Keeping Your pi-top Up-to-Date

Your pi-top will ask you to update automagically, but there's more to updates then that.

It’s important to keep software on your pi-top up-to-date, as this helps to ensure that you have the latest features, bug fixes, and security improvements.

Checking for updates

pi-topOS makes running a software update easy.

First of all, make sure that you have an internet connection. pi-topOS checks for updates once a day whenever it detects an internet connection, and shows a notification when there are updates to install.

If you would like to force a check for updates, simply select this option in the start menu:

Check for updates menu

  • Note
    It may take a few moments for the update check to start after clicking the icon

When an update check has started, you will see the following notification:

Screenshot 2019-12-20 at 15.03.32

If there are updates, a notification will appear, that looks like this:

Screenshot 2019-12-20 at 15.03.41

If you close this notification, then you will need to either wait until the next day for another update check to occur, or force another update check as mentioned above.

Running an update

Choosing to preview updates will show you what software is going to be updated, and offer you the choice to update or cancel, whereas “upgrade now” will simply download and install the updates automatically.

  • Important!

Do not close the update window once an update has started.

Make sure that you have connected your pi-top to a power supply or have sufficient battery capacity to last for the entire update.

It is strongly recommended that you reboot after an update, to ensure that all updates are applied correctly.

Possible problems with updating

My updates were interrupted (I closed the update window, lost power or some other reason) and now updates don’t work!

“Under the hood”, the OS updater runs the following commands:

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade -y


Try and run this yourself in a terminal. This may solve your issue. However, it is likely that you will see the following:

E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem.

Try running the following to resolve the issue:

sudo apt install -f

sudo dpkg --configure -a

Something broke after an update - how can I find out what was updated?

If it were installed via the OS updater, or via the apt or apt-get commands, the history can be found in /var/log/apt/history.log. However, this will not list packages that were installed manually. To see all the packages that went through dpkg, you can look at /var/log/dpkg.log.

What about Python modules?

Some Python modules are installed via the same mechanism as other software on pi-topOS. Some, however, are installed via pip - Python’s package installer. These packages will not be updated with the OS updater.

It is recommended that you manage these with care. To list all of the Python packages, run the following:

pip freeze

To update all packages (not recommended if you depend on any projects unless you have a backup, or can revert the change yourself):

pip3 install -U $(pip3 freeze | awk -F'[=]' '{print $1}')