SSH into Pi Zero over USB

To access the Pi Zero over USB you have to edit the image first.

  • If you have the SD card in your Pi Zero, power it down and remove it
  • Put the SD card in an adapter and plug it into your computer
  • On a Mac the SD card should appear on your desktop
  • Open the SD card icon to explore the contents

At a command line do the following:

ls -ls /Volumes/

You should see something like this:

total 13 8 lrwxr-xr-x 1 root admin 1 Jul 28 09:41 Macintosh HD → / 5 drwxrwxrwx@ 1 mitch staff 2560 Jul 28 11:47 boot

The volume named boot should be the SD card with the Raspbian image on it.

Now do this:

ls -ls /Volumes/boot

You should now see the contents of the root of your Raspbian boot image.

There was a security update to the Raspbian images. Now to enable ssh by default you have to do the following:

touch /Volumes/boot/ssh

This will write an empty file to the root of your Raspbian image. That will enable ssh on startup.

  • In the root folder of the SD card, open config.txt (/Volumes/boot/config.txt) in a text editor
  • Append this line to the bottom of it: dtoverlay=dwc2
  • Save the file
  • In the root folder of the SD card, open cmdline.txt (/Volumes/boot/cmdline.txt) in a text editor
  • After rootwait, append this text leaving only one space between rootwait and the new text (otherwise it might not be parsed correctly): modules-load=dwc2,g_ether
  • If there was any text after the new text make sure that there is only one space between that text and the new text
  • Save the file

On a fresh image that has never been booted, you may see extra text after rootwait. But if you boot the pi from the disk at least once, that extra text may go away. That is why you must put the new text directly after rootwait - so it doesn't get accidentally deleted.

  • Put the SD card into the Pi Zero
  • Plug a Micro-USB cable into the data/peripherals port (the one closest to the center of the board – see picture above)
  • You do NOT need to plug in external power – it will get it from your computer
  • Plug the other end into a USB port on your computer
  • Give the Pi Zero plenty of time to bootup (can take as much as 90 seconds – or more)
  • Setting up Pi Zero OTG – The quick way (No USB keyboard, mouse, HDMI monitor needed)
  • Raspberry Pi Zero – Programming Over USB (Part 2)
  • HOWTO: Enable USB device mode on Pi Zero
  • Raspberry Pi Zero – Turning the Pi into a USB Gadget, over USB