How to Access Raspberry Pi Imager from the Terminal


Raspberry Pi Imager is a user-friendly tool for installing operating systems on Raspberry Pi devices. While it features a graphical interface, there are situations where you might prefer or need to use it from the terminal. This guide will show you how to access and use the Raspberry Pi Imager from the terminal, making your Raspberry Pi setup process more efficient.

Equipment Needed

  • Raspberry Pi or a computer with Raspberry Pi OS installed
  • Internet connection
  • Access to the command line

Update Your System

Before using the Raspberry Pi Imager from the terminal, ensure your system is up-to-date.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Install Raspberry Pi Imager

If you haven't already installed Raspberry Pi Imager, you can do so easily via the terminal.

sudo apt install rpi-imager

Using Raspberry Pi Imager from the Terminal

List Available Operating Systems

To see the available operating systems that you can install using Raspberry Pi Imager, use the following command:

rpi-imager --list-os

This will display a list of OS options that you can choose from for your Raspberry Pi.

Writing an Operating System to an SD Card

  1. Identify Your SD Card:

    First, identify the device name of your SD card. You can use the lsblk command to list all block devices and find your SD card.


Look for your SD card in the list. It will usually be something like /dev/sdX or /dev/mmcblk0.

  1. Write the OS Image:

Use the rpi-imager command to write the desired OS image to your SD card. For example, to write Raspberry Pi OS, you would use:

sudo rpi-imager --cli [OS_NAME] --device [DEVICE_NAME]

Replace [OS_NAME] with the name of the OS you want to install (e.g., raspios_lite_armhf) and [DEVICE_NAME]with your SD card's device name (e.g., /dev/sdX).

Here’s an example:

sudo rpi-imager --cli raspios_lite_armhf --device /dev/sdX

Customizing the Installation

You can also customize your Raspberry Pi OS installation by preconfiguring settings such as hostname, enabling SSH, and setting up Wi-Fi. This can be done by creating a configuration file before writing the OS image.

  1. Create a Configuration File:

Create a text file with your desired settings. For example, create a file named config.txt with the following contents:

  1. Use the Configuration File:

Pass the configuration file to the rpi-imager command:

sudo rpi-imager --cli raspios_lite_armhf --device /dev/sdX --config config.txt

Checking the Status of the Operation

You can check the progress of the imaging process by monitoring the terminal output. Once the process is complete, you should see a confirmation message indicating that the OS image has been successfully written to the SD card.


Accessing Raspberry Pi Imager from the terminal provides a powerful and efficient way to set up your Raspberry Pi, especially for those who prefer command-line interfaces or need to automate the setup process. By following this guide, you can easily install and configure Raspberry Pi OS using the terminal, ensuring your Raspberry Pi is ready for use quickly and effectively.

Whether you’re a seasoned Raspberry Pi user or just getting started, mastering the terminal commands for Raspberry Pi Imager will enhance your workflow and give you greater control over your device setup.