Raspberry Pi: Set Up Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) – Mac OS

This guide shows how to set up a Remote Desktop Connection with a Raspberry Pi using RDP on Mac OS. The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is the proprietary network protocol developed by Microsoft to connect to a remote desktop computer and access its graphical user interface. This allows you to connect your Mac computer to your Raspberry Pi and control its GUI remotely.

Raspberry Pi Setup Remote Desktop Connection RDP Mac OS

We have a similar guide for Windows PC: Raspberry Pi: Set Up Remote Desktop Connection (RDP)


Before proceeding, make sure you check the following prerequisites.

xrdp (open-source Remote Desktop Protocol Server)

xrdp provides a graphical login to remote machines using RDP (Microsoft’s proprietary Remote Desktop Protocol). xrdp accepts connections from a variety of RDP clients. We’ll be using Microsoft Remote Desktop Client for Mac OS (but it’s also compatible with Windows, iOS, and Android).

xrdp allows you to connect to your Raspberry Pi to control its desktop remotely.

Please note that your Raspberry Pi must be running a full Raspberry Pi OS – it will not work with a headless or Lite OS.

Installing xrdp on Raspberry Pi (Remote Desktop Protocol)

Having an SSH connection established with your Raspberry Pi, update and upgrade your Raspberry Pi, if any updates are available. Run the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Next, we need to install the xrdp software on your Raspberry Pi:

sudo apt install -y xrdp

That’s it. You don’t need to change any configurations, everything will work out of the box with the default settings.

Finally, run the following command to get the Raspberry Pi IP address. You’ll need the IP address to establish the remote connection.

hostname -I
Raspberry Pi IP Address

Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Software – Mac OS

The Microsoft Remote Desktop software can be installed in the App Store. Open the App Store.

Mac OS Open App Store

Search for “Microsoft Remote Desktop” on the App Store and click the “Get” button:

Mac OS App Store search install Microsoft remote desktop

After the software is installed, click “Open“.

Mac OS Open Microsoft Remote Desktop software

Next press the “Add PC” button to set the Raspberry Pi settings.

Microsoft Remote Desktop software add PC

Type the Raspberry Pi IP address in the computer field and press the Add button:

Microsoft Remote Desktop software type Raspberry Pi IP Address save

The Raspberry Pi PC will be added to your Microsoft Remote Desktop software, then click the “Connect” option.

Microsoft Remote Desktop software connect to Raspberry Pi

Click the “Connect” button to establish the connection.

Microsoft Remote Desktop software Connect

Next, type your Raspberry Pi username and password and click the “Continue” button to login into your device.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Type Raspberry Pi username password authentication

You might be prompted one more time for the authentication if you just powered your Raspberry Pi, so enter again your username and password.

Raspberry Pi Authentication username and password

That’s it! You can now control your Raspberry Pi desktop computer remotely from Mac OS.

Raspberry Pi IP address RDP establish remote desktop connection Mac OS

Wrapping Up

In this tutorial, you learned a very convenient, practical, and easy way to establish a remote connection with your Raspberry Pi using xrdp. This is our favorite method to access the Raspberry Pi desktop because you don’t have to connect an additional screen, keyboard, and mouse. You can also use RDP on a Windows PC.

We hope you found this tutorial useful. You can check all our Raspberry Pi projects on the following link:

Thanks for reading.

Learn how to build a home automation system and we’ll cover the following main subjects: Node-RED, Node-RED Dashboard, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, ESP8266, MQTT, and InfluxDB database DOWNLOAD »
Learn how to build a home automation system and we’ll cover the following main subjects: Node-RED, Node-RED Dashboard, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, ESP8266, MQTT, and InfluxDB database DOWNLOAD »

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