As we noted earlier, the Pangu team has released a jailbreak for the Apple TV 4. This jailbreak allows Apple TV 4 owners running tvOS 9.0 and 9.0.1 to jailbreak their devices.
Although it is possible to jailbreak the Apple TV with a paid developer account, it’s also possible to do so with a free account as well. In this tutorial, we’ll show you step by step how to jailbreak the Apple TV 4. Watch our video walkthrough inside to see how.
Also, the current Apple TV 4 jailbreak is GUI-less at this time, meaning that only SSH access is available. This means that currently no Cydia-like interface is available for jailbroken Apple TV 4 units. That said, this is only the beginning.
Before starting you will need to login Xcode with an Apple ID that has sideloading privileges. You can get this for free by visiting the Apple developer member center and agreeing to the terms. To login to Xcode, go to Xcode → Preferences → Accounts and click the ‘+’ sign.
Pangu’s post implies that you will need a paid developer account, although our tutorial shows you how to do so for free. It is our understanding that the jailbreak will still work as we’ve outlined below using our free method, but we are not responsible for any negative side effects that using this method will have.
Things you will need
- An Apple TV running tvOS 9.0 or 9.0.1
- A USB-C cable
- A Mac
- A free Apple ID account with sideloading privileges
- Pangu jailbreak tool
- iOS App Signer
How to jailbreak the Apple TV 4
Step 1: Connect your Apple TV to your Mac using the USB-C cable.
Step 2: If you haven’t already, disable Automatic Updates on your Apple TV. Go to Settings → System → Software Updates and turn off Automatically Update.
Step 3: Download the Pangu jailbreak tool and iOS App Signer ZIP files and extract both to your desktop.
Step 4: Open Xcode and go to File → New → Project → tvOS → Application → Single View Application → Next.
Step 5: Fill out the following fields
- Product Name: Jailbreak
- Organization: <Your name>
- Organization Identifier: com.jailbreak.appletv
Keep everything else as is, and click Next → Create.
Step 6: Click Product → Destination → Apple TV.
Step 7: In the team area, select your personal Apple ID. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create a free Apple ID, and link it to Xcode via Xcode → Preferences → Accounts.
Step 8: Click Fix issue to clear up any provisioning issues.
Step 9: Launch iOS App Signer and use the Browse button to select the atvipa.app file from the Payload folder in the Pangu download that you extracted to your desktop in Step 3.
Step 10: In iOS App Signer, select the Certificate and Provisioning Profile for the app that you just created in Xcode.
Step 11: Click Start on iOS App Signer, select Desktop and click Save to save the atvipa.ipa file to your desktop.
Step 12: Open Xcode and go to Window → Devices and select your Apple TV.
Step 13: Click the + button under Installed apps, and select the atvipa.ipa from your desktop.
Step 14: The Pangu jailbreak tool should now be deployed to your Apple TV. Once it appears on your Apple TV’s Home screen, launch the app to initiate and complete the jailbreak.
Step 15: Congratulations. You can now SSH into your Apple TV using the Apple TV’s Wi-Fi IP address.
Keep in mind that Pangu’s method uses a paid dev account. There could possibly be a reason for them taking this approach, which I hope that they comment on later. With that said, this method does work as far as being able to SSH into my Apple TV. Whether or not there are any downsides by using the free method is still yet to be seen.
If you’re looking for an Apple TV running iOS 9.0.x, be sure to check out our Apple TV 4 jailbreak preparation tutorial for details on how to do just that. Otherwise, stay tuned for more coverage relating to this exciting new release.
How to fix the Apple TV 4 black screen of death
Some users have complained about being stuck in a black screen reboot loop after jailbreaking the Apple TV 4. This, as it turns out, can be easily fixed by a few simple SSH commands.
Step 1: Turn on your Apple TV
Step 2: Open Terminal
Step 3: Type the following in the Terminal window:
ssh root@<ip address of apple tv>
(password = alpine)
chmod +x fixBoot.sh
This will run the following commands automatically upon startup, which resolves the issue:
launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mobile.lockdown.plist
launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mobile.lockdown.plist