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AppleTV update 3.0.2 and XBMC, Boxee, ssh

A few days ago I noticed that Apple had released update 3.0.2 for AppleTV and I managed to get in front of the new update. I upgraded my AppleTV to v3.0.2 (which wiped my XBMC, Boxee, and ssh hacks as usual). So I downloaded the 3.0.2 update image directly to my laptop:

I snagged the latest ATVUSB-Creator (recently upgraded to v1.0b13) and installed it on my laptop:

I plugged in my 1GB USB memory stuck (which has the old patchstick software, but that will be erased).
I ran df -h in a Terminal window to figure out the disk path, on my laptop, that is “/dev/disk2” – but it varies so check carefully.

I ran the ATVUSB-Creator software, made sure it was set to create an ATV-Patchstick and that ssh-tools was checked (which also gives you bin utils, Software Menu, and XBMC/Boxee for Mac). It is critical to Choose a DMG and find and select the 2Z694-6013-013.dmg downloaded earlier. It is also critical to select the correct USB device, in my case /dev/disk2 to match my USB patch stick.

I unplugged my AppleTV, inserted my new USB patch stick, and plugged the AppleTV back in. That booted a little tuxedo penguin and ran the install scripts that install ssh, XBMC, Launcher, Software Menu, and Boxee. This does not remove your media files (which concerned me).

Once the install script is finished, I unplugged the AppleTV and removed the USB patch stick, plugged the AppleTV back in and waited about 3 minutes for it to boot.

I reset Networking Settings to use Ethernet and static IP settings (it comes back after the Apple update with DHCP settings). I made sure the AppleTV settings were all still good.

I used Launcher/Downloads to:

  • upgrade to Launcher 3.2.4, unless it is already at 3.2.4 – check with About
  • upgrade to Boxee
  • upgrade to XBMC 9.11, this took a few times to work successfully

Restart AppleTV, test Boxee and XBMC functionality.

{ 29 } Comments

  1. Charles Loflin | February 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Actually, you don’t need to manually download the 3.0.2 update. In the ATV USB Creator, don’t Choose a DMG. Just click the Create Using button and it will download the dmg (in this case 2Z694-6013-013.dmg).

    What I’d really like to know is if I had done this BEFORE running the upgrade on the Apple TV, if I could have avoided having the upgrade wipe Boxee and all its settings. If that is the case, then it seems like the way to update the Apple TV firmware would be to use ATV USB Creator instead of using Update Software on the Apple TV.

    But I’m not sure if that would work (and having already made the mistake of running Update Software on the Apple TV, I guess I won’t know until the next update comes around.

  2. snolan | February 27, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Interesting points… Hmmm….
    I must come up with a way to back up the AppleTV before major updates of any sort so I can test these and repeat them.

  3. Michael | March 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you SO much for this post! I had messed around with Boxee on the ATV many months ago, but after an ATV update killed it, I never threw it back on. I have been googling for quite a while now, looking for instructions on how to reinstall Boxee on 3.0.2, and found your blog. Much appreciated!

  4. lady.tup | April 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I for some reason did all the steps and I put the patch stick in and it just won’t pull up the linux penguin and it doesn’t even recognize if you could please help with what I am doing wrong that would be GREAT thanks!!!!

  5. snolan | April 8, 2010 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Some people reported problems with some patch sticks. I got some of the best information from the following links:

    I can’t see what is happening, but your comment sounds similar to many people who were using USB thumb drives that were not recognized by the AppleTV (typically smaller than 512MB or larger than 2GB). My attempts have all been with name brand 1GB thumb drives and they have worked.

    Good luck.

  6. lady.tup | April 8, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    THANKS!!!! I am using a 4gig PNY that could possibly why I will go and try a 2gig thanks and post my progress Thank you!!!!

  7. lady.tup | April 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I hacked it and it WORKED yeay but when I was downloading on 3rd party it said to hold down the play pause butter to restart it and it boots up with no sound and after it boots it goes blank and you could only hear the buttons like when you press menu or the side buttons but no video output did i ruin it is there any way to restart the apple tv manually. sorry for all there questions

  8. snolan | April 10, 2010 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    My AppleTV goes out to never-never land once in a while, it did that even before I hacked it. I have to either power cycle it with the power button, or ssh into it and reboot it with “sudo reboot” to recover it when that happens, which is thankfully not often.

  9. Wayne Pettett | May 9, 2010 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I have been trying to download the 3.0.2 update from the Apple site on my Windows laptop so I can create a new install of boxee with no success!!!!!. Does anybody know of another download site??


  10. snolan | May 9, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Wayne, try again – Apple may have been in a maintenance cycle, because it downloads for my just fine now.

    Interestingly, since this last install – the periodic locking up has stopped.

  11. Phil Haigh | May 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I went through this and upgraded my AppleTV to 3.0.2 and successfully installed the tools and new menu entries. However after resetting the AppleTV I am unable to download Boxee or a menu update as you have suggested. Very puzzled.

  12. snolan | May 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I confess I have stopped using Boxee as XBMC has become so nice.
    I recall there was an issue with the loader’s update feature not working for a bit when AppleTV OS 3 first came out as the Boxee beta we needed to work with AppleTV OS 3 was newer than the one in the XBMC software loader updater… but surely that has been fixed by now.

  13. snolan | May 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Phil, I checked my Boxee by going to settings/general; it is version

    Then I checked Launcher/Downloads and see that is available for download, I clicked to download the 53.2MB update. It took about 90 seconds to download and a several minutes to run the update script (grab the paper or some food).

    Going back into Launcher/Boxee… caused my AppleTV software to lockup… groan. So I had to ssh frontrow@appletv.local from my laptop and “sudo reboot” the AppleTV, but after the reboot Boxee works fine again.

    Launcher/Boxee, then Up, Right to select the gear cog icon for Settings/General to see version:, yay, the update worked.
    I picked TV Show “24” from Fox with ads to test, and it is working fine (though I confess I mostly use XBMC now).

  14. Erick | May 13, 2010 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    I hacked it and it WORKED yeay but when I was downloading on 3rd party it said to hold down the play pause butter to restart it and it boots up with no sound and after it boots it goes blank and you could only hear the buttons like when you press menu or the side buttons but no video output did i ruin it is there any way to restart the apple tv manually. sorry for all there questions

  15. snolan | May 13, 2010 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The only ways I know of to reboot the AppleTV when it gets wonky are to ssh in from a computer and “sudo reboot” or to simply pull the power plug out, wait a minute, and put the power plug back in.

  16. Gilles Cool | September 2, 2010 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    I did Apple update by mistake and XBMC/Boxee are gone.
    A way to restart is to “factory reset” under settings and re-install with USB patch.
    After updating the launcher u have an option called ATV update – set it to NO

  17. joe | September 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Ok, so this is all good, but, has anyone installedthge nito tv and gotton it to work via smb? on a mac runnning 10.4.11. Its actually something cool, it will let you view flash sites aon your tv….. but i cant seem to get the connection to work with this new update. there website has a few tutorials but my system panel doesnt look like theres and i have been trying to contact them , but to no avail, yet anyways, its only been a day or so… please, any help would be great.

  18. snolan | September 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Joe, I have not even tried nito; it looks like it has some of the same issues as Couch Surfer (needing to grab a flash player off an Intel Tiger box or Intel Tiger CD/DVD).

    There is a lot of information about nito on:

    OK, I need to start exploring nito… it looks like it may be better than Boxees and Couch Surfer… thanks.

  19. Wade Hinshaw | November 9, 2010 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    I had the same problem and this is what I found this should help I am copying this from boxee forums page that I posted

    I just installed Boxee on my Apple T.V. everything loaded properly and I was in the process of installing all of the add on’s and apple tv came up with an error and need to restart. It did and then I lost the the main screen when I use the remote I can hear the sound that it is moving menu items but I can’t see anything. furthermore when I leave it for a few minutes the screen saver pop’s up and I can see that. any help would be appreciated. Even going back to the apple software would be fine now I have a paper weight right now.


    Boxee I used to Install was atvusb-creator-1.0.b13

    After searching the net for hours to get my Apple TV back up and running I found the solution I tried the basic apple restore that ever one was talking about with SSH if you have this problem I suggest trying this first. here it is

    ssh frontrow@appletv.local
    Password: frontrow
    2.Delete launcher and XBMC / Boxee
    sudo rm -rf /Applications/
    3.Remove settings of Boxee :
    rm -rf /Users/frontrow/Library/Application\ Support/BOXEE/

    4.Reboot and that’s it
    sudo reboot

    this did not work for me it might for you. this is what worked for me and Scott Forbes deserves the credit. thanks you Scott

    Scott Forbes…store-via-ssh/

    YourMac:~ you$ ssh frontrow@appletv.local
    frontrow@appletv.local‘s password: frontrow
    Last login: Fri Feb 26 22:55:22 2010
    -bash-2.05b$ sudo mv /mach.sym /bad.mach.sym
    Password: frontrow
    -bash-2.05b$ sudo mv /mach_kernel.prelink /bad.mach_kernel.prelink
    -bash-2.05b$ sudo shutdown -r now

    I did not have to do what is mentioned below but Scott did check out his blog if you have any questions.

    The shutdown command reboots the AppleTV and logs you out; when the box comes back up you won’t be able to SSH into it anymore, but (at least in my case) it came up with the “select your language” menu, followed by a menu that contained the factory restore option. (For what it’s worth, I also had to unplug and re-plug the HDMI cable to get my AppleTV fully working again.) After the factory restore I had to do the usual steps to get the AppleTV back on my wireless network, connected to iTunes, etc., but once all was said and done my AppleTV is back to normal.


  20. shanoboy | January 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to follow along with your instructions, but haven’t had much luck. I’m using the Patchstick Creator for Windows and the output is a IMG file on my USB drive. Is that the same way it works with the Mac utility?

  21. snolan | January 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    No – the Patchstick creator is supposed to create a whole file system with several directories and many files.

    I don’t use Windows, but the instructions at iClarified are pretty good and they have Windows specific instructions.

  22. Tellyphile | January 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I have been trying to download atv-usb-creator to my brand new Apple TV without success. No problem getting the software onto 2GB USB sticks (a Sandisk Cruzer standard model and a new flash version of same). I then plug a micro-USB cable into the ATV and use a female-to-female adaptor to connect the USB and restart the ATV. All that happens is that the normal ATV menu comes up on the screen. The USB stick does not flash and no software is downloaded. Can anyone please tell me what I am doing wrong and what I need to do. Thanks.

  23. snolan | January 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Tellyphile, you say “brand new Apple TV” and “micro-USB” – that leads me to think you are trying to hack the new “Take 2” Apple TV that is $99 and has no internal hard drive at all. The ATV USB creator hack will not work on that model, only the older Apple TV models that have a hard drive.

    For the new model, you need to either live with it as it is supported from Apple, or use the iOS specific “jail-break” style hacks to add more software.

    They are two VERY different architectures with almost nothing in common underneath the FrontRow menu. In many ways it is a shame Apple named them both the AppleTV, because it is confusing.

  24. Tellyphile | January 10, 2011 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the explanation. Now I know why it doesn’t work!

  25. joggerjohn | March 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Followed instructions, all appears working apart from Apple remote which sometimes get stuck and only allows up and down via + and – BUT >> doesnt work and because of that i cannot tell if << works either.
    Any ideas??? so close to getting it working

  26. Jose | February 29, 2012 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    Hello, I am joining the conversation a bit late, and I am new to mac , so i am not familar with terminal , my issue is after the install i cant upgrade nothing buyt xmbc , i cant do anything with boxee,

    Apple tv ver:3.0.2
    software menu version 1.0b1

    i can in stall it no problem , but boxee wont load i keep getting the

    Error: Cannot launch XBMC from path:
    /applications/Boxee/contents/mac os/boxee

    what should i do to get it to work , please let me know thanks!!!

  27. pookeroo | March 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    boxee wont work no more with apple tv

  28. snolan | March 9, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    That’s odd, pookeroo, because I am watching Caprica on Boxee on my AppleTV 160GB with v3.0.2 software right now.
    Yes, a lot of programming has changed, and Boxee is slow on the old AppleTV – but it works just fine.

  29. pookeroo22 | March 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    i also have apple tv 160 gb with v3.0.2 software and jailbreaked it with atv flash 4.4.1 and i can run xbmc threw my launcher no problems but when i try threw launcher to run boxee i get a error message of Error: Cannot launch XBMC from path:
    /applications/Boxee/contents/mac os/boxee. I know now you cannot update or download boxee threw the launcher and only be done manually. your lucky if your boxee still works

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