Many among you might have heard about the process called “Jailbreaking”. It has been around for quite some time and is being used on most of Apple’s iOS devices. Basically, it is the process where one roots the device to give free access to its firmware. This then allows users to apply any modifications or tweaks not officially supported by Apple to the certain iOS device.
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But there is this one device that most people don’t realize is capable of being jailbroken – the Apple TV. Since the release of its second iteration which upgraded the device to using the custom-built Ax chips in the hardware side and iOS on the software side, hackers and developers alike explored the possibility of the advantages that the process would likely give; and the end results were positive.
Why would you want to do it?
Here is a brief rundown as to why should you jailbreak your Apple TV:
- It is essentially a tiny UNIX computer with a powerful graphics processor, just like any other Ax-based iOS device. Technically speaking, it is capable of doing a lot more things.
- It is capable of streaming and decoding a wide range of video formats (like .avi and .mkv) without the need of converting the files.
- It is XBMC compatible. XBMC is an open-source media player application which is arguably the best media software for Home Theatre Personal Computers.
- 3rd party applications and tweaks can be installed to enhance or improve your device’s features and capabilities.
- It is cheap. At $99 SRP, it is basically cheaper than most Home Theatre Personal Computers out there, that is once you jailbreak it.
- The process is easier to be done as it has before.
How do you do it?
Once you are convinced to push through with the process, here is what you will need to do it:
- A Mac (preferred) or PC with the latest iTunes installed.
- A first or second generation Apple TV (the third generation cannot be jailbroken yet as of the moment).
- Jailbreaking software (Seas0nPass for Windows or Mac is highly recommended and will be used for this tutorial)
- nitoTV Installer
- A micro USB cable.
- The Apple TV Remote.
With all of the above in hand, here is a step-by-step procedure on how to do it:
First of all, this may be a bit complicated for novice users, so therefore we strongly recommend you to get these tools: Jailbreak Software
The Seas0nPass software downloads as a .zip file. Extract it first and then launch the application. Once launched, there should be two icons present in the application window: “Create IPSW” and “Boot Tethered”. Click on “Create IPSW” and the application will then download the software for your device. It might take some time for the download to finish so be patient.
Once the download is done, the application will then prompt you to connect your device to the computer using a micro USB cable. Do so for the process to continue. You might find instructions from Seas0nPass’ website which tells you to disconnect your device’s power cord. Generally, for most people, the process works even with the power cord plugged in the device, but you’re free to explore as to which procedure would work best for you.
Moving on, once connected the computer, your device should now start to have its white dot-like light in front flashing rapidly. The application at the same time will then prompt you to let your device enter DFU mode. With this, point your Remote to the device and then hold both the Menu and Play/Pause buttons for around 7 seconds or until the application indicates that the device has entered DFU mode.
After doing so, iTunes will then automatically open on your computer and will start restoring the software in your device. At this point, the restore process will be running some scripts on your computer which will be trying to locate and open the proper files needed for the process to push through. There may be some cases where you will need to interrupt the automated script process and intervene by clicking “Open” on the file dialog that will appear in order for the process to proceed.
Once done, iTunes will then indicate that the restore process is successful. At this point you can connect your device back to your HDTV, or you might want to install some 3rd party tweaks and applications on it.
After jailbreaking your device, it might seem as if nothing has changed when it comes to its User Interface. This is where you will need to install XBMC, which is a media software that makes changes to the default Apple TV UI and adds more capabilities to your device. To install it, you will need a Mac (MacBook or iMac). Then, create a folder named “Pwnage” on your desktop. Consequently, download the nito Installer software into that folder and extract it in there. Launch the application once the extraction is done.
Once the nitoTV installer is open, select your device from the dropdown menu in the window. Verify whether you have chosen the correct device by checking the IP Address indicated on the lower left portion of the window. Afterwards, click on “Install nitoTV”. The application will prompt you to enter a password. If you haven’t changed the default password for your device, simply enter frontrow. It will then install the application into your device. When done, you should see a green checkmark in the window indicating that the installation is successful. You should be able to see a nitoTV icon in your device’s launcher menu once installation is done.
Afterwards, click on the “Install XBMC” button. It will then install the XBMC application in your device’s launcher and should appear there as well once installation is successful.
Close the nitoTV Installer application from your computer. Open the XBMC application from your device’s launcher and set it up from there on.
And voila! You have your Apple TV Jailbroken!