Jailbreaking AppleTV 2 / iOS 4.2.1

I finally managed to make this work and install XBMC. Oh what a frustrating process that was. I must have run into every single one of the various problems people have reported. Error 21, Error 1600, Error 1602, no SSH after jailbreak, no network after jailbreak. Trying with both Seas0nPass and PwnageTool/tetheredboot. Endless restores and switching between HDMI and Micro-USB cable. At one point, I had SSH, but the XBMC apt install seemingly crashed the device and it wouldn’t reboot.

The forums are full with all kinds of variations on the default instructions that people say worked for them, but it all seems mostly random. I have no clear answers either, but here are some things that appeared to make a difference for me:

  • It’s hard to tell what’s going on with the device and what mode it currently is in, but I had the most success when using the interactive instructions included in PwnageTool to enter DFU mode. I think it’s because without those, I tended to press MENU/PLAY for less then the 7 seconds recommended, and PwnageTool forced me to do it right. It seems like those 7 seconds might actually be close to the minimum required, and when in doubt, you should err on the side of holding the buttons for longer than shorter. What’s confusing is that it seems the AppleTV can appear in iTunes even before the 7 seconds are over, which might make you release the buttons too early.
  • The restore process never worked for me while the power cable was plugged in.
  • Most other problems just mysteriously disappeared after a while after restoring the original firmware and attempting the jailbreak again.
  • The no-networking problem went away after switching from a firmware built with PwnageTool to one built with Seas0nPass. However, I previously had the same PwnageTool firmware running with a working network as well, and the internet is full of reports of the problem appearing after reboots or waking from sleep, so I can probably look forward to the issue appearing again as well.

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