Set up your micro:bit
It's really simple to learn to code with your BBC micro:bit
You tell computers like the micro:bit what to do by giving them instructions. Sets of instructions for computers are called programs. Programs are written in code, a language that both you and the computer can understand.
You can program your micro:bit in the online MakeCode block or Python text editors. Our Let's code page helps you choose the one that's right for you.
You'll need either:
- a computer with a web browser and internet access
- a phone or tablet and our free micro:bit app for MakeCode coding on Android or iOS (iPhone and iPad) mobile devices
When you've written your code, you'll want to connect and transfer it onto the micro:bit.
Connect your micro:bit to your computer or mobile device.
- If you're using a computer, you need a micro USB cable to connect to your micro:bit to your computer's USB socket
- If you're using a phone or tablet, use Bluetooth to connect your micro:bit wirelessly
Transfer from a computer
Transferring your program to your micro:bit is called flashing because it copies your program into the micro:bit’s flash memory.
Your micro:bit will pause and the yellow LED on the back will blink while your program is being transferred. Once it’s copied across, your program starts running on your micro:bit.
There are two ways to transfer your program from a computer:
- Drag and drop is like copying a downloaded file from your computer to a USB memory stick. It works on any computer.
- Direct flashing sends your program from the code editor direct to your micro:bit. It works on any computer in two popular web browsers.
Drag and drop
When you plug the micro:bit into your computer's USB socket, it will appear on your computer like a USB memory stick called MICROBIT.
Download your program as a .hex file from the code editor to your computer, usually to your downloads folder. Then drag and drop the .hex file on to the MICROBIT drive.
After you transfer your .hex file, the MICROBIT drive will disconnect and reconnect as the micro:bit resets. The .hex file will not be listed on the MICROBIT drive after this. This is expected. Your micro:bit is not a flash storage device, but your computer shows it as one to make it easy to transfer .hex files.
The videos below show you how it works. Choose your computer type (Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux/Raspberry Pi) to see how it will work for you:
You can send programs direct from the online code editors to your micro:bit without the need to download and copy a .hex file. This is quick and easy.
To use direct flashing, you'll need to use a recent Chrome or Edge web browser that supports webUSB.
You may also need to update your micro:bit firmware if you got the device a long time ago. Find out more on our firmware page.
Note: direct flashing is quick and easy, and is great for debugging, but it does not save a copy of your program on your computer. If keeping a copy of your code on your computer or local network drives is important to you, for example for assessing students' work, you may want to use drag and drop instead, or remind students to download and save a .hex file when they have completed their project.
Transfer from mobile app
To get started on mobile, you need to download the free micro:bit app to your phone or tablet and follow the on-screen instructions. The apps use Bluetooth to transfer your code to your micro:bit, so you need to enable Bluetooth on your phone or tablet.
These videos help you understand how the mobile apps work with your micro:bit.
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