What is the basic information I have to consider when using an SD card in a Raspberry Pi?

Are there any compatibility considerations regarding the Pi and the OS? Do I also need to consider the board version (i.e. Raspberry Pi 2/3 model B v1.1/ v 1.2)?


The only operating system which still supports all existing Raspberry Pis on the market is Raspbian. Older versions of Raspbian will not always work on the newest models. Raspbian will always work on Raspberries released 2012, 2013 etc.

All other OS might not work with Raspis made before 2015. They also might not work on the newest models (as of Jan 2019) like the 3A.

You will have to ask the OS maker for a list of supported models if you are not using Raspbian.


Any of the main OS's out there should work with any of the versions of the Pi 2 or Pi 3.

Regarding SD card compatibility, the key thing is to get a high quality SD card. I would recommend this as I have seen far too many questions on this site where the problem was caused by a bad SD card. There are some size requirements, 4GB is the absolute minimum. For NOOBS 8GB is recommended.

It's not appropriate on this site to recommend specific brands but I use only SanDisk SD cards. I've at what point or another used all of the models of the Pi and the SD cards I've used have all worked fine. As long as you make sure to buy a micro SD card if its going to be used in the Pi 2 or Pi 3 then you should be fine. The micro SD card can be used as a full sized SD card with an adapter, and these normally ship with the micro SD card. It's worth checking that's the case if you haven't got any.

If you would like some more detailed information this Wiki page should answer any further questions on SD cards you might have. You can also find out more here on the official Raspberry Pi Foundation site.

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