I want to ssh into the raspberry pi from a mac and be able to run an application with a basic GUI.

SSH is already working and good. I thought it'd just be as simple as ssh -X myusername@mystaticip

Then I could launch my program via the command line and a pretty window would pop up.

Go the tightvnc route? There doesn't seem to be a tightvnc client for mac?

  • If you have X11 installed on the Mac it should work with the -X option. Try running for example xterm or xeyes. Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 18:14
  • Should be asked on Unix & Linux.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 21:31

3 Answers 3


To make the answer a little more explicit, here are all the steps I took to get it working:

On the raspberry pi

Install tightvnc server (designed to support lower bandwidth)

sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

Configure vnc desktop with screen resolution and color depth

vncserver :1 -geometry 800x600 -depth 24

On the mac

Enable the native vnc client on the mac:

System Preferences >> Sharing >> Screen Sharing

Open vnc via the terminal (the default port is 5901 I guess)

open vnc://myUsername@rpiIpAddress:5901

Note that you will have to start tightvnc server on the raspberry pi (or ensure that it's running) before you can accept anything on the client side.

On the raspberry pi

  • I have been trying to get this to work for DAYS using both Microsoft RDP and VNC Viewer and I always get a blank black screen and I can't even see lxtask from ctrl+alt+del. For whatever reason, running vnc from command line works. Excellent!
    – Jacksonkr
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 21:58
  • @Jacksonkr its linux, what did you expect? ;) Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:10

You can also use xrdp.This tool is easy to use and there are also some clients for mac.

To install on the Raspberry Pi

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install xrdp

on the mac, use this software:

  1. MS-RDP-Client
  2. cord

for german user, there is a tutorial



You can use any VNC client on the Mac. The easiest is to use OS X Screen Sharing

Enter open vnc://pi@IP:5901 at the terminal prompt.

It is easier if you create shared keys, and put the public key on the Pi.

There is a little setting up for tightvncserver on the Pi to make it easier


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