Raspberry Pi Documentation

Raspberry Pi OS


Raspberry Pi OS is a free operating system based on Debian, optimised for the Raspberry Pi hardware, and is the recommended operating system for normal use on a Raspberry Pi. The OS comes with over 35,000 packages: pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation on your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi OS is under active development, with an emphasis on improving the stability and performance of as many Debian packages as possible on Raspberry Pi.

Updating and Upgrading Raspberry Pi OS

It’s important to keep your Raspberry Pi up to date. The first and probably the most important reason is security. A device running Raspberry Pi OS contains millions of lines of code that you rely on. Over time, these millions of lines of code will expose well-known vulnerabilities, which are documented in publicly available databases meaning that they are easy to exploit. The only way to mitigate these exploits as a user of Raspberry Pi OS is to keep your software up to date, as the upstream repositories track CVEs closely and try to mitigate them quickly.

The second reason, related to the first, is that the software you are running on your device most certainly contains bugs. Some bugs are CVEs, but bugs could also be affecting the desired functionality without being related to security. By keeping your software up to date, you are lowering the chances of hitting these bugs.

Using APT

The easiest way to manage installing, upgrading, and removing software is using APT (Advanced Packaging Tool) from Debian. To update software in Raspberry Pi OS, you can use the apt tool from a Terminal window.

Keeping your Operating System up to Date

APT keeps a list of software sources on your Raspberry Pi in a file at /etc/apt/sources.list. Before installing software, you should update your package list with apt update. Go ahead and open a Terminal window and type:

sudo apt update

Next, upgrade all your installed packages to their latest versions with the following command:

sudo apt full-upgrade

Note that full-upgrade is used in preference to a simple upgrade, as it also picks up any dependency changes that may have been made.

Generally speaking, doing this regularly will keep your installation up to date for the particular major Raspberry Pi OS release you are using (e.g. Buster). It will not update from one major release to another, for example, Stretch to Buster or Buster to Bullseye.

However, there are occasional changes made in the Raspberry Pi OS image that require manual intervention, for example a newly introduced package. These are not installed with an upgrade, as this command only updates the packages you already have installed.

The kernel and firmware are installed as a Debian package, and so will also get updates when using the procedure above. These packages are updated infrequently and after extensive testing.

If moving an existing SD card to a new Raspberry Pi model (for example the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W), you may also need to update the kernel and the firmware first using the instructions above.

Running Out of Space

When running sudo apt full-upgrade, it will show how much data will be downloaded and how much space it will take up on the SD card. It’s worth checking with df -h that you have enough free disk space, as unfortunately apt will not do this for you. Also be aware that downloaded package files (.deb files) are kept in /var/cache/apt/archives. You can remove these in order to free up space with sudo apt clean (sudo apt-get clean in older releases of apt).

Upgrading from Previous Operating System Versions

Upgrading an existing image is possible, but is not guaranteed to work in every circumstance and we do not recommend it. If you do wish to try upgrading your operating system version, we strongly suggest making a backup first — we can accept no responsibility for loss of data from a failed update.

The latest version of Raspberry Pi OS is based on Debian Bullseye. The previous version was based on Buster. If you want to perform an in-place upgrade from Buster to Bullseye (and you’re aware of the risks) see the instructions in the forums.

Searching for Software

You can search the archives for a package with a given keyword with apt-cache search:

apt-cache search locomotive
sl - Correct you if you type `sl' by mistake

You can view more information about a package before installing it with apt-cache show:

apt-cache show sl
Package: sl
Version: 3.03-17
Architecture: armhf
Maintainer: Hiroyuki Yamamoto <[email protected]>
Installed-Size: 114
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.4), libncurses5 (>= 5.5-5~), libtinfo5
Homepage: http://www.tkl.iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~toyoda/index_e.html
Priority: optional
Section: games
Filename: pool/main/s/sl/sl_3.03-17_armhf.deb
Size: 26246
SHA256: 42dea9d7c618af8fe9f3c810b3d551102832bf217a5bcdba310f119f62117dfb
SHA1: b08039acccecd721fc3e6faf264fe59e56118e74
MD5sum: 450b21cc998dc9026313f72b4bd9807b
Description: Correct you if you type `sl' by mistake
 Sl is a program that can display animations aimed to correct you
 if you type 'sl' by mistake.
 SL stands for Steam Locomotive.

Installing a Package with APT

sudo apt install tree

Typing this command should inform the user how much disk space the package will take up and asks for confirmation of the package installation. Entering Y (or just pressing Enter, as yes is the default action) will allow the installation to occur. This can be bypassed by adding the -y flag to the command:

sudo apt install tree -y

Installing this package makes tree available for the user.

Uninstalling a Package with APT

You can uninstall a package with apt remove:

sudo apt remove tree

The user is prompted to confirm the removal. Again, the -y flag will auto-confirm.

You can also choose to completely remove the package and its associated configuration files with apt purge:

sudo apt purge tree

Using rpi-update

Updating Pi firmware

In some circumstances it may be necessary to update the VideoCore firmware in a Raspberry Pi operating system (OS) image without going through the normal upgrade process. This whitepaper documents how to use the normal upgrade process, and also gives information on how to bypass the standard update process if it is not suitable.

rpi-update is a command line application that will update your Raspberry Pi OS kernel and VideoCore firmware to the latest pre-release versions.

Pre-release versions of software are not guaranteed to work. You should not use rpi-update on any system unless recommended to do so by a Raspberry Pi engineer. It may leave your system unreliable or even completely broken. It should not be used as part of any regular update process.

The rpi-update script was originally written by Hexxeh, but is now supported by Raspberry Pi engineers. The script source is in the rpi-update repository.

What it does

rpi-update will download the latest pre-release version of the linux kernel, its matching modules, device tree files, along with the latest versions of the VideoCore firmware. It will then install these files to relevant locations on the SD card, overwriting any previous versions.

All the source data used by rpi-update comes from the rpi-firmware repository. This repository simply contains a subset of the data from the official firmware repository, as not all the data from that repo is required.

Running rpi-update

If you are sure that you need to use rpi-update, it is advisable to take a backup of your current system first as running rpi-update could result in a non-booting system.

rpi-update needs to be run as root. Once the update is complete you will need to reboot.

sudo rpi-update
sudo reboot

It has a number of options documented in the rpi-update repository.

How to get back to safety

If you have done an rpi-update and things are not working as you wish, if your Raspberry Pi is still bootable you can return to the stable release using:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install --reinstall libraspberrypi0 libraspberrypi-{bin,dev,doc} raspberrypi-bootloader raspberrypi-kernel

You will need to reboot your Raspberry Pi for these changes to take effect.

Playing Audio and Video


The following documentation refers to Raspberry Pi OS Buster and earlier versions. OMXPlayer has been deprecated in the latest OS release. If you are running Bullseye, VLC is now the recommended alternative.

The simplest way of playing audio and video on Raspberry Pi is to use the installed OMXPlayer application.

This is hardware accelerated, and can play back many popular audio and video file formats. OMXPlayer uses the OpenMAX (omx) hardware acceleration interface (API) which is the officially supported media API on Raspberry Pi. OMXPlayer was developed by the Kodi Project’s Edgar Hucek.

The OMXPlayer Application

The simplest command line is omxplayer <name of media file>. The media file can be audio or video or both. For the examples below, we used an H264 video file that is included with the standard Raspberry Pi OS installation.

omxplayer /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

By default the audio is sent to the analog port. If you are using a HDMI-equipped display device with speakers, you need to tell omxplayer to send the audio signal over the HDMI link.

omxplayer --adev hdmi /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

When displaying video, the whole display will be used as output. You can specify which part of the display you want the video to be on using the window option.

omxplayer --win 0,0,640,480 /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

You can also specify which part of the video you want to be displayed: this is called a crop window. This portion of the video will be scaled up to match the display, unless you also use the window option.

omxplayer --crop 100,100,300,300 /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

If you are using the Raspberry Pi Touch Display, and you want to use it for video output, use the display option to specify which display to use. n is 5 for HDMI, 4 for the touchscreen. With the Raspberry Pi 4 you have two options for HDMI output. n is 2 for HDMI0 and 7 for HDMI1.

omxplayer --display n /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

How to Play Audio

To play an MP3 file, navigate to the location of the .mp3 file in the terminal using cd and then type the following command:

omxplayer example.mp3

This will play the audio file example.mp3 through either your monitor’s built-in speakers or your headphones, connected via the headphone jack.

If you need an example file you can download one from here using the following command:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/raspberrypilearning/burping-jelly-baby/master/data/la.mp3 -O example.mp3 --no-check-certificate

If you cannot hear anything, make sure your headphones or speakers are connected correctly. Note that omxplayer doesn’t use ALSA and so ignores the audio configuration set by raspi-config or amixer.

If omxplayer’s auto-detection of the correct audio output device fails, you can force output over HDMI with:

omxplayer -o hdmi example.mp3

Alternatively, you can force output over the headphone jack with:

omxplayer -o local example.mp3

You can even force output over both the headphone jack and HDMI with:

omxplayer -o both example.mp3

How to Play Video

To play a video, navigate to the location of your video file in the terminal using cd, then type the following command:

omxplayer example.mp4

This will play the example.mp4 in full screen. Hit Ctrl + C to exit.

On the Raspberry Pi 4, hardware support for MPEG2 and VC-1 codecs has been removed, so we recommend the use of the VLC application, which supports these formats in software. In addition, VLC has hardware support for H264 and the new HEVC codec.

An Example Video

A video sample of the animated film Big Buck Bunny is available on your Raspberry Pi. To play it enter the following command into a terminal window:

omxplayer /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

On a Raspberry Pi 4, use the following command for H264 files:

omxplayer /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

or for H264, VC1, or MPEG2

vlc /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

When using VLC, you can improve playback performance by encapsulating the raw H264 stream, for example from the Raspberry Pi Camera Module. This is easily done using ffmpeg. Playback is also improved if VLC is run full screen; either select fullscreen from the user interface, or you can add the --fullscreen options to the vlc command line.

This example command converts video.h264 to a containerised video.mp4 at 30 fps:

ffmpeg -r 30 -i video.h264 -c:v copy video.mp4

Options During Playback

There are a number of options available during playback, actioned by pressing the appropriate key. Not all options will be available on all files. The list of key bindings can be displayed using omxplayer --keys:

    1           decrease speed
    2           increase speed
    <           rewind
    >           fast forward
    z           show info
    j           previous audio stream
    k           next audio stream
    i           previous chapter
    o           next chapter
    n           previous subtitle stream
    m           next subtitle stream
    s           toggle subtitles
    w           show subtitles
    x           hide subtitles
    d           decrease subtitle delay (- 250 ms)
    f           increase subtitle delay (+ 250 ms)
    q           exit omxplayer
    p / space   pause/resume
    -           decrease volume
    + / =       increase volume
    left arrow  seek -30 seconds
    right arrow seek +30 seconds
    down arrow  seek -600 seconds
    up arrow    seek +600 seconds

Playing in the Background

omxplayer will close immediately if run in the background without tty (user input), so to run successfully, you need to tell omxplayer not to require any user input using the --no-keys option.

omxplayer --no-keys example.mp3 &

Adding the & at the end of the command runs the job in the background. You can then check the status of this background job using the jobs command. By default, the job will complete when omxplayer finishes playing, but if necessary, you can stop it at any point using the kill command.

$ jobs
[1]-  Running             omxplayer --no-keys example.mp3 &
$ kill %1
[1]-  Terminated          omxplayer --no-keys example.mp3 &

Using a USB webcam

Rather than using the Raspberry Pi camera module, you can use a standard USB webcam to take pictures and video on your Raspberry Pi.

The quality and configurability of the camera module is highly superior to a standard USB webcam.

First, install the fswebcam package:

sudo apt install fswebcam

If you are not using the default pi user account, you need to add your username to the video group, otherwise you will see 'permission denied' errors.

sudo usermod -a -G video <username>

To check that the user has been added to the group correctly, use the groups command.

Basic Usage

Enter the command fswebcam followed by a filename and a picture will be taken using the webcam, and saved to the filename specified:

fswebcam image.jpg

This command will show the following information:

--- Opening /dev/video0...
Trying source module v4l2...
/dev/video0 opened.
No input was specified, using the first.
Adjusting resolution from 384x288 to 352x288.
--- Capturing frame...
Corrupt JPEG data: 2 extraneous bytes before marker 0xd4
Captured frame in 0.00 seconds.
--- Processing captured image...
Writing JPEG image to 'image.jpg'.
Basic image capture
The small default resolution used, and the presence of a banner showing the timestamp.

The webcam used in this example has a resolution of 1280 x 720 so to specify the resolution I want the image to be taken at, use the -r flag:

fswebcam -r 1280x720 image2.jpg

This command will show the following information:

--- Opening /dev/video0...
Trying source module v4l2...
/dev/video0 opened.
No input was specified, using the first.
--- Capturing frame...
Corrupt JPEG data: 1 extraneous bytes before marker 0xd5
Captured frame in 0.00 seconds.
--- Processing captured image...
Writing JPEG image to 'image2.jpg'.
Full resolution image

Picture now taken at the full resolution of the webcam, with the banner present.

Removing the Banner

Now add the --no-banner flag:

fswebcam -r 1280x720 --no-banner image3.jpg

which shows the following information:

--- Opening /dev/video0...
Trying source module v4l2...
/dev/video0 opened.
No input was specified, using the first.
--- Capturing frame...
Corrupt JPEG data: 2 extraneous bytes before marker 0xd6
Captured frame in 0.00 seconds.
--- Processing captured image...
Disabling banner.
Writing JPEG image to 'image3.jpg'.
Full resolution image with no banner

Now the picture is taken at full resolution with no banner.

Automating Image Capture

You can write a Bash script which takes a picture with the webcam. The script below saves the images in the /home/pi/webcam directory, so create the webcam subdirectory first with:

mkdir webcam

To create a script, open up your editor of choice and write the following example code:


DATE=$(date +"%Y-%m-%d_%H%M")

fswebcam -r 1280x720 --no-banner /home/pi/webcam/$DATE.jpg

This script will take a picture and name the file with a timestamp. Say we saved it as webcam.sh, we would first make the file executable:

chmod +x webcam.sh

Then run with:


Which would run the commands in the file and give the usual output:

--- Opening /dev/video0...
Trying source module v4l2...
/dev/video0 opened.
No input was specified, using the first.
--- Capturing frame...
Corrupt JPEG data: 2 extraneous bytes before marker 0xd6
Captured frame in 0.00 seconds.
--- Processing captured image...
Disabling banner.
Writing JPEG image to '/home/pi/webcam/2013-06-07_2338.jpg'.

Time-Lapse Captures

You can use cron to schedule taking a picture at a given interval, such as every minute to capture a time-lapse.

First open the cron table for editing:

crontab -e

This will either ask which editor you would like to use, or open in your default editor. Once you have the file open in an editor, add the following line to schedule taking a picture every minute (referring to the Bash script from above):

* * * * * /home/pi/webcam.sh 2>&1

Save and exit and you should see the message:

crontab: installing new crontab

Ensure your script does not save each picture taken with the same filename. This will overwrite the picture each time.

Useful Utilities

There are several useful command line


tvservice is a command line application used to get and set information about the display, targeted mainly at HDMI video and audio.

Typing tvservice by itself will display a list of available command line options.

-p, --preferred

Power on the HDMI output with preferred settings.

-o, --off

Powers off the display output.

Powering off the output using this command will also destroy any framebuffers/dispmanx layers associated with the display. These are NOT re-established with a subsequent power on, so will result in a blank screen.

A better option is to use the vcgencmd display_power option, as this will retain any framebuffers, so when the power is turned back on the display will be the returned to the previous power on state.

-e, --explicit="Group Mode Drive"

Power on the HDMI with the specified settings

Group can be one of CEA, DMT, CEA_3D_SBS, CEA_3D_TB, CEA_3D_FP, CEA_3D_FS.
Mode is one of the modes returned from the -m, --modes option.
Drive can be one of HDMI, DVI.

-t, --ntsc

Use 59.94Hz (NTSC frequency) rather than 60Hz for HDMI mode.

-c, --sdtvon="Mode Aspect [P]"

Power on the SDTV (composite output) with the specified mode, PAL or NTSC, and the specified aspect, 4:3, 14:9, 16:9. The optional P parameter can be used to specify progressive mode.

-m, --modes=Group

where Group is CEA or DMT.

Shows a list of display modes available in the specified group.

-M, --monitor

Monitors for any HDMI events, for example unplugging or attaching.

-s, --status

Shows the current settings for the display mode, including mode, resolution, and frequency.

-a, --audio

Shows the current settings for the audio mode, including channels, sample rate and sample size.

-d, --dumpid=filename

Save the current EDID to the specified filename. You can then use edidparser <filename> to display the data in a human readable form.

-j, --json

When used in combination with the --modes options, displays the mode information in JSON format.

-n, --name

Extracts the display name from the EDID data and shows it.

-l, --list

Lists all attached displays and their display ID.

-v, --device=display

Specifies the ID of the device to use; see the output of --list for available IDs.


The vcgencmd tool is used to output information from the VideoCore GPU on the Raspberry Pi. You can find source code for the vcgencmd utility on Github.

To get a list of all commands which vcgencmd supports, use vcgencmd commands. Some useful commands and their required parameters are listed below.


The vcos command has two useful sub-commands:

  • version displays the build date and version of the firmware on the VideoCore

  • log status displays the error log status of the various VideoCore firmware areas


Displays the build date and version of the VideoCore firmware.


Displays the enabled and detected state of the Raspberry Pi camera: 1 means yes, 0 means no. Whilst all firmware except cutdown versions support the camera, this support needs to be enabled by using raspi-config.


Returns the throttled state of the system. This is a bit-pattern - a bit being set indicates the following meanings:

Bit Hex value Meaning



Under-voltage detected



Arm frequency capped



Currently throttled



Soft temperature limit active



Under-voltage has occurred



Arm frequency capping has occurred



Throttling has occurred



Soft temperature limit has occurred


Returns the temperature of the SoC as measured by its internal temperature sensor; on Raspberry Pi 4, measure_temp pmic returns the temperature of the PMIC.

measure_clock [clock]

This returns the current frequency of the specified clock. The options are:

clock Description


ARM core(s)


GPU core


H.264 block


Image Sensor Pipeline


3D block




PWM block (analogue audio output)


SD card interface


Pixel valves


Analogue video encoder




Display Parallel Interface

e.g. vcgencmd measure_clock arm

measure_volts [block]

Displays the current voltages used by the specific block.

block Description


VC4 core voltage


SDRAM Core Voltage


SDRAM I/O voltage


SDRAM Phy Voltage


Displays the content of the OTP (one-time programmable) memory inside the SoC. These are 32-bit values, indexed from 8 to 64. See the OTP bits page for more details.

get_config [configuration item|int|str]

Display value of the configuration setting specified: alternatively, specify either int (integer) or str (string) to see all configuration items of the given type. For example:

vcgencmd get_config total_mem

returns the total memory on the device in megabytes.

get_mem type

Reports on the amount of memory addressable by the ARM and the GPU. To show the amount of ARM-addressable memory use vcgencmd get_mem arm; to show the amount of GPU-addressable memory use vcgencmd get_mem gpu. Note that on devices with more than 1GB of memory the arm parameter will always return 1GB minus the gpu memory value, since the GPU firmware is only aware of the first 1GB of memory. To get an accurate report of the total memory on the device, see the total_mem configuration item - see get_config section above.

codec_enabled [type]

Reports whether the specified CODEC type is enabled. Possible options for type are AGIF, FLAC, H263, H264, MJPA, MJPB, MJPG, MPG2, MPG4, MVC0, PCM, THRA, VORB, VP6, VP8, WMV9, WVC1. Those highlighted currently require a paid for licence (see the this config.txt section for more info), except on the Raspberry Pi 4 and 400, where these hardware codecs are disabled in preference to software decoding, which requires no licence. Note that because the H.265 HW block on the Raspberry Pi 4 and 400 is not part of the VideoCore GPU, its status is not accessed via this command.


Displays the resolution and colour depth of any attached display.


Displays statistics on any OOM (out of memory) events occurring in the VideoCore memory space.


Displays statistics from the relocatable memory allocator on the VideoCore.


Returns the current speed voltage and temperature of the ring oscillator.


Displays the current HDMI settings timings. See Video Config for details of the values returned.


Dump a list of all dispmanx items currently being displayed.

display_power [0 | 1 | -1] [display]

Show current display power state, or set the display power state. vcgencmd display_power 0 will turn off power to the current display. vcgencmd display_power 1 will turn on power to the display. If no parameter is set, this will display the current power state. The final parameter is an optional display ID, as returned by tvservice -l or from the table below, which allows a specific display to be turned on or off.

Note that for the 7" Raspberry Pi Touch Display this simply turns the backlight on and off. The touch functionality continues to operate as normal.

vcgencmd display_power 0 7 will turn off power to display ID 7, which is HDMI 1 on a Raspberry Pi 4.

Display ID

Main LCD


Secondary LCD








To determine if a specific display ID is on or off, use -1 as the first parameter.

vcgencmd display_power -1 7 will return 0 if display ID 7 is off, 1 if display ID 7 is on, or -1 if display ID 7 is in an unknown state, for example undetected.


vcdbg is an application to help with debugging the VideoCore GPU from Linux running on the ARM. It needs to be run as root. This application is mostly of use to Raspberry Pi engineers, although there are some commands that general users may find useful.

sudo vcdbg help will give a list of available commands.

Only options of use to end users have been listed.


Shows various items of version information from the VideoCore.


Dumps logs from the specified subsystem. Possible options are:

log Description


Prints out the message log


Prints out the assertion log


Prints out the exception log


Prints out information from the logging headers


Sets the VCOS logging level for the specified category, n|e|w|i|t


List the VCOS logging levels

e.g. To print out the current contents of the message log:

vcdbg log msg


List all memory allocations current in the VideoCore heap.


List the current status of the pool allocator


Without any further parameters, lists the current status of the relocatable allocator. Use sudo vcdbg reloc small to list small allocations as well.

Use the subcommand sudo vcdbg reloc stats to list statistics for the relocatable allocator.


Commands related to task history.

Use sudo vcdbg hist gnuplot to dump task history in gnuplot format to task.gpt and task.dat

GPIO and the 40-pin Header

A powerful feature of the Raspberry Pi is the row of GPIO (general-purpose input/output) pins along the top edge of the board. A 40-pin GPIO header is found on all current Raspberry Pi boards (unpopulated on Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi Zero W and Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W). Prior to the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ (2014), boards comprised a shorter 26-pin header. The GPIO header on all boards (including the Raspberry Pi 400) have a 0.1" (2.54mm) pin pitch.

GPIO pins

Any of the GPIO pins can be designated (in software) as an input or output pin and used for a wide range of purposes.

GPIO layout
The numbering of the GPIO pins is not in numerical order; GPIO pins 0 and 1 are present on the board (physical pins 27 and 28) but are reserved for advanced use (see below).


Two 5V pins and two 3.3V pins are present on the board, as well as a number of ground pins (0V), which are unconfigurable. The remaining pins are all general purpose 3.3V pins, meaning outputs are set to 3.3V and inputs are 3.3V-tolerant.


A GPIO pin designated as an output pin can be set to high (3.3V) or low (0V).


A GPIO pin designated as an input pin can be read as high (3.3V) or low (0V). This is made easier with the use of internal pull-up or pull-down resistors. Pins GPIO2 and GPIO3 have fixed pull-up resistors, but for other pins this can be configured in software.


As well as simple input and output devices, the GPIO pins can be used with a variety of alternative functions, some are available on all pins, others on specific pins.

  • PWM (pulse-width modulation)

    • Software PWM available on all pins

    • Hardware PWM available on GPIO12, GPIO13, GPIO18, GPIO19

  • SPI

    • SPI0: MOSI (GPIO10); MISO (GPIO9); SCLK (GPIO11); CE0 (GPIO8), CE1 (GPIO7)

    • SPI1: MOSI (GPIO20); MISO (GPIO19); SCLK (GPIO21); CE0 (GPIO18); CE1 (GPIO17); CE2 (GPIO16)

  • I2C

    • Data: (GPIO2); Clock (GPIO3)

    • EEPROM Data: (GPIO0); EEPROM Clock (GPIO1)

  • Serial

    • TX (GPIO14); RX (GPIO15)

GPIO pinout

A handy reference can be accessed on the Raspberry Pi by opening a terminal window and running the command pinout. This tool is provided by the GPIO Zero Python library, which is installed by default in Raspberry Pi OS.

gpiozero pinout

For more details on the advanced capabilities of the GPIO pins see gadgetoid’s interactive pinout diagram.

While connecting up simple components to the GPIO pins is perfectly safe, it’s important to be careful how you wire things up. LEDs should have resistors to limit the current passing through them. Do not use 5V for 3.3V components. Do not connect motors directly to the GPIO pins, instead use an H-bridge circuit or a motor controller board.


In order to use the GPIO ports your user must be a member of the gpio group. The pi user is a member by default, other users need to be added manually.

sudo usermod -a -G gpio <username>

GPIO in Python

Using the GPIO Zero library makes it easy to get started with controlling GPIO devices with Python. The library is comprehensively documented at gpiozero.readthedocs.io.


To control an LED connected to GPIO17, you can use this code:

from gpiozero import LED
from time import sleep

led = LED(17)

while True:

Run this in an IDE like Thonny, and the LED will blink on and off repeatedly.

LED methods include on(), off(), toggle(), and blink().


To read the state of a button connected to GPIO2, you can use this code:

from gpiozero import Button
from time import sleep

button = Button(2)

while True:
    if button.is_pressed:

Button functionality includes the properties is_pressed and is_held; callbacks when_pressed, when_released, and when_held; and methods wait_for_press() and wait_for_release.

Button + LED

To connect the LED and button together, you can use this code:

from gpiozero import LED, Button

led = LED(17)
button = Button(2)

while True:
    if button.is_pressed:


from gpiozero import LED, Button

led = LED(17)
button = Button(2)

while True:


from gpiozero import LED, Button

led = LED(17)
button = Button(2)

button.when_pressed = led.on
button.when_released = led.off