I am using a Mac to SSH into my Raspberry Pi running on Raspbian Lite. I want to launch a proper GUI-based browser (not a terminal-based one like Lynx) on my Raspberry Pi which should show up on my Mac.

  • A little context would help here. Why do you want to do this? What's wrong with using Safari directly on your Mac? Jul 18, 2019 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


There are lots of potential configuration gotchas, but basically you can do it via ssh forwarding by using -X on the ssh command line. Another approach: If you know the IP address of your Mac and your Mac Xserver is at :0 (typically the default?), you should be able to do something similar to the following:

$ RpiBash: declare -X DISPLAY=macipaddress:0
$ RpiBash: firefox                              # or chromium if you wish

The second method can fail if your Xserver has access control enabled. in that case, you can use xhost + to enable wide-open access control, or xhost +rpi-ipaddr to allow the Pi to display on the Xserver.


You are talking about Raspbian lite. You don’t have X installed on the lite version of Raspbian, so you could only make use of lite version browsers... emacs and similar... which are text based browsers.

You may have to install Xserver to be able to use chromium and other “real” browsers, the only problem is that it comes with so many dependencies that you might as well just install the full version of raspbian and uninstall whatever you don’t think you’re going to need...

  • This is not true, one can run an X server on Mac/Windows/Whatever instead of the RPi. Chromium doesn't have Xorg as dependency. Jul 18, 2019 at 8:57
  • yes but this was not the question, he asked to open a browser using an active ssh connection on a lite raspbian image. Yes you can install x server on anything but the lite version of raspbian does not support graphical browsers.
    – Agustin
    Nov 11, 2019 at 3:30
  • 1
    What prevents a browser on Raspbian lite from using an X server on another host? Nov 11, 2019 at 7:49

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