How to prepare SD Card for Raspberry Pi on a MAC

If you didn’t buy the pre-populated SD card to boot up your Pi, you need to prepare one yourself. Relax, it’s easy…

These instructions are for preparing the SD card on a MAC, but should work on various flavours of Linux as well.

  • Insert the card into the card reader (my MAC had an integral SD card reader but you can use any)
  • Format it as FAT filesystem via Disk Utility (easily found via Spotlight search – top right lens)
  • Eject the SD Card
  • Fire up a shell/terminal window and run df -h
  • Insert the SD card into the card reader
  • Run df -h again on the terminal and note the device that wasn’t listed when you first issued df -h command. This is your SD card. Mine was called /dev/disk3s1 but yours may vary.
  • Issue the command: sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk3s1 (change the disk3s1 to match your device name for the SD Card).
  • Issue the command: sudo dd if= of=/dev/disk3s1 bs=1m (again change the /dev/disk3s1 to match yours)
  • Wait a looooong time… My 8 GB card took at least 15minutes by the watch!

The SD card is now ready to be used in a Raspberry Pi – Enjoy!