Are you sick of the limited functionality of your new Apple TV? It kind of sucks that you can’t stream HD videos from your computer straight to your TV, right? If you’re nodding your head, jailbreaking your Apple TV is something you should consider. New apps like XBMC can release the limitations of your Apple TV by allowing you to stream HD video over your network. You can even add a fully functional web browser for surfing the web from your couch. On top of all that, the latest version of iOS for the Apple TV is able to be jailbroken without being tethered! Let’s get started.
What’s new in iOS 5.1.1?
To be honest, not much. Apple released the 5.0.1 update (which translates to iOS 5.1.1) on May 11, 2012. It added the ability to watch movie and TV show previews in HD (exciting, right?) along with some fixes like AirPlay connectivity issues and a Netflix login issue. Of course it also “includes fixes for issues affecting stability and performance”.
What about the jailbreak?
This jailbreak is only compatible with the 2nd generation Apple TV. That means it’s likely this jailbreak will not work if you bought your Apple TV after March 7th, 2012 – when the Apple TV 3rd generation was released.
- Couch Surfer
- Media Player
- RSS Feeds
Most of the available packages for jailbroken Apple TVs are compatible with this jailbreak, but Overflow and Remote HD are not yet supported.
Warning: Just like every other iDevice jailbreak, your Apple TV preferences will be reset.
What You’ll Need
- 2nd generation Apple TV
- Apple TV remote
- Micro-USB cable
- Latest version of iTunes
- Seas0nPass: Windows | Mac
Once you’ve downloaded the latest version of Seas0nPass, extract the .zip file. Inside you’ll find an .exe and a .txt file.
Run the Seas0nPass program by double clicking on it. The first thing you’ll see are two options: Create IPSW or Boot Tethered. The boot tethered option provides a way for users to boot their jailbroken tethered Apple TVs, but because we’re dealing with a version of iOS that was jailbroken as an untethered jailbreak it does not apply to us. Click the Create IPSW option to start downloading the latest version of iOS for Apple TV.
By default, Seas0nPass will always try to fetch the latest untethered version of iOS (5.1.1) for users’ convenience. The latest version of iOS (5.0.1/9B206f) for the Apple TV is able to jailbroken, and Seas0nPass should now be downloading it. After the download has finished, Seas0nPass jailbreaks the IPSW right on your computer. Once it’s done, you’ll have to start the process of uploading jailbreak files to your Apple TV.
Grab your micro-USB cable and plug it into both your Apple TV (right below the HDMI port) and computer. Do not plug in the power cable, and if iTunes opens, close it before proceeding.
You should notice the LED light on the front of your Apple TV is blinking. Take your Apple TV remote and hold the Menu + Play/Pause buttons and let go after 7 seconds to put your Apple TV into DFU mode.
Seas0nPass will begin to upload the appropriate files to your Apple TV. This shouldn’t take more than one minute.
Once Seas0nPass has completed uploading the files, iTunes will automatically open and start restoring your Apple TV with the custom IPSW it downloaded and created earlier. This entire process is automated and does not require you to do anything. Just sit back and enjoy the restore. Once iTunes is done restoring your Apple TV with iOS 5.1.1, unplug your micro-USB cable and plug in the power and HDMI cables to connect it to your TV.
Run through the Apple TV setup. It’s important to connect the Apple TV to your WiFi or wired network. Once inside, you’ll notice a new menu icon with the FireCore logo. Clicking that icon just simply takes you to the Settings menu, so we need to install more custom software by SSHing into the Apple TV.
We need to find the Apple TV’s IP address so we can SSH into it to run a few commands. From the Apple TV homescreen navigate to the right to the Settings menu. Select General and then Network. Next to IP Address is your Apple TV’s IP address.
You won’t be able to SSH into your Apple TV from your TV (stupid TV!), so jump back on your computer and download an SSH client. I suggest using Putty for Windows and the terminal application on Mac OS X. Type in your Apple TV’s IP address in the Host Name (or IP address) field. Click Open and you will be prompted to log in as a username. Type “root” as the username and type “alpine” for the password. If you’re using terminal in Mac OS X, type in ssh root@AppleTV.local where AppleTV is the name of your Apple TV (if you’ve changed it).
It’s always good practice to change the default passwords for root and mobile users on your Apple TV. After you’ve logged in as root, type the following commands:
Type your new password for the root username twice.
Type your new password for the mobile username twice.
Now type the following commands right after each other. Be sure to type the commands as I had issues with copying and pasting them into Putty. Press Enter after each line:
apt-get update apt-get install com.nito.nitoTV reboot
After you run the second command, you will notice it will ask if you want to continue. Of course you do, so just type “y” and hit Enter.
Finally, the last command will obviously reboot your Apple TV.
When your Apple TV restarts you will see that you installed nitoTV, which acts like Cydia on a jailbroken iPhone; nitoTV is a package management system that allows users to download packages via a user interface. From the homescreen, scroll down to nitoTV and open it. You’ll see a list of packages that you can install. Browse through some and install any that you like, but keep in mind that Overflow and Remote HD are not yet compatible with iOS 5.
Your Apple TV is now running jailbroken iOS 5.1.1. Enjoy your new apps like XBMC, Exposed, and Plex. If you want even more functionality out of your Apple TV, you should consider buying aTV Flash (black) from the fine folks at Firecore who brought you this jailbreak.
Enjoy your jailbreak! If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below. Provide as many details as you can, and I’ll do my best to help you.