Discovering Your Raspbian Version


Raspbian, officially rebranded as Raspberry Pi OS, is the default operating system specially optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware. With regular updates and several versions available, knowing precisely which Raspbian version your Raspberry Pi is running can be crucial for software compatibility, system troubleshooting, and accessing the latest features. This guide will walk you through how to find out your Raspbian version using straightforward steps.

Importance of Knowing Your Raspbian Version

Understanding your current Raspbian version can help with:

  • Compatibility: Ensuring that applications and peripherals will work correctly with your system.
  • Troubleshooting: Identifying potential version-specific issues when seeking help.
  • Upgrades: Deciding whether an upgrade is necessary to access new features or security updates.

Step 1: Accessing the Terminal

To find out your Raspbian version, you'll need to access the terminal. You can do this through the Raspberry Pi's graphical interface by clicking on the terminal icon, or if you're accessing your Raspberry Pi via SSH, you'll already be in a command-line environment.

Step 2: Checking the Raspbian Version

There are a few different commands you can use to uncover details about your Raspbian version. Each provides slightly different information, so you may want to try more than one to get a complete picture.

  1. cat /etc/os-release:
  • This command displays information about the version of Debian that Raspbian is based on, including the Raspbian version name. - Command:
cat  /etc/os-release
  • Look for PRETTY_NAME for the user-friendly version name.
  1. lsb_release -a:
  • This command provides the Linux Standard Base information about your Raspbian OS. - Command:
lsb_release -a
  • You'll see output including the version number and codename of your Raspbian.
  1. uname -a:
  • While not specific to Raspbian, this command gives you information about your Linux kernel version.
  • Command:
uname  -a
  • This is useful for understanding the underlying Linux kernel your Raspbian version is running on.

Understanding the Output

  • Version Name: Raspbian versions are usually named after characters from children's literature. For example, "Buster" is the version name for Raspbian based on Debian 10.
  • Version Number: Alongside the version name, you might see a version number that corresponds to the Debian version Raspbian is based on.
  • Kernel Version: The kernel version provided by uname -a can tell you about compatibility with certain types of software or hardware drivers.


Knowing your Raspbian version is essential for maintaining and optimizing your Raspberry Pi. Whether you're installing new software, upgrading your system, or troubleshooting, having this information at your fingertips simplifies the process. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can quickly and easily identify your Raspbian version, ensuring a smooth and efficient experience with your Raspberry Pi.