Takes about 10min to compile, which is pretty fast and as mentioned it won't override the default Python's symlink or anything, but instead create a completely separate /usr/bin/python3.8 along side whatever is already there. Might get issues later in life when Debian* decides to upgrade finally.
    – Torxed
    Nov 8, 2020 at 18:59
  • How do you activate 3.8 once everything compiles? Does the pi need to be rebooted? If I do a python3 --version its still 3.7
    – bbartling
    Oct 18, 2021 at 18:18

This is worth sharing, someone made a bash script.

Ultimate Python installation on a Raspberry Pi & Ubuntu Script

This seems like an interesting site: https://itheo.tech/ultimate-python-installation-on-a-raspberry-pi-ubuntu-script

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