Writing micro SD cards for your shiny new Raspberry Pi 5 is much easier than it was back "in the day," thanks to the official Raspberry Pi Imager. The latest update, v1.8.1, sees a new UI that helps find the right image for your chosen model of Raspberry Pi—hat tip to OMG Ubuntu for spotting this.
The Raspberry Pi Imager UI was previously focused on selecting an image from a plethora of options and then selecting a drive to write to. For v1.8.1, the first option in the sequence is to select your model of Raspberry Pi. This then filters the "Operating System" option to only show images compatible with your model.
At the time of writing, the selection of images for the Raspberry Pi 5 is a little lackluster. There are official Raspberry Pi OS images for full installs and lighter options. The new Ubuntu 23.10 release is also listed. Other than that, no emulators or specialist operating systems can download and flash via the tool. But the Raspberry Pi 5 isn't officially released until Monday, October 23rd, so there will soon be many more images to flash to your Pi.
For older models of Raspberry Pi, we have a smorgasbord of operating systems to choose from. The official releases, Ubuntu, digital signage, kiosks, emulation and home entertainment are all just a few clicks away.
Previous versions of Raspberry Pi Imager featured a settings cog that, when clicked, would open a dialog where we could configure Wi-Fi, SSH keys and user setup. This seems to be hidden (it was originally hidden), but pressing CTRL + SHIFT + X will open the OS Customisation menu.
This menu has all of the tools that we need to configure our Raspberry Pi install.
If you have your own custom Raspberry Pi OS image, then you can drag and drop the file onto the app, ready for use.
This official release has yet to be updated on the official Raspberry Pi software page, but we can see the downloads via its GitHub page. There are downloads for Windows, macOS and Debian Linux-based systems.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".