Apple TV HOW TO: Jailbreak Current Apple TV (2) and Install Plex Media Client

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by pruppert, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. pruppert, Jan 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011

    pruppert macrumors 6502


    Jan 30, 2008
    UPDATE (1/9/11): The development of the Plex plugin for Apple TV is still pretty fluid. I would recommend following these links to stay abreast of the latest install instructions.

    Also be sure to follow for the latest updates as well.



    I am a self-admitted noob when it comes to jailbreaking but I wanted to get my new Apple TV to be able to receive avi streams from my mac. After many arduous hours of trial and error, I was finally able to figure it all out. So I thought I would spare others the hardship and share what I learned in a step-by-step guide to jailbreaking the current Apple TV firmware and installing the Plex Media client. Once you have all of the proper downloads, it can take about a half hour or so to go through all of the steps; but, you will be happy that you did when you’re done. So read below to see how I did it. Hopefully it will work for you too.

    By they way, I really am a noob. So if you run into problems, I’m not sure how much help I’ll be in troubleshooting. However if you follow the steps below, everything should work out.

    One other thing to note. I would recommend reading through this entire tutorial at least once before you try to do anything.

    Ok, there are essentially three things that you’ll need to do, and I’ll explain each in detail below. But to preview, you are going to:
    1. Jailbreak your Apple TV (4.2.1)
    2. Install the aTV Flash (black) software from FireCore (will cost you $20)
    3. Install the Plex Media client software

    So let’s get into it, shall we?

    Jailbreaking Your Apple TV 2 (4.2.1):

    Currently, only a “tethered” jailbreak is available (google this if you don’t know what it means). It’s kind of a hassle but not a deal breaker in my opinion. It just makes this process a little longer.

    See this youtube video ( for instructions on how to jailbreak the current firmware. You will also want to download all of the files that are linked to in that video’s details section. In the details section, you can also find the three commands you will need for entering in the terminal application on your mac. Basically, watching the video is enough explanation for how to jailbreak, so do that. But there are are couple things I need to note about the timing of plugging in cables.

    When you are entering the three commands into the Terminal app, make sure your Apple TV is not plugged into anything at all. Also make sure your that textedit or whatever program your pasting the commands from didn’t insert an inappropriate space into the first command. As soon as you’ve entered the third command and see it running in terminal, plug a mini USB into your Apple TV from your mac. You have to be a little fast here and need to pay attention to the white light on the front of the Apple TV. When you plug in the mini USB, the white light will begin to blink about once a second. As soon as it begins to blink a little faster (about twice a second), plug in the Apple TV’s power cord. Once you’ve done that, hold down the menu and down button on the Apple TV remote until you see the Apple TV light blink very rapidly (almost solid). Then release and after 1 or 2 seconds then hold down the menu and play/pause button, again until the white light blinks very rapidly (almost solid) and then release. Then just let terminal do its thing. It will all be done in about 15 seconds, and terminal will say something like “exiting libpoison” or something like that. I can’t remember specifically. There will probably be an error message toward the end. Just ignore it. Once terminal is done, pull out the mini USB and plug in your HDMI cable. Go through the Apple TV’s basic setup options like preferred language and such and then make sure you’re Apple TV is connected to your WiFi network. You’re now ready to install aTV Flash.

    Install the aTV Flash (black) software from FireCore:

    For this step, you’ll need to pay $20 to download the aTV Flash software from FireCore ( Then just go to this webpage to read their tutorial on how to install their software ( The software is very user-friendly and easily installed. Once it installs, you’re TV may turn black for a second and then the Apple TV interface will come back up and you’ll see a new tab “Maintenance” over on the right. Feel free to go check it out but you don’t really need to do anything with it.

    Now, you’ll need to RESTART the Apple TV. You’ll need to restart it again later using this same procedure, so remember it for later. Totally unplug your Apple TV from any cables. Then, just run the last two terminal commands from above this time, and again plug in your mini USB, power, and HDMI cables as I describe above. Once the Apple TV interface comes up again, reconnect your Apple TV to the WiFi network. You’re now ready to install the Plex client software.

    Install the Plex Media Client Software:

    Okay, so your resources on this step are the two following webpages:

    Go to the first webpage and follow Steps 1, 2, and 3. You’ll be using the Cyberduck application for step 2. The second webpage I list above shows how to get Cyberduck set up for this step. That bottom of that second page also shows you how to ssh into your Apple TV which you’ll need to do to complete step 3 from the first webpage. Once you complete steps 1, 2, and 3, RESTART your Apple TV as I describe above. Once it is restarted and your Apple TV interface is up, reconnect to your WiFi network. Then use the Cyberduck app to complete the instructions in red print on the first link above. Once you install that folder into Applications/, then RESTART your Apple TV one more time. When you plug in your HDMI cable, you should see a Plex tab on the Apple TV.

    Now you just need to install the free Plex media server software on your mac and you’re good to go. If the Plex client on the Apple TV isn’t seeing your sever on you mac, then just quit and restart the server software on your mac. It should then be recognized on the Apple TV.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. I wrote this all from memory, so others can chip in if they think I have something wrong. But I’m fairly certain that that’s how I got it all set up. Hopefully this is helpful to others.

  2. dino0829 macrumors member

    Feb 20, 2008

    Thanks Pruppert! That's awesome. Quick question:
    Do the other features of Plex work beyond playing different file types? (i.e., web browsing, web video, etc.)

    Thanks for the detailed info, that's a huge help.
  3. gcmexico macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    New York City
    you should not have to pay for this. There are many free guides on how to hack the 4.2.1, and install Plex, the guides are out there but the tethered hack doesn't seem to work in 4.2.1, and I'm no noob, the hacking works but knocks out your wifi, no one has found a work around yet (other than downgrading your ATV2), can't see how ATVFlash gets this to work...20 bucks to do something that should be free, isn't a win:cool:
  4. pruppert thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 30, 2008
    I do not see a way to web browse on aTV Plex; however, couch surfer is an app included with aTV Flash and it let's you surf the web and play HTML5 web video.
  5. pruppert thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 30, 2008
    I agree the jailbreak was tricky, but in my experience it was all about timing of plugging in certain cables and going into DFU mode etc. Using the methods I described above, I got the tethered jailbreak to work every time. I could now probably do it with my eyes closed. Just make sure you're using the software and files linked to by that YouTube video so it will work with 4.2.1.

    If you get it jailbroke and the upon booting, the screen says waiting for network, just hit the menu button to back out of that. Then go in and put in your wifi details.

    Now that you mention it, aTV Flash may not be necessary. I tried to get Plex without it but wasn't able to. Maybe I wasn't doing it right. But it worked after I installed aTV Flash.
  6. snarf1974 macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2011
    PMS on NAS drive or natively on Apple TV 2

    I would love it if Plex could run on Apple TV 2, with out the need to have my MacBook constantly on.

    At the moment I use XBMC on ATV2, with all my media on a NAS drive, which means I don't have to have my MacBook on at all.

    Is there any way of installing Plex media server on a NAS drive? I'm pretty sure you can't, but just want to check. Are there any plans for Plex to run on ATV2 natively? I note that Plex is available for ios (iphone/ipad) but strangely not ATV2??????

  7. Mr-Kerrse macrumors 6502

    Apr 1, 2011
    United Kingdom
    Plex on your iphone is just a controller for the plex on your computer as far as i am aware.
  8. jimmy1984 macrumors member


    Apr 10, 2010
    what is the current feeling on installing plex onto a jb atv2?

    Wait for some updates, or is it good to go now?

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