This brief document describes how to write a Raspberry Pi ARM disk image to a SDHC memory card on a Macintosh. Raspberry Pi boot images can be found from their download page: http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads.
Due to the vast amount of traffic on the RasPi website’s download page, I would recommend either obtaining an image from using a BitTorrent client or downloading from a mirror site. Download mirror community sites can be found through the elinux RasPi website: http://elinux.org/RPi_Community. This example uses an ARM Debian 6 image from UK mirror site http://www.raspberrypidownload.co.uk/.
Select the Debian or other Linux distribution ARM image file you wish to download and save to your “Downloads” folder. Unzip the “debian6-17-02-2012.zip” file within a Finder window.
Insert a SDHC card which should mount to the desktop; you may need a card reader that can attach to a USB port. A 4 GB SDHC should be sufficient to store the Raspberry Pi disk image on.
Launch your Terminal application: “Applications ➜ Utilities ➜ Terminal“.
Assuming the image has been downloaded to your user “Downloads” folder, the following commands can be typed at the Terminal prompt “%“:
% diskutil list
Identify the disk volume where the 4 GB SDHC card has been mounted, e.g.,
- #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
- 0: FDisk_partition_scheme *4.0 GB disk3
- 1: DOS_FAT_32 NO NAME 4.0 GB disk3s1
Please note: to continue, you will require administrative (super-user) privileges.
Dismount the 4 GB SDHC disk; be careful not to dismount other disks you have on your computer, such as your “Macintosh HD” or “Time Machine” backup disk.
% sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk3
Write the disk image to the SDHC card.
% sudo dd if=/Users/<username>/Downloads/debian6-17-02-2012/debian6-17-02-2012.img of=/dev/disk3 bs=1m
Note: Please replace <username> with your login account’s username; this is the short-name which can be seen in the Terminal preceding the “%” or “$” prompt symbol.
The command prompt “%” will be left hanging during the writing operation and will appear once completed. The writing process could take between 10 – 30 minutes.
Below is an example of this process:
- [macosx:~] mylogin% sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk3
- Unmount of all volumes on disk3 was successful
- [macosx:~] mylogin% sudo dd if=/Users/mylogin/Downloads/debian6-17-02-2012/debian6-17-02-2012.img of=/dev/disk3 bs=1m
- 1886+0 records in
- 1886+0 records out
- 1977614336 bytes transferred in 1785.959001 secs (1107312 bytes/sec)
- [macosx:~] mylogin%
Once completed, the SDHC memory card can be ejected and the Terminal application can be closed.
SDHC memory card can now be inserted into your Raspberry Pi computer.