I want to be able to use Terminal on my OS X machine to connect to my Zero directly over USB. How can I do this?

  • This is only possible with the Zero and (perhaps, I'm not sure, and there may be some challenges) an A/A+. The other models have master host controllers only. USB is not a symmetrical relationship, which is why you cannot connect your laptop to your desktop this way -- in fact, doing so with a normal USB cable may cause permanent physical damage to either or both. The Zero does have a slave controller and can be used this way.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 11:59
  • Rather than close this as a duplicate, I have edited it to focus on the case where there is a potential answer besides "No". Note I believe this does require a form of IP networking, but (obviously enough) it is not ethernet.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 12:03
  • 1
    See raspberrypi.org/blog/#programming-pi-zero-usb Not having a Zero or A+ I haven't tried this myself.
    – Milliways
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 12:04
  • @goldilocks: So, assuming I have a Zero, a USB cable, and a Mac, and all I want to do is code or interact using Terminal, how do I proceed (the linked video seems to cover much more than I'm looking for)?
    – orome
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 12:06
  • 1
    In case there is any confusion, using a keyboard and screen to do some initial configuration does not mean setting up a GUI system, etc. While the process is presumably automated, keep in mind that something had to be done to arrange those cloud instances before you accessed them. However, in theory you should be able to take Raspbian out of the box, plug the Pi directly into another computer with an ethernet cable, and presuming that computer will provide DHCP service (I think this should be easy on OSX), access it right away via ssh.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


Follow this guide. The only things you need are a pi zero, standard usb cable, and a mac/pc. I tested the quick way on both my mac and a windows pc. On a mac i use the OSX terminal to ssh into the pi zero, and i can enable internet sharing for the zero (done in the mac settings). On the windows pc i had to install bonjour. Works great!

  • Note that for simple direct USB connection as Ethernet, all that's necessary is this.
    – orome
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 13:47

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