When I bought my Pi couple of months ago, I had a set up going where I didn't need any external monitor to work on the Pi while on the go with my Macbook Pro.

I'm usually in the Commandline, but I got X11 forwarding working back then with the following:

  1. Enabling X11Forwarding in /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

X11Forwarding yes
X11DisplayOffset 10

  1. SSH into Pi with `ssh -x @
  2. Start X11 Forwarding with /etc/X11/Xsession

Back then I was on Mountain Lion, and downloaded XQuartz, step (3) worked.

Just got a new MBP running El Capitan, and for whatever reason, step (3) above causes the Pi to pause for a sec, and do nothing, i.e. it looks like the command was executed, and shows command line again for the next command.

Where could I find X11 logs to diagnose this issue? The Xorg logs aren't updated for the X11 forwarding (that I could see).

Or better yet, has anyone got X11 forward working on El Capitan?


For the same purpose, the workaround was tightvnc following this post

  • This might have something to do with lack of X11 on El Capitan. This question is off-topic for this site.
    – Milliways
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 3:57
  • @Milliways. Could you elaborate? A link maybe?
    – snowbound
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


If you have XQuartz installed, and do ssh -X to another computer, XQuartz will start automatically. You can then start X applications in the ssh window, and they'll open on the Mac. You don't need to do the forwarding bits (steps 1 & 3).

Also note, you wrote ssh -x, which means disable tunnelling.


It's explained by Apple here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201341

X11 is no longer included in El Capitan, but Apple supports the XQuartz project.

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