Updating VEX IQ (1st gen) Firmware with VEXos

Using VEX IQ (2nd generation)? See this article.

All of the VEX IQ Smart Devices (Robot Brain, Controller, Smart Motor, and sensors) contain their own internal processors and run special software. This software is the VEX IQ Firmware and is called VEXos.

If the Brain icon color on the VEXcode IQ Toolbar is orange when the IQ Brain is powered on and connected to your device, you will need to update your firmware.


This article will explain:

  • Downloading VEXos
  • Using VEXos to update VEX IQ
  • VEX IQ firmware (VEXos) and how it works with VEXcode IQ

Downloading VEXos


VEXos is a separate application and will need to be downloaded to your Windows or Mac device.


For more information about installing VEXos on your device, view these articles from the Knowledge Base:

Using VEXos to Update VEX IQ

Upon completing the download and installation of the VEXos application, your IQ Brain and associating motors and sensor’s firmware can be updated with the following steps.


Connect the device to the IQ Brain, and the IQ Brain to the computer.


Launch the VEXos Utility.



Ensure that all electronic devices (Smart Motors, sensors, and tethered controller) are connected to the IQ Brain, and connect the IQ Brain to your device via USB cable.
The parts that need to be updated are highlighted in yellow.


Select ‘Install’ on the VEXos Utility and do not disconnect any cables or close the utility until the update is complete.
Note: the IQ Brain might reboot during the update process. Only turn the IQ Brain back on if prompted to do so.


Listen and watch for a cheering sound and the message ‘All connected VEX products are up to date.’ Then the firmware update is complete and you can disconnect the IQ Brain from the computer. You have successfully upgraded the IQ Brain and component’s firmware.


When you connect your IQ Brain to VEXcode IQ after the firmware has been updated, a green Brain icon will appear in the Toolbar instead of an orange Brain icon. You will now be able to download and run VEXcode IQ projects.

VEX IQ firmware (VEXos) and how it works with VEXcode IQ

VEXos is a robotics operating system that harnesses the flexibility and power of VEX hardware for the rigors of competition and the diverse needs of education. This operating system uses real-time processing for repeatable operation at the fastest possible speeds.


Your VEX IQ Brain can be programmed using VEXcode IQ. VEXcode IQ requires the latest VEXos because:

  • Each update of VEXcode IQ will require the latest version of the VEXos firmware installed on the Brain before projects can be downloaded.
  • VEXos updates will include fixes for known bugs and add the software which is needed to operate any new devices introduced into the VEX IQ line.
  • Updates allow for advanced programming features.