Jailbreaking an AppleTV 2

The AppleTV 4 will be released soon, and with it, we'll finally have the AppleTV SDK and App Store that we've been hoping for.

This means that there will be 3rd party applications - and that means that we'll have far less interest in jailbreaking the AppleTV 2 to run applications like Kodi.

But.... I recently happened across an AppleTV 2, and since jailbroken devices seem to sell for more on eBay, I gave it a shot.

Here's how it works.

First thing first - you can't jailbreak an AppleTV 3.

Because I've never been interested in gaining functionality by jailbreaking iOS devices - and I AM very interested in 1080p video, I upgraded to the AppleTV 3 as soon as it came out.

But a good friend of mine just relocated to Dubai, which meant he was traveling light. He left his AppleTV with us.

When I fired it up, I saw it was an AppleTV 2.

AppleTV 2 devices tend to sell for more than AppleTV 3s on eBay.

That's because they can be jailbroken, and run apps like XBMC (now known as Kodi), and stream video from outside the iTunes/approved app world.

I don't really want or need an AppleTV 2 - so I told my friend I'd jailbreak it, sell it, and Paypal him the proceeds.

It's actually pretty easy.

The Jailbreak Process

You need a microUSB cable.

That's pretty much it.

I used Seas0nPass to jailbreak the device - it was essentially plug-and-play.

There were steps in the online tutorial that weren't even needed.

One interesting twist - some people were concerned that iOS 6.2.1 for AppleTV couldn't be jailbroken, and Seas0nPass seemed to confirm that.

Don't worry - the install will automatically roll back the iOS to a jailbreakable version.

1. Download Seas0nPass.

Pretty self-explanatory. Go to the link, download the version of the app you need (Mac or PC), and that's that.

NOTE - I had to change my security settings to allow such an unsavory, not-approved-by-App-Store application to run on my Mac. It's at Applications/System Preferences/Security and Privacy.

2. Plug the AppleTV into your Mac/PC with the MicroUSB cable. 

The primary trick here - don't plug the power cable in. Your AppleTV is running on USB power for this install.

3. Click the left-hand box. The one with the Lego-looking block.

That means you're doing an untethered install. It says "create IPSW."

And like that, the install progress bars will start. It takes about 5-10 minutes. 

Some online tutorials state that you'll need to have the remote handy, and push the PLAY and MENU buttons for 7 seconds when prompted.

I was never prompted.

Instead - we moved right ahead to the "success" part of the install. 

You can tell that your jailbreak worked, if the "Settings" icon is changed to the FireCore logo.

(This is, of course, temporary.)

And there you have it. If you're in to running old Apple hardware, or have a vast library of ripped DVDs you want to watch, and don't care about 1080p video, this is the HTPC front-end for you.

Seriously, though, the Kodi interface looks incredible.

I'm looking forward to running it on my AppleTV 4. 


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