How to Enable SSH on Raspberry Pi OS Without a Screen

The SSH protocol is disabled by default.
John John (304)
5 minutes

If you're like me, you don't always have a spare keyboard/monitor available to set up your Raspberry Pi. I rely heavily on SSH to set up my Pi, but in late 2016 Raspbian images started shipping with SSH disabled for security reasons. Fortunately, you can still enable SSH without a screen using the latest operating system, Raspberry Pi OS.

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Put the micro SD card into your computer

This guide assumes that you've already installed Raspberry Pi OS on your Pi. If not, go ahead and install it. Then put the SD card into your computer.

You'll have to locate the boot directory, on my Mac it's in /Volumes/boot.

If you're on a Mac, open Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) and type:

cd /Volumes/boot

On Windows, you'll need to use Command Prompt instead.

All you have to do is create an empty file called ssh.

touch ssh

If this file exists, ssh will be enabled when the pi is booted.

Connect the Pi to a power source to power it on. As long as the Pi is connected via an Ethernet cable (or wifi), you should now be able to ssh in to the Pi.

If you don't have easy access to an ethernet connection, you can configure a WiFi connection similar to how we enabled SSH.

Start using that brand new Pi!
John John (304)
15 minutes

So you just got your brand new Raspberry Pi. Awesome! This guide will show you how to set up a brand new Raspberry Pi.