The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon

Three ways to change your wifi pass­word and SSID on a head­less Rasp­berry Pi local­ly and remote­ly


Chang­ing a WiFi net­work on a Rasp­berry Pi is a triv­ial thing.

But with a dig­i­tal pic­ture frame that has no key­board or mouse attached, and a mon­i­tor which dis­plays only pho­tos by default, it can be rather tricky to change the WiFi pass­word or sta­tion name.

I will show you three sim­ple solu­tions to this prob­lem.

You are about to change your router pass­word, but you haven't done it yet

This is the most com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion because you still have access to your Rasp­berry Pi pic­ture frame.

So you first change the pass­word on your Pi, and then you make the changes in your router.

When you first set up your Rasp­berry Pi based on the instruc­tions in my arti­cle, you cre­at­ed a new file called


in the /Volumes/boot direc­to­ry.

But where is wpa_supplicant.conf now?

After sys­tem set­up, wpa_supplicant.conf is moved to anoth­er direc­to­ry.

You can now access it by ssh'ing into your Pi and typ­ing

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Just add anoth­er net­work below the last line in the script or change the cre­den­tials of your pri­ma­ry net­work.


You can add sev­er­al SSID and pass­word com­bi­na­tions here.

You may also want to add a fall-back SSID/Password which can help you to access your Pi in a dif­fer­ent net­work.

In that case, you can make a tem­po­rary change in your WiFi router, update the infor­ma­tion of your Pi to your new set­tings and change your router pass­word back again.

The pass­word on your WiFi router has already changed, and you can­not tem­porar­i­ly change it back

This sit­u­a­tion requires phys­i­cal access to your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame.

One option is to remove the SD card, plug it into anoth­er Lin­ux com­put­er like e.g. the Rasp­berry Pi and enter in Ter­mi­nal:

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Just like above, you will see this para­graph:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

Update your WiFi login details, save & exit the edi­tor and start your Pi again.

Should you not be able to remove the SD card because of tight space behind your pic­ture frame or too much glue where you shouldn't have glued, then use an Eth­er­net cable to con­nect your Pi with your router direct­ly.

SSH in your Pi, enter in Ter­mi­nal

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

and make your changes.

Should the dis­tance between your router and your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame be longer than the longest Eth­er­net cable in your house, you could alter­na­tive­ly use Pow­er­line adapters and estab­lish a con­nec­tion this way.

You need to change the pass­word at your par­ents' place in anoth­er town

Ok, so you have built this won­der­ful dig­i­tal pic­ture frame, and you have giv­en it to your par­ents for Christ­mas. And they don't live close by, so you can't just dri­ve by after work and fix it.

New WiFi pass­word? No rea­son to stop send­ing pic­tures.

The eas­i­est way is to add a sec­ond WiFi net­work in the wpa_supplicant.conf file with your par­ents' net­work infor­ma­tion - before you pack it up as a Christ­mas gift. The Rasp­berry Pi will check at boot if any of the com­bi­na­tions work.

Also, include a fall-back net­work like "frame" as SSID and a sim­ple pass­word like "123" for tem­po­rary use.

If you install a tool like Dat­a­plic­i­ty on the frame, you can access the remote Rasp­berry Pi pic­ture frame via ssh just like you would from at home.

Dat­a­plic­i­ty allows you to access your par­ents' Pi over the inter­net but obvi­ous­ly only as long as the net­work is still up.

So, if the pass­word or sta­tion ID is about to change, but you still have time to make the changes on the Pi, then you can do every­thing via Dat­a­plic­i­ty with no required on-site inter­ac­tion. Just use the com­mands above.

If this is not an option, your par­ents may be able to take the pic­ture frame to neigh­bor­hood friends who can tem­porar­i­ly change their WiFi to the fall-back net­work defined by you.

You can then estab­lish a con­nec­tion via Dat­a­plic­i­ty and enter the new pass­word.

And final­ly, there is always the option of a tem­po­rary eth­er­net cable con­nec­tion to your par­ents' or friends' router. You can then again use Dat­a­plic­i­ty for access.


If you pre­pare your sys­tem upfront with a fall-back net­work and install Dat­a­plic­i­ty or a sim­i­lar tool, chang­ing the WiFi pass­word on a head­less Rasp­berry Pi sys­tem, local­ly or remote­ly, is a piece of cake.

As with many things, a lit­tle upfront plan­ning can save a lot of time!

(Fea­tured Image by Weba­roo)