Delta update support


Please note we provide these manual steps as an example only for creating Delta images on Debian-based distros. For a delta integration tested in our pipelines, please use Yocto to generate your images with delta.

You have access to robust delta updates if you are using Mender Professional or Mender Enterprise. This section describes how to enable delta updates on your devices by installing the mender-binary-delta Update Module with your Yocto Project build.

Once your devices support installing delta updates, see Create a Delta update Artifact for a tutorial on creating a delta update from two Operating System updates.


To use delta update, you must be using a read-only root filesystem. There are several ways of achieving this, which is out of this tutorial's scope. Generally speaking, ensure the bootloader and the /etc/fstab don't contain any rw reference.

You will need the binaries from the downloaded content both on the host and the device. More information on where to place every file in the sections below.

For additional troubleshooting, you can check the Delta updates troubleshooting guide.

Download mender-binary-delta

If you are using Hosted Mender, download the mender-binary-delta archive with the following command:


Replace the value of HOSTED_MENDER_EMAIL with the email address you used to sign up on hosted Mender, then enter your hosted Mender password when prompted to proceed.

If you signed up using your Google or GitHub login, use the email address linked to that account and enter x as the password.

On the other hand, if you are using on-premise Mender Enterprise, download using the following command:


The archive mender-binary-delta-1.4.1.tar.xz contains the binaries needed to generate and apply deltas.

Unpack the mender-binary-delta-1.4.1.tar.xz in your home directory:

tar xvf mender-binary-delta-1.4.1.tar.xz

The file structure should look like this:

├── aarch64
│   ├── mender-binary-delta
│   └── mender-binary-delta-generator
├── arm
│   ├── mender-binary-delta
│   └── mender-binary-delta-generator
├── licenses
│   └── ...
└── x86_64
    ├── mender-binary-delta
    └── mender-binary-delta-generator

The mender-binary-delta-generator

You will need this binary on the host to create a delta between two artifacts locally.

The enterprise plan allows auto generation of delta images directly on the mender server.

Copy the generator compatible with your workstation architecture to /usr/bin; for a x86_64 one, it should look like this:

sudo cp mender-binary-delta-1.4.1/x86_64/mender-binary-delta-generator /usr/bin

Integrate mender-binary-delta into your image

Delta updates require the mender-binary-delta Update Module and the configuration file (mender-binary-delta.conf) on the device side. The steps on how to achieve this will depend on the way you're generating the image. We'll present only the location where you need to place the files.

Copy the mender-binary-delta binary into /usr/share/mender/modules/v3/ on your device from the content you downloaded in the previous step. Please ensure you're copying the binary from the directory specifying your architecture.

The mender-binary-delta.conf is a configuration on the device telling the update module the location of A/B partitions. It must be generated and placed in /etc/mender/mender-binary-delta.conf.

The content of the mender-binary-delta.conf configuration file is case-dependent. Below is an example of how it might look, but you might need different /dev/* locations depending on your device's name:

  "RootfsPartA": "/dev/mmcblk0p2",
  "RootfsPartB": "/dev/mmcblk0p3"

Next steps

For information on creating Delta update Artifacts, see Create a Delta update Artifact.

For more information about delta updates, including how to deploy them, as well as troubleshooting, see the Mender Hub page about mender-binary-delta.

We welcome contributions to improve this documentation. To submit a change, use the Edit link at the top of the page or email us at .