Upgrade your Project for the Raspberry Pi 4

Updated 02 August 2019

The New Version of the Raspberry Pi 4 has started going out to makers everywhere. If you are wanting to upgrade your old RPi3 project to take advantage of all the cool new features there are a few steps we are going to have to take first to make sure everything will run.


Before we start

The first step in upgrading to make sure everything is compatible with the new Pi4, the good news is that they have kept a lot of it the same. To make this simple we will make a checklist of all the things we need to confirm before we start with the upgrade.


Raspberry Pi 3B+

Raspberry Pi 4

Suggested Action


5.1V 2.5A Micro USB

5.1V 3A USB-C

Get The Official USB-C Charger or just use the micro-to-C Adaptor



2x Micro HDMI

Get microHDMI cable or get the adaptor

OS Version Support

(Raspbian Values Shown)

All Versions post 2018-03-13

All Versions post 2019-06-20

Update to Latest version (We will do this next)

Dependant Software

Varies on application

Varies on application

Check the Project and git pages for the software you are using.


Make sure you do not forget the dependant software; this step will catch even the most experienced makers and result in a lot of frustrating hours. (Though that is what we thrive on ).

Updating the software

The first thing we need to do is to update the software on our old RPi3B+ (or older Pi) so that it will work with the newer hardware on the RPi4.

If your project is mission-critical this is a good place to save a backup copy of your SD card.

Once we have Booted Up and connected to a WiFi network with an internet connection the RPi3 we will need to open the Terminal.

If you are using Buster we can just go ahead with the install from here and it will update and work. If you are running Strech or Jesse you will need to do run the following commands first. 

Be warned Upgrading To Buster from a previous Distro is not guaranteed to work so make sure you have backed up first. 

grep -rl stretch /etc/apt/ | sudo xargs sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g'

once this is done it is a good idea to clean apt-get  

 Sudo apt-get clean

We will need to run the update comment to get the latest repositories and versions available.

 Sudo apt-get update

This will take a moment to run once it has complete check the output for errors and run again if you get any. Once it runs without errors now we are ready to upgrade with the command:  

Sudo apt-get upgrade

This step may take a while and you may have to hit 'y' a few times during the updates depending on how old the version you are running is and how much you have installed. (You can always discuss project idea in the forum while you wait ).

You may need to alternate running these until they complete without error. Once this is finally done. You will need to run the following command, this will also take a while and need you to hit y at a few points. If you get any hash sum mismatch errors run apt-get clean again.  

sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade.

This will take after making the Stretch to Buster upgrade this took over an hour to run, so maybe make a coffee and watch some Videos. 

Now that we have run these scripts we should test our project to make sure that it will still run with the updated image. Once we have confirmed this we can shut down the Pi and we are ready to swap the SD card into the Pi4.

Now our RPi4 should power up and be ready to power our existing project to new heights of processing power If we remembered to find updates for all the packages we were relying on.


The only noticeable change to the RPi4 hardware is the upgrade to USB-C and dual microHDMI these changes have meant that most of the old cases will no longer work with the Pi4.

The mounting holes in the board have remained the same so if your current solution does not include the USB or HDMI then your mounting will work straight away.

Now it is just a matter of adding the adaptors or replacing the HDMI and USB charging cable, everything else will just connect as it did on the RPi3B+.


You may find that you need to run clean, update, upgrade and dist-upgrade to get it to work, but you should eventually get them to run without errors,

We should now have our Project working just as it was before, but now with a bit more power! We hope that this guide has been helpful in getting your project ready for the Rpi4, if you run into any issues with this guide or have advice for other things to watch for when upgrading your Pi join the conversation below and let us know.

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