What is the difference between rpi-update (firmware) and apt-get update and apt-get upgrade?


1 Answer 1


rpi-update updates the firmware for the Raspberry Pi. It does not change any packages.

apt-get update updates the package listings for the Debian operating system, but does not upgrade the packages themselves.

apt-get upgrade upgrades any packages that have new versions. You usually run this after you run apt-get update.

Note: for these commands to do anything, you have to prefix them with sudo to get administrative privileges, else they won't work.

  • 4
    @Christain If you're confused by the expression firmware, it refers to the files and drivers that interact with the Raspberry Pi hardware, such as the Broadcom chip. These are not kept in the normal apt repositories, and so have to be upgraded separately.
    – Jivings
    Feb 14, 2013 at 23:18
  • And by that, firmware files are situated on the SD card and does not alter any code within the SOC's?
    – Christian
    Feb 15, 2013 at 20:27
  • @Christian correct. they help the software interface with the Pi. they don't change any code inside the SOCs.
    – nc4pk
    Feb 15, 2013 at 21:33

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