Quick Headless Raspberry Pi Setup

2 min readMay 10, 2017


To run any software on your Raspberry Pi, it clearly needs to be set up. However, without an HDMI capable device or a USB keyboard we won’t get anywhere without a headless setup. You will need a DHCP capable router, a Raspberry Pi, a SD card, and a SD card reader/writer (if you computer doesn’t already provide one).

We’ll use Raspbian jessie lite and etcher. Putting Raspbian onto the SD card should present no issues. Simply download etcher and Raspbian, and follow the etcher instructions.

Recent versions of Raspbian have disabled access via SSH by default, in an attempt to prevent the proliferation of Raspberry Pis joining botnets.

SSH disabled by default; can be enabled by creating a file with name “ssh” in boot partition

Source: Raspbian release notes 2016–11–25

Thus you will need /boot/ssh; simply touching that file should be sufficient.

touch /Volumes/boot/ssh

should do on macOS. Note: if you don’t see /Volumnes/boot try re-inserting the SD card.

Eject the SD card, and boot up your Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi should come up as raspberrypi on your network, depending on your setup, logging in via SSH might be as simple as

ssh pi@raspberrypi

Or you might have to figure out the Raspberry Pis ip address from your router. The default password is raspberry and you are strongly advised to change it upon logging in for the first time using passwd.

You can now configure your Raspberry Pi to your liking using

sudo raspi-config

I would also suggest to install any pending updates:

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude upgrade

With all that in place you can enjoy playing with your Raspberry Pi. Next we will create a cross compilation toolchain and cross compile software to run on the Raspberry Pi.

If you also have a tontec mz61581 tft display, you might want to add


to your /boot/config.txt and append fbcon=map:10 to your /boot/cmdline.txt to enable the the display during the boot process.

You might also need to download the latest mz61581-overlay.dbt from itontec and place it into /boot/overlays.