#dfu #firmware-updater #usb #updater #bose

bin+lib bose-dfu

Firmware updater for various Bose devices

2 stable releases

1.1.0 Jul 30, 2022
1.0.0 Mar 21, 2022

#1950 in Command line utilities

MIT license

898 lines

For users

bose-dfu is an open-source, command-line firmware update tool for certain Bose speakers and headphones. Unlike Bose's official updater, bose-dfu

  • runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, and any other OS supported by Rust and HIDAPI
  • can downgrade firmware as well as upgrade it
  • doesn't rely on a web service to run

Using this tool, you can enter and leave firmware update ("DFU") mode on compatible devices connected via USB. After putting a device in DFU mode, you can write new firmware to it.

See the next section for a list of devices known to be compatible and the one after that for instructions on how to find firmware images for your device (which can also help you determine compatibility).

Tested devices

Use this tool at your own risk. I will not take responsibility for damage bose-dfu does to your device, even if that device is on the following list:

  • SoundLink Color II (used for initial development)

It's likely that most Bose devices that take updates in .dfu format work with this tool, but I can't guarantee that. If your device isn't on the list above and you use this tool, you are volunteering to potentially brick your device. bose-dfu will warn you before it operates on an untested device. If you successfully use bose-dfu with such a device, please open a pull request to add it to the list.

Incompatible devices

The following devices are known not to work with bose-dfu because they use a substantially different update protocol:

  • Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (tchebb/bose-dfu#1)

Obtaining firmware

No firmware images are included with this tool, so you'll have to obtain those yourself. Firmware images end in the extension .dfu, and this tool does some basic verification of images you attempt to write to ensure they are for the right device and have not mistakenly become corrupt. There are two ways to get official firmware images that I'm aware of: directly from Bose, and via the unofficial archive linked above.

Directly from Bose

Bose hosts the latest firmware (and possibly earlier ones, too) for each device at https://downloads.bose.com/. Although directory listings aren't enabled, https://downloads.bose.com/lookup.xml lists all devices.

Each <PRODUCT> element in lookup.xml holds both the USB product ID of that device when in DFU mode and the URL of an index.xml file for the device. index.xml lives in a directory named for the device's codename and holds the filename(s) of its latest firmware image in one or more <IMAGE> elements. Firmware files live alongside the index.xml file that refers to them.

To find firmware for your device, you can run bose-dfu info and match the "Device model" field against directory names on Bose's server. Alternatively, you can put your device in DFU mode using bose-dfu enter-dfu, get its USB ID using bose-dfu list, and match its USB PID (the part of the ID after the colon) against a <PRODUCT> element in lookup.xml.

Via unofficial archive

The bosefirmware GitHub user maintains repositories archiving old firmwares for various lines of Bose devices. Several of these repositories, most notably ced, contain .dfu files.

I am not affiliated with this user and do not guarantee the authenticity or accuracy of the files their repositories contain.



If you already have a Rust toolchain installed on your computer, installing bose-dfu is as simple as running cargo install bose-dfu. To get a Rust toolchain, you can use rustup or install rust using your system's package manager.

Alternatively, you can find prebuilt binaries for Linux, Windows, and macOS on the releases page.

If you use Linux and encounter permission errors or see INVALID in the output of bose-dfu list, you likely need to give your user permission to access Bose HID devices. You can do this by copying 70-bose-dfu.rules into /etc/udev/rules.d/ and reconnecting the device (no reboot needed). If your device is untested, it won't have an entry in that file so you'll need to add one yourself.


bose-dfu has several subcommands, which are summarized in its help text:

bose-dfu 1.0.0
Firmware updater for various Bose devices

    bose-dfu <SUBCOMMAND>

    -h, --help       Print help information
    -V, --version    Print version information

    list         List all connected Bose HID devices (vendor ID 0x05a7)
    info         Get information about a specific device not in DFU mode
    enter-dfu    Put a device into DFU mode
    leave-dfu    Take a device out of DFU mode
    download     Write firmware to a device in DFU mode
    file-info    Print metadata about a firmware file, no device needed
    help         Print this message or the help of the given subcommand(s)

To update a device, you'll need to run at least bose-dfu enter-dfu, bose-dfu download, and bose-dfu leave-dfu, in that order. The other subcommands help you inspect the current state of devices and firmware files. Notable is info, which tells you the current firmware version a device is running.

Subcommands that perform an operation on a device support arguments for selecting which device to talk to. You can use -p to select by USB product ID, -s to select by USB serial number, or both together. Additionally, the same subcommands support the -f/--force flag, which has no effect for tested devices but is required to perform operations on untested ones.


Can updating my device's firmware brick it?

Quite possibly; there have been reports online of even the official Bose updater bricking headphones. That being said, my SoundLink Color II falls back to DFU mode when its firmware is corrupt, allowing for easy recovery. I have not yet managed to brick it while developing this tool, and my attempts have included intentionally disconnecting its USB cable in the middle of a firmware download.

Can bose-dfu read firmware as well as writing it?

Not out of the box. Although USB DFU supports an upload operation, which is supposed to read back the exact firmware that was last downloaded, Bose's implementation of it returns an image that's not identical and which can't be successfully re-downloaded. As such, I've intentionally omitted an upload subcommand to prevent confusion. There is an upload() function in src/protocol.rs, though: if you want to use it, adding a corresponding subcommand is up to you.

For developers



The USB protocol implemented herein was derived entirely from USB captures of Bose's official firmware updater. No binary reversing techniques were used to ascertain or implement the protocol.

Bose's DFU protocol is nearly identical to the USB DFU protocol, except it communicates via USB HID reports instead of raw USB transfers. This one main change, presumably made because communicating with an HID device doesn't require custom drivers on any major OS, seems to imply all the other notable changes (e.g. an added header for uploads and downloads to hold fields that would otherwise be part of the Setup Packet).

As such, I have not written a formal protocol description for Bose DFU. The USB DFU specification, in combination with this tool's source code and comments therein, should sufficiently document the protocol.

Prior work

I am not aware of any other third-party implementations of this protocol. However, Bose appears to have at least two first-party implementations: the first is the "Bose Updater" website and associated native application available at https://btu.bose.com/, which is what I took USB captures from in order to develop bose-dfu. I did not inspect it in any further detail.

The second is the Electron-based "Bose USB Link Updater", which bundles and invokes a patched version of dfu-util that implements this protocol (which Bose seems to call "USB-DFU" based on strings in the Electron code). It also includes a custom utility called "dfuhid" that puts a device into DFU mode, serving the same purpose as bose-dfu enter-dfu.

Notably, I have been unable to find source code for this modified dfu-util. dfu-util is a GPL application, so Bose is obligated to provide source upon request. However, based on their license text, I expect they will honor this obligation only if you mail them a physical letter and pay for them to ship you the source on physical media. This is more work than I want to do, but I will happily review the source if someone else goes to the trouble of getting it. It may well contain useful information that can be used to increase bose-dfu's reliability or device compatibility.


~117K SLoC