Accessing full Raspberry Pi SD card on a Mac

It can be annoying that on Windows and Mac by default they are unable to see the data partition on a Raspberry Pi SD card.

It is able to see the BOOT partition as it is formatted FAT32, a standard format used by a lot of different types of removable drives like flash drives and it can be read by just about every operating system.

The other partition, the one with the data on it is EXT3, the standard Linux filesystem format. Windows and Mac do not officially support it but as Mac OS is Unix based, it is a little easier to implement a driver for it that with Windows.


Just a word of warning, the fuse-ext2 driver is far from as polished as the NTFS (Windows) and HFS (Mac OS) drivers built by companies with entire teams to maintain them. Because of this there is a much higher chance you will corrupt or kill your SD card.

Although it has never happened to me, the chance it there.

You have been warned

Fuse for OS X

The first bit needed is Fuse (Filesystem in UserSpacE). Basically Fuse allows you to load additional filesystem drivers in as a userspace program. AKA it loads new filesystem drivers as user programs!

So go grab the most recent version (currently 2.7.0) from here and run the installer.

The important bit is when you get to the “Installation Type” section you must select all 3 options (including MacFUSE Compatibility Layer”).

Once the installation is complete, restart your computer.


Now we have the ability to add filesystem drivers, lets actually add the one we want. Although the name of the driver is Fuse-ext2, it also supports ext3 so we are fine.

You can download Fuse-ext2 from here then run the installer selecting all the default options.

That is it, ext3 filesystems connected to your Mac should now pop up as normal external devices in Finder.

But wait, I can’t edit them? They are read only!

Correct, by default Fuse-ext2 disables write access as it is still experimental and dramatically increases the chance of corrupting the SD card.

If you are happy with read only access and want to play it safe, reboot your computer to make sure everything is cleared out and you are done.

If though you want read/write access and you have read my big warning and are happy to take the risk, then open a terminal (search in spotlight for terminal or it is in utilities in your applications folder) and enter in

sudo nano -c /System/Library/Filesystems/fuse-ext2.fs/fuse-ext2.util

This will open up the fuse-ext2 configuration file in a commandline text editor called nano.

Scroll down (using the arrow keys to move around) till you find the mount function. Comment out the OPTIONS= and copy in the new line.


The final section should look like this.

function Mount ()
    LogDebug "[Mount] Entering function Mount..."
    # Setting both defer_auth and defer_permissions. The option was renamed
    # starting with MacFUSE 1.0.0, and there seems to be no backward
    # compatibility on the options.
    # OPTIONS="auto_xattr,defer_permissions"

    # The local option is only enabled on Leopard. It causes strange

To save the text file, hold the ctrl+x keys, then hit y followed by enter.

Now, just for good measure do one last reboot and that should be it.

Final Warning

One final suggestion, make sure you properly eject any filesystem using the ext2 driver! Pulling it out without ejecting is a sure fire way to get the SD card corrupt and only costs you a few seconds. Remember pulling out a pen drive without ejecting has a small chance of corrupting it and with this because you are using a driver that is a lot less stable, you are dramatically increasing the chance!

TalkTalk Digital Heros shortlisted

As some people have seen, I have been shortlisted for the TalkTalk Digital Hero’s Next Generation award!

To Vote    >> Click Here <<

If you just want to vote, then click this button!
If you just want to vote, then click this button!

What is TalkTalk Digital Hero’s?

TalkTalk Digital Hero’s is about recognising people who use technology for good. There are 9 categories in total and I have been shortlisted for the Next Generation category. The winner is decided by a public vote which is open till the 25th September.

The winner of each category receives the title of a digital hero and also £5000 to put towards continuing their project.


What is your project?

Showing kids how fun Computer Science is while supporting teachers across the UK to do the same!

The slightly longer description is…

1. Running Raspberry Pi and Computer Science workshops across Northern Ireland and continuing to run the Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam (which will hopefully now be monthly) to inspire kids and adults alike and show them how fun Computer Science can be!

2. Supporting continued development of RaspberryPi-LTSP, my software for setting up and managing Raspberry Pi classroom’s. It makes it possible for teachers to effectively use Raspberry Pis on a day to day basis in a classroom. So far I have done all this for free in my spare time. The software is completely free and opensource. Full details of RaspberryPi-LTSP can be found here

3. Supporting Computer Science teachers and educators across the UK. This has involved me providing teacher training, speaking at teachers conferences and developing educational resources for teachers.

I do all 3 of the above already in my spare time and for free – but this is becoming harder and harder as I start to need to earn money to help fund university. Winning this would allow me to continue my work and invest even more time into it!


What can I do?

The simplest thing you can do is vote for me! Vote on as many devices you can get your hands on! It takes 10 seconds, that is it.


Once you have done that, then please share this page with everyone you know via Twitter, Facebook etc!


Also, another Raspberry Pi community member, Alan O’Donohoe is up for the Volunteer award for his work with Raspberry Jams so vote for him too!

Vote for Alan