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Update devices

Arm Mbed OS allows you to update your device firmware using Pelion Device Management. Mbed CLI includes features to prepare and ship updates for devices managed through Device Management Portal.

Mbed CLI provides the subcommand mbed device-management to manage devices (mbed dev-mgmt and mbed dm are also available as shorter aliases). The remainder of this document uses the mbed dm alias for all device-management subcommands. This document explains the steps to enable and use Device Management with a project.

Tip: This page is about using Device Management to update an application on a device in the field. To update dependencies of an application on your computer, see mbed update.


To use the mbed dm command to update a device, your device must be running an application with Device Management Client and a supported managed or unmanaged bootloader.

This command only works for devices running Device Management Client, and the application is combined with a bootloader. To test this feature, you can run the Device Management Client Example or using our tutorials on one of our reference boards.

Project setup

Configure your Device Management SDK API key, target and toolchain. Obtain the API key from Device Management Portal.

$ mbed config -G CLOUD_SDK_API_KEY <API_KEY>
$ mbed target <TARGET>
$ mbed toolchain <TOOLCHAIN>

Note: The API key must have Administrator privileges to use this feature.

Initialize the Device Management feature of Mbed CLI with the following command:

$ mbed dm init -d "<company domain name>" --model-name "<product model identifier>"

Note: If you do not want to enter the subject information for your update certificate (country, state, city, organization and so on), add the -q flag to the command above.

This command asks for information about your update certificate. After completing the prompts, Mbed CLI creates several files:

  • A certificate in .update-certificates/default.der.
  • A matching private key in .update-certificates/default.key.pem.
  • A set of default settings in .manifest_tool.json.
  • Device Management update credentials in update_default_resources.c.
  • Device Management settings in .mbed_cloud_config.json, including default settings for:
    • A unique vendor identifier, based on the domain name supplied as the -d parameter to mbed dm init.
    • A unique model identifier, based on the vendor identifier and the model name supplied as the --model-name to mbed dm init.
    • The path of the update certificate and private key.
  • Device Management developer credentials in mbed_cloud_dev_credentials.c.

Note: The certificate created in mbed dm init is not suitable for production. Use it for testing and development only. To create a certificate for production purposes, use an air-gapped computer or a Hardware Security Module. When going to production, conduct a security review on your manifest signing infrastructure because it is the core of the security guarantees for Update client.

Single-device update

Mbed CLI provides a subcommand, mbed dm update device, for development with a device and for testing purposes. After following the steps in Project setup, perform firmware updates on a device by running:

$ mbed compile

This generates an image to update the device with. After generating the image, update the device through Device Management with:

$ mbed dm update device -D <device ID> -m <target>

This performs several actions:

  1. Uploads the image, generated by mbed compile, to Device Management.
  2. Hashes the image, and create a manifest that links to its location in Device Management.
  3. Creates an update campaign for the supplied device ID, with the newly created manifest.
  4. Starts the campaign.
  5. Waits for the campaign to complete.
  6. Deletes the image, manifest and update campaign out of Device Management.

Multidevice update

To update more than one device, use Mbed CLI to generate and upload a manifest and image to Device Management Portal. Then use Device Management Portal to create device filters that include many devices in an update campaign. After the steps in Project Setup, you can create and upload manifests and images by running:

$ mbed compile

This generates an image to update the device with.

After generating the image, upload the image and manifest with:

$ mbed dm update prepare

mbed dm update prepare automatically uses the update image that mbed compile generates. You may provide a name and description for the image and corresponding manifest with additional arguments:

$ mbed dm update prepare -n <PAYLOAD_NAME> -d <PAYLOAD_DESCRIPTION>\
    --manifest-name <MANIFEST_NAME> --manifest-description <MANIFEST_DESCRIPTION>

Both methods of creating a manifest use the defaults created in mbed dm init. You can override each default using an input file or command-line arguments.

Once you execute mbed dm update prepare, Mbed CLI automatically uploads the image and manifest to Device Management, and you can then create and start an update campaign using the Device Management Portal.

Advanced use

Mbed CLI allows for significantly more flexibility than the model above shows in exactly the same way as the manifest tool. You can override each of the defaults that mbed dm init sets by using the command-line or an input file. Mbed CLI supports a variety of commands. You can print a full list of commands by using manifest-tool --help.

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