Introduction: MacPi FTP

There are many ways to interface between your PC/Mac and the Raspberry Pi, but I find this one to be the easiest. Other ways include:

* USB stick ('/media/sda1') where you have to mount and unmount the stick each time. Good code learning experience, but not efficiently useful to do over-and-over again.

* SSH is a good way to learn SSH codes (PUT, TAKE), but again it has to be setup on both ends

I would recommend using the features of the OS X Finder and the capability of Raspberry Pi (RPi), once we teach RPi to speak Apple Talk.

Step 1: Setup Your Raspberry Pi

This is a one time setup of your RPi system.

This approach requires us to 'teach' the RPi how to talk Apple Talk. It is a matter of installing a module of code .

sudo apt-get install netatalk

This addition to your Raspbian environment is a one time setup. You will not have to do this again.

You will also need to know your RPi IP address: hostname -i

This Netatalk code can be explored in more details at:

I would recommend reading up on it. It provides new insights of what OS X can do. It also teaches you that any CPU, Raspberry Pi or other, can be taught to communicate with the OS X environment.

** If you RPi is powered up, headless or not, whether or not you are logged in; you can use this feature from the OS X 'Finder'

Step 2: Setup Your OS X System

This is a one time setup in Terminal to open your connection to the RPi. To access your RPi:

open atp://

where the IP address (not real here) is your RPi hostname IP address.

This function teaches your OS X environment to recognize your RPi as a shared device.

Step 3: Your Finder With RPi Connection

Your done with all the setups. They are in the past now. From now on, if your RPi is powered up, you can access it from your OS X 'Finder. In the figure, you will see mine sample is called ampay-pi, and it is treated like a removable storage device, i.e., USB stick or Hard-drive. You can disconnect or eject it.

In some cases you will see the 'Home Directory' and in others you will not.

Can this be any easier?

Step 4: Logging Into RPi

In some cases, your OS X environment will remember your user name and password and automatically log you in.

But, sometimes you just have to 'Connect As ..." or just click on the shared drive title. It will then ask your user name and password.

This is the way your RPi will present itself every time. What to cut/paste files or directories between your Macintosh and Raspberry Pi. Easy as using the 'Finder', but you can also drag and drop.

Step 5: Keeping It Simple ...

But, you can just as easily open and make text changes to your RPi files right on your Macintosh and save directly back to the RPi.

A 2-step routine and you now have a simple to use edit, copy, and paste feature built into your OS X 'Finder.'


tbitson (author)2015-08-23

This looks like file sharing. Where's the FTP part?

DrCarrott (author)tbitson2015-09-29

By definition File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files from one host to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet. I.e., a way of file sharing. What this process does, using Netalk, is handles the 'put' and 'take' process so that it is done in the background. That is why I am very impressed with Netalk.

So yes it is file sharing or FTP with a Mac GUI interface. Very useful.

By the same process, one can create a smart connect/reject procedure for USB (or memory stick) connections for the Raspberry Pi. If you want to get really good at coding - give this a go. It will increase your appreciation of what is done on Windows OS or Apple's OS X in connecting/ejecting USB devices. FYI, MS and Apple both use he USB human interface device class (USB HID class) to poll a USB device.

derickson8 (author)2015-08-21

awesome haven't try ed yet but have had the issue that my of is elsewhere and all I have on hand is my mac books and is a pain in my a $$ this should be a relief

seamster (author)2015-08-18

Nicely done. Thanks for sharing this!

DrCarrott (author)seamster2015-08-18

I like to share with others from my experiences. But, I have learned more about computers through the Raspberry Pi than I did in graduate school. The nice thing about it is, if you have a question it is easy to play-test-experience with it. But, there is a huge network of people out there that can be very helpful.

Thanks of the comment "seamster" don't forget to VOTE on the Raspberry Pi challenge. If you vote for me -thank you. But, please vote.