I'm trying to SSH into a RPi from a Macbook Pro so I can run commands on the pi without hauling around an extra keyboard, monitor and mouse.

I can't connect via an ethernet cable because my macbook doesn't have an ethernet port.

I've successfully connected through a shared network, but I want to connect to it in a place I don't have a router/switch available.

I've spent days trying to figure this out and am at my wits end, and I can't seem to find a solution anywhere that specifically solves my problem of not being able to connect via ethernet with a pi-2. Does anyone know how to accomplish this?


4 Answers 4


Your Mac can create an ad-hoc network that you can connect your Raspeberry Pi to.

Just click the WiFi symbol at top right of your Mac screen and create a network with the name of your choice. Configure your Pi to connect to it.

See here.

  • This was by far the easiest and most simple solution. I can't believe I spent so much time trying to make this work when it took just a couple of minutes until I could ssh into my RPi using this method. Best part is I didn't have to purchase extra paraphernalia like a USB ethernet adapter, etc!
    – darksinge
    Oct 24, 2017 at 21:39
  • For those who might be interested, I found this short article that shows how to create the ad-hoc network with your raspberry pi, which could be useful if you're unable to create it using your normal PC. I tested it out and it worked using RPi 2 Model B running Stretch.
    – darksinge
    Oct 24, 2017 at 21:42
  • 1
    Glad it worked for you, and thank you for sharing the article on how to do it from the other side. Good luck with your project! Oct 25, 2017 at 6:25

You can use a USB to serial (TTL) adapter. This will allow you to watch the system boot and run commands. It requires you hoot up the adapter to the header pins.


Since you can't use an ethernet cable, the Pi 2 will have to have a wifi adapter. If you cannot do that, then you are out of luck -- unless you want to get a USB serial cable and use the Pi's serial port, but in that case, it would make more sense to get a USB ethernet adapter. They are slightly more expensive (say $20 vs $10) but ethernet will be much, much, much better than a UART (serial) link.

Presuming you have a wifi adapter for the Pi, you can then set one or the other up as a wifi hotspot and have the other one connect to it. If you've ever shared your phone's internet access with a non-cellular device, this is exactly the same idea, except no one will have any internet to share.

There are many tutorials online and some Q&As here about setting up the Pi as a wifi hotspot. Note that much of that may focus on sharing internet, which obviously you don't have to be concerned with; you are going to end up with a network of 2.

The adapter must support access point (AP) mode; most of them do. To check:

iw list

This outputs quite a bit. Near the top should be a list, "Supported interface modes", which will include "AP" and/or "AP/VLAN" if the adapter is hotspot capable.

The two fundamental pieces of this are:

  • hostapd, which I presume is short for "host access point daemon".
  • A DHCP server implementation, e.g., dhcpd (note: not dhcpcd, the extra "c" being for client, whereas you want a server). This is responsible for providing the connected Mac with an IP.

Of course, you may find it easiest to set the Mac up as the hotspot instead.


I'd suggest a USB to LAN adapter (very cheap on eBay) and set static IP addresses on both devices.

Or the hotspot method mentioned above.

Or - use a smartphone with hotspot, Fing (to scan for the R-Pi IP and scan running services) and JuiceSSH (for the SSH bit)

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