No HDMI Monitor? No Problem!

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in documentation, making | No Comments

When you work with the terminal to do stuff on your Pi, you’re using the computer as a “headless system” or as a computer without a monitor. There is lots you can do with a haeadless Pi, however there are instances when plugging in screen can helpful, or even required by a project. In these situations the easiest thing to do is to plug an HDMI monitor, and a USB keyboard and mouse, directly into the Pi. It’s an easy, plug-and-play situation.

However, not everyone has access to an HDMI monitor.

If you’re in that boat you’re not completely out of luck.Through the screen sharing options on your computer it is possible to have your regular computer monitor function as a monitor for your Pi.

As with so many Pi projects, this isn’t a difficult thing to achieve, however it does take a few steps, and you need to use the terminal.

The Adafruit tutorial on Remote Control with Virtual Network Connection (VNC) is a very comprehensive and easy to follow guid to screen share with your Pi. If you’re a Mac user you only need the Installing VNC part of the guide. I’ve detailed my process below:

Install VNC on Your Pi

1. Login to your Pi by opening up a terminal and typing:

ssh pi@raspberrypi.local

Note: If you’ve changed the hostname on your Pi replace “raspberrypi” with your name, e.g.: pi@myproject.local

2. Follow the instructions in the Installing VNC portion of  the Adafruit guide.

Access the Pi Desktop

If you’re using a Mac, like I am, you don’t need to install a VNC client. You can use the Finder to access your Pi’s desktop.

1. Go into finder, then press


2. In the server address bar type:


Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 1.53.41 PM

Note: If you’ve changed the hostname on your Pi replace “raspberrypi” with your name, e.g.: pi@myproject.local

3. Click Connect

4. You’ll be prompted for your password, enter it.

Welcome to your Pi’s desktop!

Leave a Reply