This isn’t much of an article, the information here is quite readily available elsewhere, but I’m just documenting how I set up a Raspeberry Pi 3 with a removable hard drive to work as a DIY NAS at home. Just so I can come back to it if I have to do it again.

Note: was fun and all, and it does work, but not very smoothly, and it’s a bit of a pain. I should pay Dropbox | Google | Amazon and be done with it. Anyway… [hits publish]

Set up the Pi (no monitor) from a Mac

  1. Download the latest Raspbian release at

  2. unzip the file to get a whatever-version-raspbian.img file

  3. Insert micro-SD card in plastic adapter into the SD slot for my mac

  4. spot the mounted SD card from the command line:

    $ df -h
    Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused      ifree %iused  Mounted on
    /dev/disks3     xxGi    xGi   xxGi    xx% xxxxxx xxxxxxx    0%   /Volumes/MYCARD
  5. My SD Card is on /dev/disks3, now (substituting the actual number to the 3 given here) I can transfer the .img to the card.

    $ sudo diskutil unmount /dev/disk3s1 # unmount (but do not eject)
    $ sudo dd bs=1m if=./whatever-version-raspbian.img of=/dev/rdisk3 # copy on disk 3 (substitute proper number)
  6. add an empty file on the SD Card, simply called ssh

  7. eject the card: $ sudo diskutil eject /dev/rdisk3

  8. transfer the SD card to the pi, plug it with an ethernet cable to the router, and power it up.

  9. log in to the router’s admin page in your browser. For me it’s at You should be able to see your Pi in the list of attached devices, with its IP address and network name, say / raspberrypi

  10. ssh to the pi with ssh pi@ with the default raspberry password (good idea to change it)

  11. complete the install process :

    • select expand the filesystem and reboot when it’s done
    • connect again with ssh and do some house cleaning: sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade
  12. Let the Pi share its screen:

    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get tightvncserver # download VNC server
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ tightvncserver # start VNC server
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ vncserver :0 -geometry 1920x1080 -depth 24  # start VNC session
  13. Access the screen on the Mac: in Finder: Go > Connect To Server > vnc:// and provide the pi’s password.

Your Pi is ready and you should see a nice window within your mac.

Raspberry Pi screen sharing

Hard Drive

Basically follow, id est

# identify the name of the disk partition that points to your HDD, e.g. sda1.

sudo blkid
# get the location of the disk partition e.g. /dev/sda1. Also take not of the drive's UUID, which you'll need later. Should look something like 810A-1B1D

sudo mkdir /mnt/PIHDD
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/PIHDD

But you also want the Pi to automatically mount the disk on boot, and at the same place. So get the UUID of the Hard Drive using sudo vi /etc/fstab and add a line at the end looking like thus: UUID=5C24-1453 /mnt/PIHDD exfat defaults

cf man fstab for more info.

Sharing with your mac

On the Pi

  • install netatalk: sudo apt-get install netatalk
  • edit the default configuration to allow the Pi user to access the /mnt/PIHDD we just created:
    sudo nano /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default```
    At the end of the file, after or instead of Home Dir, add /mnt/PIHDD and name it, e.g. MyMedia, then restart netatalk: ```sudo /etc/init.d/netatalk restart```

On the Mac:

  • Finder > Go > Connect to server > afp://
  • make the mount sticky on the Mac side in System Preferences > User account > adding the volume to the login items.