The Benefits of Jailbreaking the Apple TV

By , Jan 16, 2012

Apple has always stated that the Apple TV is more of a “hobby” device than a mainstream one, as its popularity level isn’t even on the radar compared to hits like the iPhone, iPad or even iPod touch.

Still, there are many, many benefits to owning an Apple TV. There’s iTunes movies and TV shows, Netflix streaming, access to NBA and NHL games, and iTunes match among other features.

But if you really want to reap the full rewards of owning Apple’s marvelous $99 wonder box, you need to jailbreak it.

Why jailbreak the Apple TV? We’ll touch on some of the major benefits that comes from doing so.

Customization

You can add weather and slideshows to your Apple TV’s main menu, you can hide menus, adjust screen saver settings, and much, much more.

Media

Are you kidding me? The Apple TV is KING when it comes to media content. We’re not joking, it’s the absolute best sub-$99 purchase you can make if you’re considering cutting the cable. Not only do you get the benefits of AirPlay and AirPlay mirroring if you have an iPad 2 or iPhone 4S, you also have access to a ton of default media from iTunes, Netflix, NBA, NHL, YouTube, Vimeo, and the like.

But that’s just the beginning. Jailbreaking your Apple TV is what really opens up the media floodgates. And just like that, you have access to Hulu, ESPN, Amazon, Last.fm, Pandora, PBS, A&E, ABC, CBS, NBA, MTV, and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on… I’m serious, if I named all of the content providers that can be accessed by jailbreaking, I wouldn’t have enough room in this article.

XBMC

True, XBMC is the portal that allows you to access most of the content above, but it also includes beautiful custom themes, and many other plugins from a diverse community of developers. XBMC has been ported to pretty much every platform known to man, so it’s easy to get support, and simple to setup and install.

XBMC is an amazing portal to a wealth of content, and that makes it a must have for a jailbroken Apple TV. You can also install some beautiful themes that completely change how your Apple TV looks and feels. If you’re feeling particularly froggy, there’s also a provision to boot directly into XBMC and bypass Apple’s interface altogether.

aTV Flash (black)

Setting up all of the plugins and apps required to get the most out of your jailbroken Apple TV can indeed be a bit daunting, and that’s where FireCore’s simple utility comes in. Once your Apple TV is jailbroken, simply run aTV Flash (black) on your computer, and it will effortlessly install the most common jailbreak apps on your Apple TV.

It’s $29.95, but it’s well supported, and it makes maintaining your device as easy as pie. It also comes built in with backup utilities that backup your settings straight to iCloud. You can’t ask for a simpler jailbreak configuration than this.

Remote HD

Controlling your Apple TV with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch only makes sense, and Remote HD is the best way to do so. This downloadable app from the App Store works in tandem with your jailbroken Apple TV for the best input experience you can have. It’s lightyears ahead of the stock Apple remote, and much better than Apple’s own virtual remote app.

Web browsing

Jailbreaking an Apple TV allows you to install a WebKit browser that you can use to view your favorite websites on your 55″ television screen hanging on your wall.

Although we wouldn’t recommend it for long browsing sessions, it’s good for a quick Google search or two. Plus, who doesn’t want to visit iDB from the comforts of their couch?

Because You Can

Isn’t this the reason why most of you install various tweaks and apps on your iPhone in the first place? The fact that we can do these things is reason enough to give them a try. It’s also fun to show off your supercharged Apple TV to your friends and family.

Ready to Jailbreak?

Are you convinced? If so, head over to our guide that shows how to Jailbreak the Apple TV using Seas0nPass. It’s quick and easy. After that, you can check out our guides on aTV Flash (black), and XBMC. We’ll have more Apple TV content in the future, so stay tuned.

Folks, these are just some of the reasons why you should jailbreak your Apple TV. Right now the Apple TV features an untethered jailbreak on the latest software version. That means you get the best of both worlds — you get the newest features like AirPlay mirroring from the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, along with all of the wonderful stuff that jailbreaking brings to the table. At less than $99, the Apple TV is perhaps the best deal going. If you haven’t done so already, what are you waiting for?

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  • Santi Hervella

    I would be for jailbreaking my apple TVs (I have 2), but they’re just not in positions that I would really use all the time. I mainly use them for movies and that about it. All the other stuff could be more easily done on my imac or ios devices. The only reason left for me to jailbreak would be the remote HD thing. That looks really useful in terms of speeding up navigation.

    Thanks for the insight though Jeff!

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    I’ve just jailbroke my apple tv and i’am still trying out some of these new features..but i’am sure there is tweaks and mods I don’t know about yet , is there a site I could go and find a list of ALL the stuff I could put on my apple tv ?
    As for a TVFlash ..that’s sorted , Thanks iDB for that…
    I know iDB covers the Apple tv , but there is no list of features for it

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      We are working on it. We’re gonna have a series of posts about how to tweak your Apple TV :)

      • risa101

        Hey will I still be able to get apple updates if I jailbreak

      • nathan

        no, it will overwrite the jailbreak

  • cruzcontrol1001

    What the hell I’ll try it out tonight if I don’t like it I can always restore it not too many settings to lose.

  • http://twitter.com/scottilmnc Poppa Carter

    Will this work for 4.4.4?

    • Anonymous

      yes!

  • http://twitter.com/yOy0dEv Mladen Jakulic

    It’s so easy to jailbreak ATV2 ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/ashcroftc Chris Ashcroft

    Does this jailbreak allow you to stream from a NAS that runs an iTunes server straight to the appletv? Rather than having to have the computer switched on?

    • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

      I’ve not tried that, but if it’s on your network, it’s highly likely it will see it. I run a HDD through an Airport Extreme, and it see it.

    • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

      Here have a look…and yes to the Nas
      http://firecore.com/atvflash-black

  • http://twitter.com/bigb8242 bigb

    can anyone say me the name of the xbmc them (on the screenshot)

    • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

      refocus. Best theme ever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marco-Bartolomeu/100000352027268 Marco Bartolomeu

    Will it work in Portugal?

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      Yes. It works anywhere in the world where you have a decent internet connection. Actually, I’m thinking about giving a jailbroken Apple TV to my cousin as a gift. I think he would love it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marco-Bartolomeu/100000352027268 Marco Bartolomeu

    Ddfhn

  • Anonymous

    Can I share my Macbook air screen after jail breaking apple tv2? I am getting it this week.

  • ron-mcse

    it looked as if your remoteHD looked like the apple remote, how did you get it that way, mine looks like a football cover :)

  • http://twitter.com/acejones18 mike mcclurg

    Any way to get the content providers listed above without aTV Flash (Black)? CLI doesn’t scare me…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1809949685 Sai Kiran

    Do iTunes movies/tv shows come for free??
    Will the jailbreak apps work in middle east

  • Nikita Lebedev

    Ok a very noob question, cause i don’t really know how Apple TV works… say – I don’t have a cable and I don’t have a Netflix account… if I get this apple tv thingy and jailbreak it, all this stuff will be avail for free??? Or I’m wrong?

    • Anonymous

      YOUR WRONG

      • grammar nazi

        You’re

    • teresa willis

      So why is he wrong so why jailbreak the apple tv I was told I would get all my cable channels and movies free is this not true we have a tv guy in our area does jailbreaking tv for 245. I’m elder amd would like to turn cable off it cost me 100. A mnth for so will I get all this on the jailboke apple tv and if I won’t please tell me what apple tv is for and why then get it

    • I am a Hater

      nothing is FREE in this world

  • http://twitter.com/Masaki79 Michael Paine

    how can you change the font size for the MainMenuWeather plugin? I”m getting a lot of Sunrise: 7… and W… (for washington). I googled this but have not found a answer.

  • Anonymous

    The main reason why I jail broke my AppleTV is for one reason: ICEFILMS!

    Icefilms = All the movies you can ever watch, including the latest releases. Like Netflix on steroids. Best part? Its Free!!

    Unfortunately, I cannot watch ESPN because I have Time Warner Cable and they block ESPN streaming, which is freakin stupid. Is there a workaround to watch ESPN on Time Warner Cable?

  • http://twitter.com/Reza1200 Reza

    I already Jail broke my Apple TVwith Seas0nass 4.4, but still asking for apple id and credit card, Do I missing something here
    Also I install aTV Flash (black) , how can I see free movie????

    • neff

      lol seas0nASS

  • Thomas Stanley

    What bout Plex as a media center once you jailbreak? Or is the author biased to XBMC (I used XBMC on the original Xbox..it was great)

  • http://twitter.com/rrambrandt ramzi

    is it possible to watch amazon movies and shows on apple tv?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=843045293 Leonardo El Tolete

    I willl be so happy wen my 3G atv jailbreak come out

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=659555723 Andy Panda

    Is it possible to view afl (aussie) rules on atv? Thanks in advance.

  • Joshua Cohen

    i have a friend that got his apple tv jailbroken from a guy on craigslist. I’m not sure what he did to it exactly but he is able to watch every movie in the Movies section by apple for free (the section where it asks you to rent or buy the movies). I’ve looked everywhere and i can’t find how he did this. maybe you can help

    • joeman2k4@yahoo.com

      i like to steal movies while i smoke crack near my new born baby… obviously, I’m just kidding.
      are you stupid or something?… maybe you can give your friend’s name and social security number as well? doy!!!
      people like you should be banned from the internet :p

      • risa101

        Hey do u know if I would be able to take my Appletv back to d store for repair if jailbreak

  • http://www.facebook.com/cyberlily62 Susan Teichroeb

    You really convinced me that I should buy Apple TV instead of the Boxee Box. I wasn’t aware that in the newest version of ATV Flashblack you can now use a browser. I am still a little overwhelmed with everything that is available instead of paying for my satellite dish.
    This will save me $1000/year in fees. I subscribe to Netflix and that is what got me thinking we should get rid of our dish. Now the only thing is we don’t have an HDTV. I have a Sony Wega I will be using. I just have to find out how to hook it up. Thanks and if you have any info on these topics I would greatly appreciate your input.

    cyberlily

  • Poh

    How to know the apple tv is 2 or 3G

  • Ben

    does jailbreaking this mean that i can get FREE films that i dont have to ” buy to rent”?

  • http://twitter.com/darrentran87 Darren Tran

    Anyway we can stream certain TV stations like ESPN and local stations like Time Warner Sports with the Apple TV if we don’t have cable?

  • Matthew Krieger

    I think you mean sub-$100.

  • Melissa Sheppard

    if I jailbreak my atv3 will I be able to use mirroring on my 2010 macbook pro?

    • nathan

      You can’t jailbreak a atv3 yet.

  • J M

    Jeff, it seems weird that no where in the article do you mention that you need an AppleTV2, the new one is not jailbreakable, and the AppleTV2 is no longer available for $99, even in the amazon link that you provided, the cheapest one there is $215.

    Am I missing something? It seems like this would have been a crucial point to bring up to people looking to buy one…

  • Pete Perry

    I know this is old and I do have an Apple TV but, I have to say that my Google TV can do all that stuff without being Jailbroken! And, it can actually do a whole lot more.

  • Phil Higson

    can i use my ipad 3 on a jailbroken apple tv g3 unit? or would apple know?

  • Will Granzier

    The main reason I jailbroke mine was to get the free series programs. In South Africa NON of the iTunes content that is available in the USA is available…. So it gives me the chance to get all of the series and movies that you pay for in the USA for free

  • William Valencia

    Is keeping the Apple TV firmware updates easy? How does it effect all your customizations?

  • Stephen E. Farley

    I jailbroke my iPad instead and just mirrored to my Apple TV. XBMC seemed great at first but MOST of the movies didn’t work or were POOR quality. It got so frustrating trying to find what I was looking for without Chinese or Russian subtitles I finally just gave up and restored my iPad. If XBMC actually worked the way it was supposed to it would certainly be worth it. IceFilms performed much better but they were mostly old films.

  • Gary Bishop

    Whoa….
    I think my mind is blown.
    Did I just read, that jailbroken Apple TV will see a network drive through AirPort Extreme?
    Why did I not know this?
    Is it true?

  • Patsy Khan

    Will this work in trinidad an to age tv

  • Patsy Khan

    Could some tell me how this works ause I will like to watch trinidad television

  • Catarina

    if i were to jailbreak the apple tv, would i be able to access any movies or tv shows for free? like not have to pay for anything? and if so how do i do that? please help :)

  • teresa willis

    So I want to know I’m in no way a computer person or tv I’m a lil ol white hair aldy that’s disabled and went to get tv and was told of jail break apple tv there saying it cost 250. And I wil never have to pay cable again is this true also once I buy do I have to keep paying to get loacla channels and maybe a few other channels like nascar someone please help me understand I’m on a fixed income and disabled so if I can spend a lil extra and get this and never have to pay cable again so if I buy it then what how much more for channels

  • coolkid

    is there a Jailbreak for Apple TV 3? Is it likely to be released?

  • Nicole Foster

    Will I have to reactivate apps in my Apple TV device if I jailbreak it.