Installing OpenELEC Raspberry Pi image using Mac OS X

My friend had this Raspberry Pi B+ and wants to use it as a media centre to play his video collection from his NAS storage.  I gave him an option to install Raspbian then install on top those open source media player application. Ended up he wanted the easier way so recommended the OpenELEC. But there’s another thing, he only have Macbook Pro as a laptop.

OpenELEC or short for Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center, is a free and open source operating system that provides functionality as a complete media center as it is built around Kodi(previously XBMC).

Installation procedure:

Mac OS X (El Capitan 10.11)
Sandisk 8GB
Raspberry Pi 1 B+ model

  1. Download  and uncompress the OpenELEC disk image from OpenELEC website download page ( the stable Raspberry Pi builds Disk Image.
    URL used: 
  2. Insert the SD card to your Mac and open up a terminal window. Run the “diskutil list” command to list all the disk. Normally it will be in /dev/disk2
diskutil list

Sample output:

Darwins-MacBook-Pro:~ darwin$ diskutil list

/dev/disk0 (internal, physical):

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *256.1 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:          Apple_CoreStorage darwinX                255.2 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3
/dev/disk1 (internal, virtual):

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:                  Apple_HFS darwinX               +254.8 GB   disk1

                                 Logical Volume on disk0s2
/dev/disk2 (internal, physical):

   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER

   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *7.9 GB     disk2
   1:             Windows_FAT_32 boot                    58.7 MB    disk2s1
   2:                      Linux                         3.2 GB     disk2s2

Darwins-MacBook-Pro:~ darwin$

3.  Unmount the disk to write the image using the command below:

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Sample output:

Darwins-MacBook-Pro:~ darwin$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

Unmount of all volumes on disk2 was successful

4.  Use “dd” command to copy and convert a file to a standard output. Syntax will be like : dd if=path_location_of_image of=output . Sample command below:

dd if=/Users/vinyard/Downloads/OpenELEC-RPi.arm-5.0.8.img of=/dev/disk2

Sample output: (root access needed)

Darwins-MacBook-Pro:~ root# dd if=/Users/darwin/Downloads/OpenELEC-RPi.arm-5.0.8.img of=/dev/disk2

598016+0 records in
598016+0 records out
306184192 bytes transferred in 239.168115 secs (1280205 bytes/sec)

5. That’s it. Eject the SD card from Mac and insert it to Raspberry Pi. It is ready for use, just follow the GUI based wizard for the setup. Enjoy!

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  • Got to the write to disk2 and got “Permission denied”
    What is with that?

  • Hi Sandy,

    use sudo in front of the dd line like “sudo dd if=/Users/darwin/Downloads/OpenELEC-RPi.arm-5.0.8.img of=/dev/disk2”
    Your mac will ask you for your password and continue.
    The copy action might take 10 minutes or so. No progress bar is given so you just have to wait.

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