Quickly Enable WiFi and SSH on a Headless Raspbian Installation

For those of us who don’t have any extra ethernet cables or external keyboards laying around.

Clone Raspbian to an SD card

  1. Download the ISO from raspberrypi.org
  2. Mount the SD card to your computer and find the location using diskutil list. You’ll get an output similar to below.
$ diskutil list

/dev/disk0 (internal):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                         251.0 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     314.6 MB   disk0s1
   2:                 Apple_APFS Container disk1         250.7 GB   disk0s2

/dev/disk1 (synthesized):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      APFS Container Scheme -                      +250.7 GB   disk1
                                 Physical Store disk0s2
   1:                APFS Volume Macintosh HD            77.1 GB    disk1s1
   2:                APFS Volume Preboot                 123.1 MB   disk1s2
   3:                APFS Volume Recovery                2.6 GB     disk1s3
   4:                APFS Volume VM                      1.1 GB     disk1s4

/dev/disk2 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *64.0 GB    disk2
   1:             Windows_FAT_32                         43.8 MB    disk2s1
   2:                      Linux                         1.8 GB     disk2s2

In my case, the SD card is located at /dev/disk2.

Flash the ISO

You’ll need to unmount the disk before flashing.

$ diskutil umountDisk /dev/disk2
$ sudo dd if=path/to/raspbian.img of=/dev/disk2 bs=4m

Mount the SD card

$ sudo diskutil mountDisk /dev/disk2

When mounted, the path on macOS is usually /Volumes/boot.

Enable WiFi

To enable WiFi, create a file named wpa_supplicant.conf in the root directory with the following content: `

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


Replace YOUR_SSID with the name of your SSID and YOUR_PASS with the password.

Enable SSH

To enable ssh, you just have to create an empty file named ssh in the root directory:

$ cd /Volumes/boot
$ touch ssh

All done!

Now boot up your Raspberry Pi with the SD card and you’ll be able to ssh in as the pi user.