How to setup raspberry pi zero w with MacOS X

  1. 1. Step 1 Prepare tools
  2. 2. Step 2 Download Raspbian Image
  3. 3. Step 3 Write Image to Micro SD card
  4. 4. Step 4 Plugin and setup
  5. 5. General Problems

Step 1 Prepare tools

To setup a brand new raspberrypi zero w you need prepare following tools:

  • A raspberrypi zero w
  • mini HDMI to HDMI convert
  • Micro SD card
  • Mouse & Keyboard
  • An external SD card reader

All coneectors can come from seller when you purchase Raspberrypi zero w.

Step 2 Download Raspbian Image

You can download official Raspbian OS from here. If you want use other operation systems, it is same setup setups.

Step 3 Write Image to Micro SD card

Be aware, writing image to micro sd card will wipe all data on it

Connect micro sd card to your mac through micro sd card reader.


Once you can see your sd card in finder, you need find out the disk in system.

Open a terminal and run diskutil list:


Find your sd card disk by its name. On my machine, the /dev/disk2 in red rectangle is the disk in system and copy disk2 only (not /dev/disk2) into clipboard.

Unmount the sd card from finder but do not unplug it.


Now, we need flash the image downloaded to sd card. You may need unzip it if the downloaded file is zipped by double click the file in finder. Below is the command to use:

sudo dd bs=4M if=<path to downloaded .img file>  of=/dev/r<disk>

Replace the path and <disk> to your own one.


Step 4 Plugin and setup

Now insert the flashed micro sd card to Raspberrypi Zero W and connect everything and you are ready to go.


General Problems

  • Resource busy: You need unmount the partitions mounted before you could use dd to write the disk. See above.
  • Permission denied: Make sure write protection on your sd card is open. Also use external SD card reader instead of Mac built-in one which could cause this issue.
  • Operation not permitted: Make sure your device exists in system (check /dev/diskN)