Is there a way to keep my RPi File System in sync with a directory on my Mac? Can I do this with rsync? (I write most code on the RPi, and would like a copy of it on my Mac, in case I corrupt the SD card)

2 Answers 2


The simple answer is No.

If you search you will find a couple of posts on this. I tried unsuccessfully for some time.

It is possible to rsync your Home, but in general it will not work. There are a couple of reasons for this;

  1. rsync differs quite significantly between Unix and Linux
  2. The users differ between the systems, making permissions difficult.
  3. The most significant reason is the restrictions macOS imposes due to SIP. It simply refuses to allow access to certain directories e.g. /.

You may be able to rsync certain directories on the Pi, provided they are normal user directories, with no special access restrictions.

I suggest you try other options; netatalk on the Pi allows you to access from Finder using afp://. ftp is also a useful.

In general macOS does not like files with execute permissions and refuses to edit bash scripts, even though they are plain text.

  • I tried samba. I can connect to my Pi, but cannot edit any files, although I changed the permissions of them on the Pi. Do I need to do anything on my Mac? I have found samba the easiest. Jul 11, 2017 at 23:40
  • @NullCoderExists I can't comment on Samba (I haven't used it for years, and found it a PITA). Using afp I can edit most files (exceptions being those with execute permission - which means most on FAT partitions, and those in "protected" directories, which violate some macOS foible). In practice I copy files to the Mac, change permissions, restore copied file. This is also a PITA but, in practice, does not affect many files.
    – Milliways
    Jul 12, 2017 at 0:05

You could use something called sshfs which allows you to mount a distant volume. Install this on your Mac then you should be able to mount a distant (RPI) folder to your local file system (Mac)

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