back to article Jailbreak hole found in Apple TV firmware

The latest Apple TV isn't even in people's hands and its already close to being jailbroken, according to members of a hacker group that has a track record of successfully freeing iDevices from the artificial shackles of Steve Jobs & Co. According to a post on Monday on the iPhone Dev Team Blog, members were able to crack the …


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  1. JaitcH

    Give up Jobs, they've got your software guys beaten! Yet again.

    Seems like all the hard work that Apples software monkeys do can't beat these reverse engineering specialists.

    The lesson they should take from this is that almost whatever Apple, or other companies, do the determination of talented people will break the software open. Far better that Apple applied their engineering talent to solving the defects that are still unresolved in Lemon 4.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If they are that talented..

      You would think Apple would employ them to work constructively on something.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: If they are that talented.

        They *are* working constructively on something.

        I'd have thought it far more likely that Apple would employ them not to.......

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        re: If they are that talented

        You say that as if you are suggesting that they are not working on anything constructive; FAR FAR from it. They are in fact working on software that allows someone to buy a piece of hardware (e.g. Apple TV), and then run software on it to make it do useful things.

        From what I've seen of iPods, some of the software that you can run on them done by these types of people are a great improvement over what ships with it originally. (and no, I'm not an Apple hater, just pragmatic.)

      3. oddie

        Some of us...

        would say that they ARE doing something productive, namely ensuring that Apple's lovely hardware can be disconnected from the absolute tripe that is their software (itunes actually makes me want to hurt myself).

        I know for a lot of people who have never used a computer before it doesn't seem to be a problem that their new apple hardware requires them to install a bloated behemoth of a redundant software package, but some of us already have better software than our newest apple toy demands to function, and we don't like having background services running that take up cpu cycles and memory when we know we will never make use of them.

        I remember how genuinly happy I felt when I could simply drag and drop mp3 files to my shuffle before going for my morning run :)

        Sorry for the rant, but I REALLY can't stand their shitware.

        1. Ted Treen
          Jobs Halo

          So what's stopping you?

          "..(itunes actually makes me want to hurt myself)..."

          Please, feel free to carry on.

          We don't mind - nor do we care:- so pray, continue.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        title here

        Do you really think that they would work for Apple?

  2. CapitalW

    Cue the Rolling Stones, please!

    Sorry, I just had a flashback.....

    Mine's the one with the 45's and a couple spindle adapters in the oversized pockets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      RE: Cue the Rolling Stones, please!

      "Uh-huh, this town's full of money grabbers

      Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don't mind the maggots, huh

      Shadoobie, my Apple TV's been SHAttered "

      How's that?

      1. CapitalW
        Thumb Up

        Not bad at all

        It was rather late last night when I saw the article and my brain had already turned to mush so I couldn't think of any lyrics....

  3. Neal 5

    $99 is not the buy in price.

    seeing as the only option is streaming music or pictures at the moment, if you want movies, you'll need at least an ipod as well, an if you cant shift your arse an inch you'll need the apple remote too. I reckon the buy in for iTV is more like $500 not $99. Before you get into any extras. Is that not in itself monopolistic in exactly the same way as IE was with Microsoft?.

    So, yep, jailbreaking is probably the cheapest option all round, unless of course you need to buy another new liver from some poor Moldovian peasant, who you think would do anything for the price of an iTV.

    1. The BigYin


      With lock-in you can give an artificially low purchase price and claw the loss back through other subsequent (e.g. mobile, printers...). The low initial price suckers people in and then they keep giving you money.

      With more open solutions, the purchaser would have to pay a realistic price up-front for a device. This is why (say) a Droid phone is "free" on a contract but £400-ish to buy outright.

      Companies like lock-in for the recurring revenue, and most users are too stupid to do the maths and figure out which option is better for them.

      The big thing that pisses me off about lock-in is when a simple feature is missing and you can't add it (e.g. streaming movies from a PC to a Wii or old-xBox) without hacking into it.

      I guess I would settle for lock-in that at least co-operated with open standards.

    2. DZ-Jay

      Re: $99 is not the buy in price.

      Or, you could just pay $99.00 and use your existing Netflix subscription to view movies normally, with the occasional expense of renting a movie for $5.00 for 48 hours from the iTunes Store, just as some do with their Pay-Per-View On-Demand Cable service.

      And you can use the Apple Remote that comes with the AppleTV.

      Oh, look at that! The buy in price *is* $99.00 then. No iPod/iPhone or extra purchases needed, but don't let facts interfere with a rabid rant.


      1. JEDIDIAH

        No. $99 still isn't the buy in price.

        > Oh, look at that! The buy in price *is* $99.00 then. No

        > iPod/iPhone or extra purchases needed, but don't let

        > facts interfere with a rabid rant.

        You're forgetting about the HDMI cable they didn't include.

        This annoyed me about the Roku too.

        1. DZ-Jay

          Re: $99 is not the buy in price.

          Fine, $99.00 + $9.99. Wow, broke my bank.


  4. Confuciousmobil


    The SHAtter exploit was found by pod2g and has been given to the Chronic Dev Team as well as the iPhone Dev Team.

    It will take a change in the hardware to fix it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As a developer it is nice to romantically imagine that little ole me could do some of this jailbreaking stuff, but in reality is way beyond my remotest skills ..... yet i still wonder why it is worth it, why not instead buy the product from the company that makes something the consumer wants.

    Isn't that how market forces work?

    Since i can already get a box that plugs into the TV, into the internet, into my NAS and home network, has SSH and runs some streaming media tools to even show content stored on my xbox.... why do i want another walled garden from Apple?

    1. The BigYin

      As I said above

      Initial purchase price. Why buy a FlibbertyGibbit for $500, when AppleTV is "only" $99? The fact that the FlibbertyGibbit has no subsequent costs (or very low costs) won't enter people's heads.

      1. A J Stiles

        Yes indeed

        That is why, until permanent pilot burners on gas boilers were effectively outlawed, central heating manufacturers would routinely sell the "electronic ignition" model for c. £100 more than the "permanent pilot" model which actually cost more to make.

        It's the same story: make the initial purchase as cheap as possible, and gouge the customer on what they need to go with it later. It appeals to the human manifestation of the same instinct that makes dogs prefer the taste of food stolen from someone else's plate.

  6. Matthew 17

    Curious that it runs iOS yet has exactly the same interface

    As the old ATV that ran OSX.

    A lack of a hard drive / flash memory on the new one makes it less interesting as you'll not be able to install your own apps on (unless you could install stuff to a USB device).

    1. Pandy06269

      Not curious at all really

      If an application is well-developed, you can swap out components of it (such as the underlying OS comms layer, or the database access layer) without changing any other part of the app, including the UI.

      Look up N-Tier on Wikipedia.

    2. Joe Montana

      Not curious at all...

      iOS is based on the same code as OSX, recompiling the AppleTV interface to run on ARM instead of x86 can't have been all that difficult.

  7. Pat 11

    Nation state

    Security experts say only a nation state would be able to assemble a hack of this complexity. Or they would do if they weren't busy claiming some worm was cyber warfare.

  8. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Mini media server

    That's what I want a jail-broken one for. Install a DNLA server and plug in some storage and ta muchly, Steve-O.

  9. David Haworth

    media centres

    The ideal app for me for installation onto the new appletv would be replacement media centre software such as XBMC, Boxee, or for preference, Plex, though I don't think the latter will happen as they want to stay on apple's good side.

    the flip-side of it running iOS is the potential for an appletv app store at some point in the future when apps could "legitimately" be made/sold for the appletv.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: media centres

      XBMC runs very nicely on the original Apple TV, playing content off Nas boxes with aplomb.

      A cheap 40GB Apple TV of eBay and a patchstick to install XBMC is all you need.

  10. vincent himpe

    iHardware is essentially a warehouse club card

    The warhouseclub being SteveCo who supplies you with consumables like music, movices, books , applications , none of which SteveCo produces. they are only a distrbutor.

    Whatever iHardware you buy (pod,phone,tv,computer) is your entrance card to SteveCo.

    It allows you to buy more consumables from SteveCo.

    Jailbreaking allows you to use the iHardware to consume stuff from other companies.

  11. David Haworth

    @Tony Smith

    oh, I'm well aware of that, as i have an old appletv patched up with XBMC on it currently, but it doesn't feel as fast and snappy as I'd like nor does it do HD. Also the Plex offshoot is looking good atm, and I would hope that they would create a plex frontend app if/when an ATV appstore opens

  12. Michael Xion

    Perfectly good reason to purchase..

    I have all of my music ripped to iTunes on my iMac. I like to listen to my music and watch concert DVDs on my high end TV and stereo from my patio. The apple remote for my iPod connected to my stereo, I find pretty useless. By spending $129 on the Apple TV (Australia), I get to listen to ALL of my music (not just what I can fit on the iPod), plus rip my concert DVDs and have them play on my TV - and all controlled by my iPhone using the remote software.

    And before anyone chimes in about the 'real' cost of all this, the iPhone is work supplied, and the iMac is 4 years old. So it really is a small investment to make my leisure time more pleasurable. I don't really care about the renting/buying/downloading of movies/tv shows/music as I already have most of the media content I want already in my possession.

    If I want to buy a TV show I just wait and purchase the boxed set from wherever in the world it is cheapest and rip it, then I've always got the original media as backup ie I can purchase the limited edition 4 season box set of 'The IT Crowd' from Amazon Uk for $47Aus. The downloaded version through iTunes will set me back more than that just for the first 3 seasons.

    BTW got shipping confirmation for my ATV yesterday, contrary to some reports about delays.

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