How-To Geek

How to Jailbreak Your 2nd Generation Apple TV for Extra Functionality

Jailbreaking your iDevices allows for more options when it comes to software and usage. The Apple TV is no exception. Here’s how to jailbreak your second generation Apple TV so you can install software like XBMC, Plex, or aTV Flash.

Jailbreaking your Apple TV does not mean you will lose any functionality, it only ensures you will get more options when it comes to how you want to use your device. Thanks to the hacking community, you can jailbreak your Apple TV in literally one click.

How to Jailbreak Your Apple TV

You will need the following items to complete the jailbreak

  1. A 2nd generation Apple TV (black model)
  2. A micro USB cable
  3. Seas0nPass for Windows or OS X (links below)
  4. Latest version of iTunes software

First start by unplugging any other iDevice from your computer. Then extract the Seas0nPass .zip file and run the program.

Click on Create IPSW and the software will automatically download the latest Apple TV software from Apple, decrypt the package, jailbreak the files, and repackage the installer.

Once the download is complete you will plug in your Apple TV to your computer with the microUSB cable without plugging in the power. When the light on the front of the Apple TV flashes repeatedly point your silver Apple TV remote at the device and hold the Menu and Play/Pause button simultaneously for seven seconds.

You may need to wait for Windows to download updated drivers for the Apple TV to function properly in restore mode so give it a couple minutes to detect.

When your device is found you should get this screen to confirm the device is conected along with a screen that says uploading to device.

iTunes will automatically open and begin the restore process of the device.

If iTunes does not automatically start, wait a couple minutes and manually start iTunes, the rest of the restore should be automated once the software is running.

Once the restore is completed you can disconnect the USB cable and connect the Apple TV to your television with power and HDMI.

You will need to go through the initial Apple TV setup to choose your language. Once the device boots completely you will know it is jailbroken by the temporary FireCore logo in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Download Seas0nPass

Justin Garrison is a Linux and HTPC enthusiast who loves to try new projects. He isn't scared of bricking a cell phone in the name of freedom.

  • Published 02/20/12

Comments (7)

  1. Andy

    So what does jailbreaking it allow me to do?

  2. Doug

    You can greatly expand the functionality of the ATV2, without losing any of the built-in features.
    I installed the Plex client software on the ATV2. I have the Plex Media server software installed on a network PC which stores all my movies and music. This allows me to play back my movie collection, mostly .mkv’s and some avi’s which are not supported by the ATV2 natively. The Plex software also transcodes my HDTV recordings made wth SageTV and allows them to be played back on the Apple TV.

    Plex also has a selection of channels like Hulu…..

  3. Atomsk

    You can also install XBMC and not be confined to only media that is in iTunes which can be annoying. And as Doug said you can run the Plex client on it which is always a good thing. Within XBMC you can also install various plugins to enhance XBMC to the fullest.

  4. Chris

    I’ve been looking at doing this, but I am still trying to find worthwhile benefits. Plex Media or XBMC to play formats not supported by ATV2? Air Video Server on any iOS device does the same thing without the jalbreak.

    What OTHER benefits does jailbreaking offer? (I’m not attacking jailbreaking, my 4S is jailbroken.)

  5. Andy

    I agree with Chris so far.

    Air video is great. Ace video is nice to. Can access my media share on my win7 “server” and play any of those to my ATV2.

  6. Mike

    Probably also worth mentioning that it’s useful to save your SHSH blobs using a program like TinyUmbrella. This allows you to downgrade/restore to a firmware version that Apple is no longer signing, and ensures that even if an Apple update destroys a jailbreak then you’ll still be able to use it by downgrading your firmware.

    I got my ATV2 almost a year ago exclusively to put XBMC on it. It’s a very low power consumption device, as is the NAS that I keep my media on. It seems like a waste of power to have an intermediate device to do transcoding when the ATV2 is capable of decoding the video by itself. In addition to this feature, and all the metadata that XBMC displays for all local media, there is also a wealth of decent XBMC addons which massively increase the functionality of the ATV2. Do a google search for ‘XBMC addon browser’ to get an idea of what’s available

  7. Jason Fitzpatrick

    Welp, time to hit up eBay for an ATV unit to play with. =) Nice write up, Justin.

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