9 Step Raspberry Pi Setup (updated July 2020)

Update 2020-07-12: Thank goodness I found a better, easier, simpler solution to doing everything listed below via balenaEtcher. Now you can just ignore steps 3-8. Just install balenaEtcher and once you download the disk image via torrent just use the GUI of balenaEtcher to just copy that disk image to your flash drive and once the process is done (took about 7 minutes to copy over) then you can pop it into your RaspberryPi and be on your way!

I finally sat down and got the RaspberryPi 3 running I bought for fun a 4 years ago today. Here are the steps I took that worked:

  1. Download and install SD Card Formatter from sdcard.org. (There may be a way to also do this using Mac’s disk utlity or even right from terminal but this is the way that finally worked for me and it took so long I didn’t want to monkey with what worked afterwards.)
  2. Download the latest release here of the disk image for Raspbian. The latest version I installed is called “Buster.” I used the torrent file option to download because my first attempt using the zip didn’t work well during the extraction process.
  3. Once downloaded I used the tar extract to unzip because it’s a large file and standard unzip, again, ran into trouble. This worked: “$ tar xvzf file.tar.gz” … more written on tar extraction here.
  4. Open terminal and type in “diskutil list” to find the proper disk name for the SD card, while plugged into machine.
  5. Enter sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk[n] (replacing with the number of the disk, ie: /dev/disk2).
  6. Enter this (and be careful on entry!!): “sudo dd bs=1m if=~/Downloads/2016-03-18-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/rdisk[n]” – replacing [n] with the number of the disk … entering the wrong disk could ruin your machine, erasing your main volume.
  7. Wait until copy to disk is done! This could take several minutes. You can click CTRL+T to check on the status because you won’t see a status unless you have your SD card hooked into an external reader and you can see the lights blinking during data transfer, like I can.
  8. When the copy is finished enter “sudo diskutil eject /dev/disk[n]” to eject the disk!
  9. Plug the disk into your Raspberry pi. You should be ready to go! And the the Raspberry pi boots up right away when you plug the puppy in to a proper power supply.

The tutorial below partially helped me out with this — and also Stackoverflow for pointed me towards the tar terminal extraction command.