How to jailbreak Apple TV Original (1G) – using ATVUSB-Creator

This is a quick, easy and clear tutorial on how to jailbreak the original Apple TV. After you have jailbroken, you will be able to allow external storage, additional media codec’s and so on.

Step 1. Download ATVUSB-Creator.

Click here for the download link for Mac (Intel/PPC OSX)

Click here for the download link for PC (Windows XP/Vista)

Step 2. Launch ATVUSB-Creator.

Step 3. Plug in a flash drive

Plug a flash drive into your computer. (greater than 1GB preferably)

Step 4. Hit ‘Create Using’

Hit the ‘Create Using’ button. This will go head and install ATV USB Creator onto your flash drive.

Step 5. Install onto Apple TV

Once the installation has complete, unplug the Flash Drive from your computer and plug it directly into your Apple TV. Next we are going to restart the Apple TV. To do this, hold down both the Menu and ‘-’ button on your remote.

The Apple TV will now restart and should boot from the flash drive. An image of an Apple TV with a penguin will display on the screen. If this happens, you will know you have completed these steps correctly.

The Apple TV will go through a bunch of scripts and things which will be displayed on the TV. Ignore this.

Step 6. Remove Flash Drive

At the end of the installation, when the scripts have stopped running. Simply unplug the flash drive, hold down the Menu and ‘-’ button again to restart. Great! Now you will have successfully jailbroken your Apple TV.

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38 Comments

  1. Hello. Awesome Job once again. I love reading your site because you guys usually write excellent pieces of information. Very nice blog post..I will bookmark this website. I believe I shall subscribe to the websites feed also. Recently purchased a cellular too. Does any one own the htc evo? It is its off the chain.

  2. I did this and it is jailbroken but I do not have the software menu. Help?!

    • You must have done something incorrectly. When you plugged the flash drive into the Apple TV and turned it on, did the scripts run on the screen? were there any errors?

      • tyler.ttt

        Yes the scripts ran on the screen, however i do not know about the errors I did not check. Can I just run the atv-usb creator again or do I have to reset the apple tv and start all over?

      • tyler.ttt

        When I downloaded the patchstick again, when it was all done the pop-up widow saying it was all done also says that the software menu has been discontinued. Is there anywhere i can get a software menu to install?

  3. tyler.ttt

    I see a lot of hacks call for the program Terminal, but I am running windows xp on my computer. Many places suggest PuTTY but this program does not like some of the code I try to put through it. I also found WinSCP which allows me to see all the files on the apple tv, but I do not think it allows me to edit these files. Is there anyone who knows of some good programs for doing hacks on the apple tv through windows xp?

  4. bobo13

    hey i used this program to jailbreak my 1st gen apple tv hoping it would allow me to sync my movies to it but im not able to do so.could anyone tell me what to do from here please ?

    • I have the same problem as you. How did you solve it? please help me, i havn’t been able to syn my apple tv 1g with my itunes library

  5. I just tried to jailbreak my ATV 1. The problem is that it didn’t run the script. I’ve checked that i did everything correct and I can’t find anything wrong.

    Could anyone please help me, I going crazy on this!

  6. William

    The first go around proved unsuccessful. I am not able to use my remote control at all. Next go around, more of the same. Suggestions?

    • This is a simple problem. Your remote will just have been un-paired/un-synced with your device somehow after the jailbreak. You just need to pair it. Click here for instructions on how to do that.

      Let me know how you get on. Thanks

      • Yup… Had the same problem and all it took was to un-pair first then pair the remote once again. On the white remote, it’s as easy as holding down the “Menu” + “Reverse” button until you see the icon on the screen. Then to pair on the white remote, press the “Menu” + the “Advance” button until the icon shows up and your done…

  7. Just had the hard drive on my iMac crash. Did not have a backup. Was wondering if this solution would let me access my ATV 1G and copy iTunes music, photos, videos back to my new (empty) iMac hard drive. Thoughts?

  8. carlos

    i did the patchstick, i only got xmbc and boxee, but no software menu. what did i do wrong and how can i fix that bug? thanks

  9. uhm.. is there a security risk when downloading this to windows 7? I got a little box that popped up and said that because the file isnt downloaded very often it could harm my computer

  10. when i put the stick into my atv and started new then started the atv not with the image its started normally.. what is the problem??

  11. (from denmark)I did it all as described on 2 deff USB keys ( 1 gb and 32 gb) and no script. just an apple, the menu thou is different (old menu) but with no Boxee or XBMC menu
    (Apple tv 1st gen 40 gb 3.0.3)

    plz help

  12. i downloaded everything and it all worked…but now when i go to launcher and XBMC or Boxee it tells me there was a problem…what do i do now?

  13. QUYETSTORM

    It installed for me the first time I tried, but when I tried to follow the NitoTV to get my color, it messed up and wouldn’t come back up. This is how I got it back up:

    1. I reset my Apple TV (1st gen) to factory settings (Thank Goodness I didn’t have anything on it yet!!)

    2. I wipe my USB drive clean making sure that there were no traces of anything on it.

    3. I ran atvusb-creator-1.0.b13 (Mac version) to the USB again.

    4. I installed it back to the AppleTV (1st gen) following the instructions above and it worked. I’m jailbroken.

    NOW I need to figure out the NitoTV for my color instead of dealing with the hassle of the DVI to HDMI connection. I’ve searched and nothing I found seems to show on my Apple TV for NitoTV to get color. ANY SUGGESTIONS????

    ~quyetstorm

  14. alexzuno

    Help pls. I did every the procideure and everything whent smood no errors apear but when i restart my atv gen 1 it get stock in the apple symbol the led just flashes in orange i can´t do anything not even reboot with remote. what can i do?

  15. be careful it seemed to delete everything on my Thumb drive

  16. I did everything it said on this post but I cannot reboot my Apple tv with the remote as it seems to not respond. No errors messages came up either.

  17. I can’t get boxee to download. An error message keeps coming up! I have xbmc though but it doesn’t have pandora under the music add-ons.

  18. This is not working for me. I did a factory reset, then downloaded the Apple TV update to the latests version. Then I used the Patchstick and it seemed to install fine. But when I reboot, everything is as it was before the Patchstick, no new Launcher menu item or Software menu item.
    I have tried several times, both with and without the Apple update. Sometimes the unit restarts after the Patchstick and thinks it is in Recovery mode. I have an Apple TV 1 160Gig and am using avtusb-creator-1.0.b13 and 2z694-6013-013.dmg. The install seems to go fine, but after a reboot, nothing seems to have been updated.

    Please help.

  19. I just bought a used Apple TV 1st Gen. When I power it up, it comes on in another language. There is a warning icon and a notice in Chinese or some language like that. I cannot find a factory reset option. Can I try to jailbreak it with a jump drive and get it to come on in English?

    • Shahid Mahmood

       I had exact same problem (just bought one from eBay). However, after power cycling several times, and selecting various resolutions, it started to boot into a language selection menu. However, I am stuck at network configuration.

      • thescragster

        Try holding the menu + down button’s for between 3 – 5 seconds. The Apple TV should reboot and will give you an option to select the language, before proceeding to provide some more options including a factory reset option. Let us know how you get on.

  20. I can install the ATV USB Creator into any flash drive. What can I do?

  21. (umount_disk settling delay (10 seconds) ) this is keep came …i don’t know why? some on can help please….

  22. omg you are the best, It worked for me

  23. download ok but my apple remote now does not work so i cannot enter any details

    • michelle

      I had this problem as well. This is what I did:
      I reset back to factory settings.
      After reset I plugged in the usb and went through the jailbreak.
      A screen came up giving me the option to restart, run diagnostics, or set back to factory settings. I choose restart.
      It came up and for whatever reason, this time the remote worked.

  24. I tried everything, factory restores, and still doesn´t work, the screen with the penguin never appears… What should I do?

    • michelle

      Erase the stick. Re-download the program to the stick. Run after resetting to factory settings. If the script did not come up, you didn’t get the jailbreak on it, or your atv is not reading it.

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