How to set up the barebone Raspberry Pi from a Mac?
A simple Google search for “Raspberry Pi headless setup” brings up many links with 2 on top of them
None of the articles above was what I was after. In one case different hardware was considered (a router with DHCP server running, which I don’t have) and the other was just too much information to handle (super-detailed but… 7+ post to setup a Pi?).
So here it is, my own version of the process.
- Raspberry Pi + SD card
- MacBook Pro (OS X Mavericks – 10.9.3)
- LAN cable and power chord
To be perfectly clear “headless setup” in this case means
- NO monitor
- NO keyboard/mouse
- only network with NO router
To prepare the SD card for the Raspberry Pi simply download the operating system image desired (in my case Raspbian) from
and unzip it (please note that for NOOBS images more steps – not listed here – are required).
Write the unzipped image file to the card using the software
Once completed , remove the card properly and put it in the Raspberry Pi then power up the board.
The network setup seemed to be the most tricky part at first just because the Raspberry default ethernet interface expect to be assigned an IP from a DHCP server; this is of no use as we don’t have a router that serves it.
So, we have to connect the Raspberry to the Mac directly and make it the latter act as a DHCP server. Once again Google proposed “fairly complex” solutions to the problems ( like Running Mac OSX own DHCP server or How to run a DHCP server on an ethernet port of a MacBook successfully?)
The simplest way to enable the DHCP server is let OS X take care of it turning on the “internet sharing” on the wired ethernet inteface, from System Preferences > Sharing (see pictures) – source link
Please remember to assign a static IP (like 192.168.2.1) to the Mac ethernet interface.
Install and configure “netatalk” for file sharing and “avahi-daemon” for autodiscovery
– use “x11vnc” to share the current session (using “tightvnc” will share a new session)