Installing Raspbian Jessie with Pixel on macOS Sierra

Getting up and running with Raspberry Pi is pretty straight forward. Either, you can start with NOOBS which Raspberry Pi Foundation recommends for beginners or use some GUI tool like Etcher.

I prefer writing the image on SD card - in this case, Raspbian Jessie without using any third party apps.

Let's get started.

Download the latest version of Raspbian Jessie. Once it downloads, unzip the archive with your favorite tool or use the following command.

unzip /Users/joshi/Downloads/  

Now connect the microSD card to your laptop and identify it using the following command.

diskutil list  

The output will look something similar to this which is itself very self-explanatory. We are working with disk3 here.

/dev/disk3 (internal, physical):
   #:      TYPE NAME               SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme   *7.9 GB    disk3
   1:      EFI EFI                 209.7 MB   disk3s1
   2:      UNTITLED                7.6 GB     disk3s2

Unmount your SD card using the disk identifier before copying image into it.

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk3  

Finally copy the image file into your microSD card using the dd and the same disk identifier we used earlier. If it fails, try disk3 instead of rdisk3 in the example below.

sudo dd bs=1m if=/Users/joshi/Downloads/2017-01-11-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/rdisk3  

Just for the information, rdisk3 is significantly faster than disk3. Using disk3, it took me 8 minutes to copy 85MB of data. So, refrain using it until it's the last available option.

The image file is almost 4.5GB so be patient, and you can check the progress by pressing Ctrl+T which will look something like this:

85589440 bytes transferred in 397.809795 secs (2148236 bytes/sec)  

Once it's finished, plug your SD card and boot the Raspberry Pi.

If you are willing to unplug your monitor, keyboard, and mouse and replug them on Pi - your device is ready to go. Use the default credentials to log in and get started (if required).

The default username is pi and the default password is raspberry.

For someone lazy like me, ssh is the savior. Though it still needs to be connected to the router for the first time using the RJ45 cable for basic housekeeping like configuring WLAN.

Since Raspbian has the SSH server disabled-by default, we have to enable SSH manually by putting a file name ssh in root of SD card.

touch /Volumes/boot/ssh  

Then we need to find the Raspberry Pi's IP address on local network.

arp -a | grep "raspberrypi"  

If Raspberry Pi is properly connected to router you will get output like this.

raspberrypi ( at b8:27:eb:7e:45:14 on en0 ifscope [ethernet]  

Now you can ssh into Raspberry PI using the following command.

ssh pi@  

You may want to change the default password for obvious security reasons. Run the following command to change your password.


Lastly, update the firmware and reboot.

sudo apt-get update  
sudo apt-get upgrade  
sudo rpi-update  
sudo reboot  

This tutorial covered installation of Raspbian Jessie with Pixel which will probably work on every model of Raspberry Pi. If you are someone like me who do not intend to use GUI - Raspbian Jessie Lite is a fabulous alternative with just command line interface.

Let me know if I missed something. Till then, keep building amazing stuff with Pi.

Rajender Joshi

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