Installing Python packages


Some Python packages can be found in the Raspbian archives and can be installed using apt. For example:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python3-picamera

This is the preferred method of installing software, as it means that the modules you install can be kept up to date easily with the usual sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade commands.

Python packages in Raspbian which are compatible with Python 2.x will always have a python- prefix. So, the picamera package for Python 2.x is named python-picamera (as shown in the example above). Python 3 packages always have a python3- prefix. So, to install picamera for Python 3 you would use:

sudo apt-get install python3-picamera

Uninstalling packages installed via APT can be accomplished as follows:

sudo apt-get remove python3-picamera

They can be completely removed with purge:

sudo apt-get purge python3-picamera


Not all Python packages are available in the Raspbian archives, and those that are can sometimes be out-of-date. If you can't find a suitable version in the Raspbian archives, you can install packages from the Python Package Index (PyPI). To do so, use the pip tool.

pip is installed by default in Raspbian Desktop images (but not Raspbian Lite). You can install it with apt:

sudo apt-get install python3-pip

To get the Python 2 version:

sudo apt-get install python-pip

pip3 installs modules for Python 3, and pip installs modules for Python 2.

For example, the following command installs the Unicorn HAT library for Python 3:

sudo pip3 install unicornhat

The following command installs the Unicorn HAT library for Python 2:

sudo pip install unicornhat

Uninstall Python modules with sudo pip3 uninstall or sudo pip uninstall.

Upload your own Python modules to pip with the guide at PyPI.


The official Python Package Index (PyPI) hosts files uploaded by package maintainers. Some packages require compilation (compiling C/C++ or similar code) in order to install them, which can be a time-consuming task, particlarly on the single-core Raspberry Pi 1 or Pi Zero.

piwheels is a service providing pre-compiled packages (called Python wheels) ready for use on the Raspberry Pi. Raspbian is pre-configured to use piwheels for pip. Read more about the piwheels project at