Add flatpak support to your Raspberry Pi and unlock its full potential

Flatpak on the Raspberry Pi

Some time ago I wrote an article on our sister blog Ubunlog in which I explained how to add support for flatpack in Ubuntu. The issue or what makes the task a little difficult is that Canonical does not support it, and its software store, then known as Snap Store, does not even offer the possibility. There is also no direct support in Raspberry Pi OS, since it does not have any software store and what it offers is a package manager incompatible with Flathub.

But everything in Linux has a solution. It may cost more, it may cost less, but (almost) everything one distro can do another can do. The truth is that activating support for flatpak packages in the Raspberry Pi With its official system it is very simple, and the only obstacle is that you have to write the commands to install the software.

How to activate Flatpak support on the Raspberry Pi

The first thing I would like to comment is that It wouldn't make much sense to follow this tutorial if you have chosen the 32-bit version of Raspberry Pi OS. It's not that it's not compatible, but most applications only support 64-bit, whether on AMD or ARM. So if your system is 32-bit, you might as well stop reading. If you have 64-bit, the steps to follow to activate flatpak support and install Flathub apps would look like this:

  1. We open a terminal. No mystery here, even more so when the terminal app is fixed on the panel.
  2. We write these two commands (the first installs the necessary package and the second adds the Flathub repository):
apt install flatpak flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub
  1. After this, all that remains is to restart, and support would already be activated.

And how do I install Flathub software on my Raspberry?

Installing the software is also simple, although you have to do it the old way, that is, with the terminal. And to know what the command is, you have to snoop on Flathub. The steps to install RetroArch would be these:

Option A

  1. Let
  2. In the search box we enter the name of the software we want to install.

Find apps on Flathub

  1. As expected, the search will show us some results. We must see the program that interests us and click on its link.

Choose program to install

  1. There is a lot of relevant information on the software page. There are screenshots, an explanation and, at the bottom, the available architectures ("Available Architectures"). We have to check that it says aarch64, which indicates that it supports devices like the Raspberry Pi. If we only see x86_64, this architecture is the one used in computers (and consoles like the Steam Deck) and it is not worth it. For example, although it would be nice, RetroDECK is not compatible with the Raspberry Pi.

Check the architecture supported by the flatpak package

  1. If the app is compatible, we go back to the top and look for the "Install" button. If we click on it, the Raspberry Pi will download a file to install it. What we have to do is click on the drop-down menu, on the right side of the button, and there we will see the command to install the program. For this example it is flatpak install flathub org.libretro.RetroArch.

Access the command to install flatpak package

  1. We go to the terminal and write the installation command. Note: to paste in terminal, the shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+V.

Install flatpak package

  1. It is assumed that if we have put the Flathub command it will find the match. To begin the installation, press the Y key (yes) or S (Yes) if it were in Spanish. As when we do it with APT, it will show us the dependencies necessary, which are usually related to the platform. We press Y/S again to continue.
  2. We wait for the process to finish. Usually, the first packages we install also install more dependencies, so you can take your time.

Option B

Option B is more direct, but also provides less information. It's all from the terminal:

  • flatpak search package-name will search for all matches and display some information, such as program names.
  • The command to install the package is the same as the one explained in option A, but after "install" you must enter what appears in the "Application ID" column.

There could be an extra step, which is to launch the application, for which you have to go back to step 5 and this time write the command to launch the app, in this example flatpak run org.libretro.RetroArch. It shouldn't be necessary, but it doesn't hurt to leave the information in case the next point doesn't pass.

Additionally, this can be valid for any Linux distribution that allows the "flatpak" package to be installed and does not have a compatible software store.

Option C

This option I don't recommend it, but it is also a possibility. It involves installing a software store compatible with flatpak packages and searching for it from there. For example, Discover supports flatpak packages, and GNOME Software also, if added, adds/installs the necessary plugin (sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak).

Not being the best, if I had to recommend one of the two I would opt for GNOMEsoftware. And it's not because I like it more or less than Discover; It's for a library issue. Raspberry Pi OS uses its own graphical environment that they named Pixel, and Pixel, if I'm not very mistaken, is still based on LXDE. Now LXQt is being used more, but that is not the case in the case of Raspberry Pi OS, not yet and if I am not mistaken. Like GNOME, LXDE is more GTK than Qt, so the choice seems clear.

Icon in the applications menu?

RetroArch in the Raspberry Pi apps menu

After installing a flatpak package, the icon should appear in the applications menu. If this is not the case, you can always restart, run the command to start the program and if it still does not appear, you can create a .desktop file. But from the tests I have done, the icon ends up in its place.

To update the applications, what we have to do is write in the terminal sudo flatpak update. They will all be updated.

And with this many possibilities open up. For example, there has been Vivaldi for a few weeks, RetroArch, Pegasus, updated versions of GIMP and LibreOffice... So we will have the complete Raspberry Pi.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: AB Internet Networks 2008 SL
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.