macOS Host

This section show how to install an operating system to your ROCK960 using the SD Card method on a macOS host computer. ***

  • Step 1: Prepare MicroSD card
  • Step 2: Find SD Card Device name
  • Step 3: Recall Download Location
  • Step 4: Unzip SD Card Install Image
  • Step 5: Go to directory with SD Card Install Image folder using Terminal
  • Step 6: Locate SD Card Install Image
  • Step 7: Install Image onto SD Card
  • Step 8: Prepare ROCK960 with SD card
  • Step 9: Install image onto ROCK960

####Step 1: Prepare MicroSD card

  • Ensure data from mircoSD card is backed up
  • Note: Everything on microSD card will be lost by the end of this procedure.

####Step 2: Find SD Card Device name

  • You may need a MicroSD card adapter if your host computer only has an SD card slot
  • On the host computer, open “Terminal” application (Press Command+Space bar and type “Terminal”)
  • Remove SD card from host computer and run the following command:
    diskutil list
  • Note all recognized disk names (example: /dev/disk1)
  • Insert SD card and run the following command (again):
    diskutil list
  • Note the newly recognized disk. This will be your SD card.
  • Remember your SD card device name, it will be needed in Step 7.

####Step 3: Recall Download Location

  • Locate SD card install file that you got from Downloads page.
  • This file will be needed for the next step.

####Step 4: Unzip SD Card Install Image

  • Uncompress or unzip the SD Card Install Image . With Mac OS X, you can use the Finder app to locate the file and then double click to automatically unzip the file.
  • When unzipped, a folder (ex: rock960_ubuntu_server_16.04_arm64_20180115) will be created with the following contents:
    • Loader (rk3399_loader_v1.08.106.bin) we don’t need it for SD card writing here.
    • An install Image (system.img) (ex: rock960_ubuntu_server_16.04_arm64_20180115.img)

####Step 5: Go to directory with SD Card Install Image folder using Terminal

  • On the host computer, open the “Terminal” application (Press Command+Space bar and type “Terminal”)
  • cd to the directory with your unzipped SD Card Install Image
cd <extraction directory>

#<extraction directory> = /Users/YourUserName/Downloads
#For this example we assume the "SD Card Install Image" is in the Downloads folder.
cd /Users/YourUserName/Downloads

####Step 6: Locate SD Card Install Image

  • Make sure you are in the extraction directory

Unzipped SD Card download will be a folder. This folder should be found in your directory. Type ls from command line for a list of files that can be found in your current directory:


  • Unzipped folder should be called rock960_YY_arm64_XX, where Y can be Android or Debian and XX represents the release number
  • cd into this directory
cd rock960_ubuntu_server_16.04_arm64_20180115
  • Inside this folder you will find the install image.
    • system.img
  • This .img file is what will be flashed or copied to your SD Card.

####Step 7: Flash Image onto SD Card


  • SD card inserted into host computer
  • Recall SD Card device name from Step 2
  • From within the rock960_ubuntu_server_16.04_arm64_20180115 folder, using the Terminal execute the following commands:


$ sudo dd if=system.img of=/dev/XXX bs=4m
$ sudo sync


  • if=system.img: should match the name of the image that was downloaded.
  • of=/dev/XXX: XXX should match the name of the SD Card device name from Step 2. Be sure to use the device name without the partition name. For example, ‘of=/dev/disk1’
  • If you get an error message “Resource Busy”, you will need to unmount the SD card without removing it from the host computer.
    • Option 1:
    • In the Applications folder, find and click on the Utilities folder.
    • Click on the Disk Utility program to run it
    • Select the device that represents the SD card
    • Click on unmount and leave the SD card in the computer
    • Retry the ‘$ sudo dd if=system.img of=/dev/XXX bs=4m’
    • Option 2:
    • In the terminal window, enter this command:
      $ sudo umount /dev/<device name>
  • This command will take some time to execute. Be patient and avoid tampering with the terminal until process has ended.
  • Once SD card is done flashing, remove from host computer and set aside for Step 8 You may see a popup window that tells you the device is Not readable by the operating system. Ignore the message and remove the MicroSD card from the host computer.

####Step 8: Prepare ROCK960 with SD card

  • Make sure ROCK960 is unplugged from power
  • Connect an HDMI monitor to the ROCK960 with an HDMI cable, and power on the monitor
  • Plug a USB keyboard and/or mouse into either of the two USB connectors on the ROCK960
  • Insert the microSD card into the ROCK960
  • Plug power adaptor into ROCK960, wait for board to boot up.

Congratulations! You are now booting your newly installed operating system on SD card on the ROCK960!