Last updated on November 9th, 2021 at 12:34 pm

In this article I will show you how to upgrade your Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye Linux 11, which is the latest and greatest OS version.

How to upgrade Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye

Why to upgrade Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye?

Raspberry Pi OS is based on Debian linux, and the current one is based on Debian 10 with code name Buster. However, since several months there is a new stable Debian 11 version called Bullseye. That means it is expected the Raspberry Pi OS to follow this update sooner or later.

Regardless that Raspberry Pi org is still not updating their official image, there is a way to upgrade your installation, on top it is not hard at all.

On top, If you are running Home Assistant Supervised installation like me, you will be just fine when they completely remove the support for Debian 10.

So, let’s upgrade a Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye together!

What kind of Raspberry Pi is needed? 

I’m going to use Raspberry Pi 4, but you can use the same procedure for Raspberry Pi 400 (Check this article of mine if you want more info about Raspberry Pi 400) and I believe it will also work for Raspberry Pi 3.

QUESTION: Let me know in the comments what is your Raspberry and if the Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade is working fine!

How to upgrade Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye 1
Raspberry Pi 4 is fully supported by the Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade procedure described here!

If you want to buy a Raspberry Pi you can use my affiliate link below:

Backup your Raspberry Pi before Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade

Before continuing further, your first step is to backup your current Raspberry OS in case something goes totally wrong. There are several ways to do this.

For example:

  • If you are using a SD card, just clone it on another SD card or other drive.
Use the sd card copier to backup your raspberry pi before Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade
Use the SD Card copier tool to backup your raspberry pi before Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade.

If you have other way to backup, use it now, but please do not skip this as it is the most important step.

How to connect to Raspberry Pi remotely with SSH?

I will connect to my Raspberry PI remotely over SSH using the following command

ssh pi@IP_OF_YOUR_RASPBERRY
Connecting to Raspberry Pi remotely using ssh command
Connecting to Raspberry Pi remotely using ssh command!

Or you can open a Terminal if you are inside the Raspberry Pi OS.

This terminal window can be started if you are connected with keyboard and monitor to your Raspberry PI. Or if you are using VNC Viewer for example.
This terminal window can be started if you are connected with keyboard and monitor to your Raspberry PI. Or if you are using VNC Viewer for example.

Updating the Raspberry Pi OS Buster

Regardless the Pi model and remote connection or not, let’s upgrade all packages before changing the version to Bullseye.

sudo apt update

While executing the above command you might see a message saying that the version has changed from stable to oldstable.

Stable to oldstable warning during Raspberry Pi package update
Stable to oldstable warning during Raspberry Pi package update

In this case, it is necessary to accept the change by running the following command:

sudo apt update --allow-releaseinfo-change

Before switching to Bullseye, I will update my packages in Raspberry Pi Buster OS, to their latest possible versions. That way, a relatively very few packages will have to be updated later on.

sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && sudo apt-get full-upgrade

During the process you may see a screen with a changelog, to close it type q and it will continue.

Press q to continue during the packages upgrade.
Press q to continue during the packages upgrade

If you get questions wether to keep the existing versions of some config files. I can recommend to say yes, and to keep your existing configurations versions. That way you will avoid losing your customisations.

First Raspberry Pi reboot

After everything above is finished a system reboot is required. Type the following command:

sudo reboot

Wait for the Raspberry Pi to start and log in again using ssh or open a Terminal.

Update Raspberry Pi package list

Time to start the actual Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye 11 upgrade. The first step here is to change the source list to use Bullseye instead of Buster. Use a text editor like nano to edit this:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

The only thing that you have to change in this file is the buster keyword with bullseye, so at the end you should have similar line in your sources.list file:

deb http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian/ bullseye main contrib non-free rpi
Update sources list to Bullseye
Update sources list to Bullseye!

TIP!: It is highly recommended to double check your other lists in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ folder and replace “buster” with “bullseye” keyword in every list you have there.

Actual upgrade of Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye 11

Now, I just have to repeat the same commands as before! That is to update the package list and to upgrade the packages, but this time to Bullseye:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && sudo apt-get full-upgrade
How to upgrade Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye 2
Upgrade Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye final commands

At some point, it is quite possible to see a question asking you to allow restarting the Raspberry PI OS services during the upgrade. If you choose YES you will be not asked again for this, otherwise it will ask you multiple times for many of the running services on your Raspberry.

Restart services during package upgrades without asking dialog
Restart services during package upgrades without asking dialog

One final reboot and if everything is fine I should have Raspberry PI OS Bullseye based on Debian 11 up and running

sudo reboot

How to check if you are Running Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye 11?

To double check if you are really running the Raspberry PI OS Bullseye 11, execute the following command.

cat /etc/os-release

If you see bullseye in your answer then you are completely ready!

How to check if I'm running Bullsye 11? This is to check if your Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade is successful.
How to check if I’m running Bullseye 11? This is to check if your Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade is successful.

And just like that my Raspberry Pi Buster to Bullseye upgrade is complete. I have an up to date Raspberry PI running Raspberry PI OS Bullseye 11.

Now I’m not concerned about the old Buster 10 version deprecation.

Outro

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I’m Kiril and I’m done writing. Bye!


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