Now that the liberTV jailbreak for tvOS 10-10.1 has been out for a while, many of our readers will have given it a go. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can use our guide to get it up and running on your Apple TV.

Once you’re jailbroken, you may want to tinker around with the device, grab your apticket off of it, or investigate the filesystem. To do this you’ll need to connect to it from a computer via SSH. In this guide we’ll take you through how to do just that.

The liberTV jailbreak comes with an SSH client included, called Dropbear. This means that we don’t need to install any SSH packages to our Apple TV as we would with a jailbroken iOS device. Instead, we just need to connect, and configure it for use.

How to SSH to your Apple TV 4

1) Ensure your Apple TV is in a jailbroken state. Run the liberTV jailbreak until it succeeds, and then hit the Respawn Dropbear button for good measure.

2) Open up the Settings app on your Apple TV and navigate to the Network section.

3) Take note of your IP Address which is displayed on the Network page.

4) On your computer, launch Terminal from /Applications/Utilities, or via Spotlight.

5) At the prompt, type the following command, and hit Enter to connect to your Apple TV via SSH:

ssh root@YOUR_IP_ADDRESS_HERE

Replace YOUR_IP_ADDRESS_HERE with the IP address you noted down in Step 3. For example, in my case the command was:

ssh root@192.168.0.8

6) If Terminal asks you to confirm connecting, simply type yes, and hit Enter to continue.

7) When prompted for a password, enter the default password which is alpine.

8) When the prompt appears reading -bash-3.2#, you are connected via SSH to your Apple TV 4.

We must now change our default password from alpine to something else! Otherwise, anyone on your network can connect to and control your Apple TV.

9) At the -bash-3.2# prompt, enter the following command:

export PATH=/tmp/bin:/tmp/usr/bin:/tmp/usr/local/bin:/tmp/sbin

To prevent bricking of the device, the liberTV developer has installed all the binaries you may need in a temporary folder rather than in their traditional places on the filesystem. The command above widens our path so that we can invoke them as we normally would. Without it, most commands we try to issue will fail as the system cannot find the requisite binary to use it.

10) Now that we have our commands at our fingertips, we can change our root and mobile passwords just as we would on a jailbroken iOS device. First, type passwd to change the root password.

11) The Terminal prompt will now ask you to enter a new password twice. Pick a strong one and type it in carefully, the letters will not show in Terminal as you type.

12) Once you have set a root password, type passwd mobile to change the mobile password too.

13) Do the same as before, entering a new mobile password twice to set it.

Do not lose or forget these passwords!

That’s all we have to do. When you SSH into your Apple TV in future, follow Steps 1-6. When it asks for a password, enter the root password which you set in Step 11.

If you want to tinker around once you’ve connected to your Apple TV via SSH, you will need to issue the command in Step 9 once each time you open an SSH session in Terminal. If you don’t, none of your favourite commands such as ls or scp will be available to you.

Do not overwrite any of the existing system binaries on the Apple TV whilst tinkering, or you will brick your Apple TV and lose your jailbreak. That is why the developer has left his binaries in a temporary folder, so as not to interfere with or overwrite the existing system binaries.

Are you running the liberTV jailbreak? Had you been having trouble with SSH on it? Do you need any more help with this guide? Let me know in the comments.

  • Pascal Renaud

    Thanks for the tutorial, is there one to install Kodi?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Kodi can be installed the same as the liberTV app itself, or any other app. You can side load it with Cydia Impactor. Check out my article on it for instructions.

      • ShawnTXDFW

        Hey Joaquim. You happen to have that link for side loading? I have yet to do that or learn how to do that and would love to learn how. Also I thought the JB wasn’t exactly a go for 10.1.1 am I right?! Didn’t he say he wasn’t sure. I have been waiting for a follow up on if 10.1.1 is also jailbreakable. If so then I’m ready to JB! (Updated. Had wrong iOS version there for a moment)

      • Joaquim Barbosa

        I’ll have a look for the link; I saw it somewhere recently but I don’t use Kodi…

        tvOS 10.1 is jailbreakable, it is 10.1.1 which isn’t. There isn’t much advantage to jailbreaking at the moment though as no packages are available to use with it. The only real upside is disabling auto-updates permanently. You can side load the apps without jailbreaking so you may not need to jailbreak at all at the moment.

      • Doug

        I am able to install liberTv via cydia impactor, but when I try to install provenance using cydia impactor I get error “inatallation.cpp:42”. Is there a way to fix that?

    • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

      Wait for nitoTV.

  • Yuhao Zhang

    Seriously, if a man doesn’t know how to ssh into a jailbroken device, you should teach him to shutdown/delete the ssh server instead of changing password.

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      The process is slightly different on the liberTV jailbreak given that the normal binaries are not present, thus the need for instructions. Most users know how to perform this on an iOS device. And on iOS you have to actively install openSSH first, which avoids the issue. Thanks!

      • Itsyaboy

        Just a Fwi ssh does not work on tvOS 10.0 dropbear does not load we get “bash error” I and others have posted about this on the devs forum but still no respons, he mentioned he was gonna update libertv to fix the crash issue with kpp but that was like a month ago

  • Doug

    This was very useful, hopefully NitoTv can be completed soon so we can get that loaded to the Apple TV 4. When it does, I would still like to see a walk through on how to add that to the Apple TV 4. Also, I was wondering if provenance supports 2 nimbus controllers for playing two player games like super contra on NES. Thanks!

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      Hi Doug, yea I’m hoping that NitoTV turns up soon to add some utility to the jailbreak. I can do a guide for it once it’s out for sure. I’m sorry, I don’t know about the controller situation on Provenance as I’ve never used it myself…

  • Itsyaboy

    ssh does not work on tvOS 10.0 dropbear does not load we get “bash error” I and others have posted about this on the devs forum but still no respond, he mentioned he was gonna update libertv to fix the crash issue with kpp but that was like a month ago

  • Joaquim Barbosa

    The 10.1.1 support is possible, but not upcoming, because it relies on a zero-day. It will likely be released at some point, but no ETA, and maybe not in the near future. It just means that it’s better to stay on 10.1.1 than to update to 10.2+…

  • Osva Rosario

    Did anyone fix the no bash error on 10.0?