Apple TV Hacked To Support USB Drives


I dream about being a world-class hacker only because I’m vain and want to see my name be the first thing to pop up when I Google myself. Hackers do great things and it brings a smile to my face. I love it even more when Apple products gets hacked. If you’ve been wavering about Apple TV, Apple’s silent and brooding stepchild, then this may swing the vote because it’s been hacked to work with a USB drive as its primary drive AND everything can be fully synced. No kidding around here, folks.


The patch was written for and, therefore, tested on Apple TV software version 1.0. If you have 1.1, the patch might not work. Please let us know if you can get the patch to work on 1.1.

What you need:

* An ssh-enabled Apple TV. If you don’t have that enabled yet, you can refer to this post to get it enabled. For instructions on how to enable ssh without opening the case, refer to this wiki page.
* An Intel-Mac or Intel-based *nix. This is needed to run the script to patch the kernel on the Apple TV remotely. It maybe possible to run the install script under Windows using cygwin. However, we have not tried this.
* An installed version of Mac OS X 10.4 Intel. Or a full copy of the contents of the “/System/Library/Extensions” folder from one.
* An original, unmodified copy of the ‘mach_kernel.prelink’ file from the Apple TV. If the kernel on your Apple TV has not been modified yet, you can just tell the script to get it from there. Otherwise, you can obtain the file from Apple TV Software 1.1 update available here.
* An external USB drive formatted using “Journaled HFS+”. This is the format the Apple TV expects.

The Procedure

* Once you have all of the above, extract the zip file and READ THE README file. In it, you’ll find the instructions on how to run the script and what to do get the USB drive to work.
* IMPORTANT: Please please please please back up the content of your Apple TV first before running the patch script. If there is one important step in performing the patch, it is BACKING UP your Apple TV.
* Once you have your Apple TV backed up, run the script “” and follow the instructions. This process should take you less than 5 minutes. Once the kernel on your Apple TV is patched, the device will reboot.

Using it

* Turn on the Apple TV without the USB drive inserted.
* Wait for the intro sequence (flying TV screens, etc.) and insert the USB drive then.
* Once inserted, the content of the internal hard drive will be copied to the external hard drive. This process can take a very long time. To remedy this, we recommend that you erase the content of your internal hard drive first so that there is no need to copy the content.
* The Apple TV will restart automatically after the content is copied.
* At this point, your Apple TV will use the external drive as its primary storage.

Download Me

USB patch released. HALLELUJAH! [via Macenstein]