I have ordered a raspberry pi 4, a 32GB microSD card, a USB-C SD card reader for my Mac (It has no SD card slot), a Ethernet to USB-C converter, and a power supply. With these tools how do I fully set up my raspberry pi on my MacBook Air?

2 Answers 2


Raspberry Pi Imager for MacOS

Visit: https://www.raspberrypi.com/software/ and download the Raspberry Pi Imager for MacOS.

Connect the MicroSD card to your MacBook and open the Imager app.

You can use the Advanced option in the Inager App to customize your Raspberry Pi OS. For example set your hostname, username, password, WiFi, ssh etc.

Use the Imager app to write the Raspberry Pi OS into the MicroSD card.

Safely remove the MicroSD card.

Insert the MicroSD card in the Pi.

Connect the Pi to a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

Connect the Pi to power.

Additional Links

  1. Here is the Official page with an YouTube video
  2. A tutorial with pictures for MacOS

Hope this helps

  • Thanks man I’ll make sure to follow this :D is there a step by step tutorial I could follow with images and such? If not its fine
    – Pixeled
    Apr 6, 2022 at 16:41
  • @Pixeled I have added a couple of links in the answer.
    – user68186
    Apr 6, 2022 at 17:00

The currently accepted answer is correct, and will likely "get you where you want to be". I'm adding this only to let others know that the "official way" is not the "only way". I feel that I surrender some of my options when I use a tool like the Raspberry Pi Imager app - but that's me. Here's another way to install:

  1. Select and download the .img file for the distro you want to try. Note that there are several other Linux distros that may be installed on RPi (e.g. Ubuntu, Arch, etc). Until fairly recently these could be downloaded from the Raspberry Pi website, but they seem to have been pulled for some reason.

  2. You need an app to write the downloaded image to your SD card. On my Mac, I've installed balena Etcher for this purpose. It's easy to use - intuitive it seems to me, and once your image file is in place, and your SD card connected to your Mac, it makes quick work of "flashing" the SD card with a bootable image.

  3. Although you now have a bootable image on your SD card, there are two things you will probably want to add - actually you will need to add them - if you have chosen to run your RPi "headless"; i.e. the Lite versions of the image files.

  4. If you view your just-flashed SD card in Mac's Disk Utility or Finder app, you may notice that only one partition can be seen - the partition named boot. boot is a FAT32 partition, and can be read and written by almost every OS on the planet today... even the Mac :). In this boot partition you will add the "two things" mentioned above - two files - to the boot partition:

    • ssh : an empty file named ssh (hint use touch from your Mac's CLI)
    • wpa_supplicant.conf : only needed if you plan to connect via WiFi - and you probably do.

Once you've completed these 4 steps, your SD card is ready. It may be inserted in the RPi, and upon application of power it should boot. A bit more stuff here if you're interested.

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