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jailbreak playstation 3Sony traditionally only allows the PlayStation 3 to run signed software. Much like the iTunes App Store, this means all software has to be specifically approved by Sony. But in the case of the PlayStation 3, nearly all software comes from Sony, and the closest an amateur developer can come to running his own software is to publish a Sony-approved (mini) game in the PlayStation store. That’s an awful lot of  Sony’s, and bitter little freedom.


Just recently, the indestructible phantom we call the PlayStation 3 was finally hacked by the homebrew scene. In short succession, costly third-party hardware solution were replaced by virtually free, open-source DIY alternatives. Now everyone with a computer and some rudimentary technical skills (or this tutorial) can hack their PlayStation 3 and run unsigned software with it.

What does it mean for you? Homebrew (amateur) applications can be run from the PlayStation, with virtually no restrictions. We’re talking about GBA emulators, FTP servers, video players with support for more codecs and, sadly, also piracy. That leads us to this disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER – Jailbreaking your PlayStation 3, even if you don’t use it for piracy, might be illegal in your country. Sony definitely doesn’t like it, and might ban you from the PlayStation Network account if you aren’t careful. Jailbreaking is done by choice and your actions are your own responsibility, as are any repercussions.

In truth, if you want to jailbreak a PlayStation 3, it’s a lot less risky than it was to put custom firmware on your PSP How to Downgrade PSP & Upgrade to a Custom Firmware (2) How to Downgrade PSP & Upgrade to a Custom Firmware (2) Read More . There’s currently no real risk for your PlayStation 3 (save for the applications you download), and now that the U.S. Supreme Court considers iPhone jailbreaking ‘fair use’, legal consequences are not very likely. However, piracy is always a crime. Play it safe and disconnect your PlayStation 3 from the internet while using PSGroove to squelch the chances of getting banned.

1. A Short Recap Of PS3 Jailbreak History

The people who cracked the PlayStation 3’s defenses decided to get rich and released it as a particularly pricey USB-stick. With the stick inserted, your PlayStation can be jailbroken upon boot. The company behind the PSJailbreak got sued and shipping was stopped in its tracks, but a few samples had already been given out. One of those samples ended up in the hands of a programmer with a USB sniffer, a device that’s stuck in between the USB device and USB port, and takes note of the conversation.

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jailbreak playstation 3

In virtually no time, PSJailbreak was reverse engineered and an open source clone was released online. This open source version, called PSGroove, could be downloaded and programmed on a USB device for virtually no money, and worked the same as PSJailbreak, albeit with back-ups disabled in an effort to prevent piracy. Being open source, it didn’t take long for the back-up functionality to return.

2. How To Use PSGroove

Prerequisites

  • PlayStation 3 with firmware version 3.41.
  • A PSGroove-compatible device.

As mentioned before, PSGroove works by programming a USB device and plugging it into PlayStation 3 with firmware version 3.41. Programming is not the same as copying files on it, so you’ll need a PSGroove-compatible device. Note that this method currently requires PlayStation 3 firmware version 3.41. If you’re below that, you’ll have to update manually. Otherwise, you’d best stop where you are and hope the homebrew scene catches up.

A hard reset and short succession of the power button and eject button will boot your PlayStation 3 in jailbroken mode, with the ability to install homebrew software. PSGroove actually uses a heap overflow attack which ultimately allows unsigned software to run. A more elaborate explanation can be found on the PS3Wiki.

how to jailbreak playstation 3

The beauty is that a simple reboot will return your PlayStation 3 to its natural state. Only this specific start-up sequence will give you a temporally jailbroken PlayStation 3. The downside is of course that you’ll need to plug in the PSGroove USB device every time again. Although PSGroove can be programmed on the Android, iPhone and even the PSP, this is highly unpractical, not advised, and will not be covered in this tutorial.

how to jailbreak playstation 3

Your best option is to buy a PSGroove-compatible USB board, as shown below. These cost roughly $20 and can be left plugged into the back of the PlayStation 3.

Recommended USB Boards

These boards can all be used with all operating systems and are by far the easiest to use. Alternative USB boards can be found on the PS3News forums.

3. Programming The USB Boards

All links in the article use Hermes’ branch of the PSGroove code, as it’s currently the most recent version. This branch supports booting backups without having a Blu-Ray disk inserted, but you still have to use the Backup Manager application to free backup functonality. As this article dates, it’s advised to Google, check the PS3 News forums, or PS3 QJ.net for new, more recent branches. The steps detailed below remain the same.

There are two ways of programming the USB board. The first and most conventional method is to adjust the PSGroove (Hermes) source code to fit it to your board. If you’ve got one of the boards specified above, these alternative MAKE settings can be easily found on the internet.

A more convenient way is to find the (already compiled) board-specific hex files. In a matter of minutes, these can be written to your USB board. No matter your operating system, hex application or USB board, the steps are the same. Connect your USB board, use the hex application to navigate to the corresponding hex file, and write it to your device.

Download the PSGroove (Hermes) HEX Codes (alternative mirror)

This download only includes the HEX codes for the boards mentioned above. A Google search will yield the HEX codes for most other boards, though.

3.1 – Teensy Loader

The Teensy boards mentioned above use a different application, Teensy Loader. It’s available for all major operating systems and incredibly simple to use.

how to jailbreak playstation 3

playstation 3 jailbreak

Connect your USB board to your computer, press the small black button at the end of the board, and open the Teensy Loader application. Consequently select File -> Open HEX File and Operations -> Program. That’s it!

3.2 – FLIP Tool or DFU Programmer

The AT90USBKEY board needs a different application, called FLIP tool, only available for Windows and Linux. Mac users can use DFU Programmer instead.

jailbreak playstation 3

With Atmel Flip, press and hold the RST button, then press the HWD button. Release the RST button first, and then the HWD button. If Windows asks for a driver, point it to the USB folder inside your Flip application folder (e.g. C:\Program Files\Flip\USB ). Launch the Flip application, and select your device. Click the USB icon and select USB.  Now select File -> Open and locate your HEX file, and subsequently click on Erase, Program, Verify and Run. You’re all set.

That’s it. Have you jailbroken your PlayStation 3 yet? Let us know about your experiences below.

  1. OSMAN-163
    December 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    CAN I PLAY ONLINE IF I jailbreak my PS3?

  2. Tom Cruize
    December 18, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Last Jailbreak avaiable on http://www.unlockiphone4-now.com

  3. Jorge
    December 16, 2010 at 3:59 am

    This version of PSGROOVE needs insert a CD to work?

  4. NINJAGARDEN
    December 10, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    3.55 FIRMWARE?

  5. dpas
    December 10, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Hi, If you have to purchase the items and do all the work - you can purchase the programed usb from this site.

    http://www.r4king.com/ps-jailb...

    18$ is less than the cost for the tinsy and no extra work to be done on your part.

  6. Hrogers
    December 8, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Wow, I agree with the comments thanking you for bringing it all together. My number one problem as a newcomer to Ps3 and the concept of jailbreaking was the "dropping into the middle" of countless ongoing discussions, each of which assumed sometimes vast amounts of prior knowledge. I am not a programmer, but I can follow detailed step-by-step instructions, if no prior knowledge is assumed by the author. Unfortunately I bogged down when I reached "Your best option is to buy a PSGroove-compatible USB board, as shown below. These cost roughly $20 and can be left plugged into the back of the PlayStation 3." I found no places to "plug it into the back" of my 160 GB Ps3 (system 3.41). Only the two USB ports on the front. I fell farther and farther from the understanding-curve with terms such as "adjust the PSGroove (Hermes) source code to fit it to your board" (no clue here). "If you’ve got one of the boards specified above, these alternative MAKE settings can be easily found on the internet." I promise you there would be nothing easy about whatever this statement means for me, until I had an explanation of what these things mean. I have downloaded the Hermes hex files and the teensy loader, so if I purchase a teensy board, could I possibly figure out exactly how to program and use it? If it didn't work, I would be completely clueless on how to troubleshoot the reason. What do you suggest for this newbie?- H. Rogers

  7. Hrogers
    December 8, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Wow, I agree with the comments thanking you for bringing it all together. My number one problem as a newcomer to Ps3 and the concept of jailbreaking was the "dropping into the middle" of countless ongoing discussions, each of which assumed sometimes vast amounts of prior knowledge. I am not a programmer, but I can follow detailed step-by-step instructions, if no prior knowledge is assumed by the author. Unfortunately I bogged down when I reached "Your best option is to buy a PSGroove-compatible USB board, as shown below. These cost roughly $20 and can be left plugged into the back of the PlayStation 3." I found no places to "plug it into the back" of my 160 GB Ps3 (system 3.41). Only the two USB ports on the front. I fell farther and farther from the understanding-curve with terms such as "adjust the PSGroove (Hermes) source code to fit it to your board" (no clue here). "If you’ve got one of the boards specified above, these alternative MAKE settings can be easily found on the internet." I promise you there would be nothing easy about whatever this statement means for me, until I had an explanation of what these things mean. I have downloaded the Hermes hex files and the teensy loader, so if I purchase a teensy board, could I possibly figure out exactly how to program and use it? If it didn't work, I would be completely clueless on how to troubleshoot the reason. What do you suggest for this newbie?- H. Rogers

  8. nipit
    December 5, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Can I use my Ordinary flashdisk like kingston, or I must buy USB Board? Where's Buy USB Board. Thanks

  9. Adeemshahzad
    November 23, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Can i play online with PSgroove .....E.G USB drive iplugged in PS3 and i can do online gamming????????

    • Simon Slangen
      November 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

      I wouldn't advise you to. If you're going to play online, best unplug your PSGroove USB device first.

  10. Simon Slangen
    November 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    No, it's (currently) not possible — at least not practical. Here's why.

  11. Oleq27
    November 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Could you use your computer to hack the playstation 3 throught the usb port on your computer?

    • Simon Slangen
      November 13, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      No, it's (currently) not possible — at least not practical. Here's why.

  12. Initial
    October 13, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Oh ok. I just need some clarification on this part of the article.

    "The beauty is that a simple reboot will return your PlayStation 3 to its natural state. Only this specific start-up sequence will give you a temporally jailbroken PlayStation 3. The downside is of course that you’ll need to plug in the PSGroove USB device every time again."

    Does this mean that the Teensy Board will have to be plugged in every time you'd want to play backups? And if you remove the Teensy Board, the PS3 will boot up as not jailbroken? If so, would I be able to go onto Playstation Network with my original game disc without risking the chance of being banned?

    Thanks again for the great guide.

  13. Initial
    October 12, 2010 at 3:22 am

    When you want to update to a newer hex, how would you approach this?

    • Simon Slangen
      October 12, 2010 at 5:35 am

      Just follow the tutorial as if it were a brand new board. These boards can be infinitely reprogrammed!

      • Initial
        October 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm

        Oh ok. I just need some clarification on this part of the article.

        "The beauty is that a simple reboot will return your PlayStation 3 to its natural state. Only this specific start-up sequence will give you a temporally jailbroken PlayStation 3. The downside is of course that you’ll need to plug in the PSGroove USB device every time again."

        Does this mean that the Teensy Board will have to be plugged in every time you'd want to play backups? And if you remove the Teensy Board, the PS3 will boot up as not jailbroken? If so, would I be able to go onto Playstation Network with my original game disc without risking the chance of being banned?

        Thanks again for the great guide.

        • Simon Slangen
          October 14, 2010 at 1:20 pm

          That's how PSGroove works, and you should be able to. But do keep in mind that SONY can use other ways to determine you've jailbroken your PS3. Allegedly, SONY specifically looks if you've got one of several known back-up manager installed - which they would be able to even if your PS3 isn't 'jailbroken' at the time.

  14. Versatile
    October 6, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for the guide! My friend ordered the PS3Break so he is pretty excited. :)

  15. Simon Slangen
    October 5, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Short answer - sorry, no.
    Long answer - these offer storage, ergo basic user interaction, but that doesn't make them readily programmable. Although they probably should be 'flashable', the exact process would differ from device to device, and it would definitely be a lot more difficult than using a programmable board. There has even been a case of someone using his sixaxis controller, but it involved breaking open the device and soldering in a chip. Not the kind of stuff for a simple tutorial.

    If you do want to use a device at hand, you're looking at (again, programmable) graphical calculators, smartphones and iPods. We didn't cover those, because it's impractical to leave them plugged into your PS3, or to reprogram them every time you want to play.

  16. Simon Slangen
    October 5, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Glad you like it, that's why I wrote the guide.

    Tip: check qj.net/ps3/homebrew for up and coming homebrew application.

    A current best of:
    x) Open manager v1.14.2 OR Backup Manager v2 (back-ups)
    x) PS3 FTP Server
    x) PS3 USB custom firmware loader v0.3
    x) trick: Connect to PSN without Updating

    -!- IMPORTANT -!-
    Hermes has updated (already twice) his custom payload of PSGroove to v3. The HEX files are included as well. Enjoy!

  17. Simon Slangen
    October 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Glad you like it, that's why I wrote the guide.Tip: check qj.net/ps3/homebrew for up and coming homebrew application. A current best of:x) Open manager v1.14.2 OR Backup Manager v2 (back-ups)x) PS3 FTP Serverx) PS3 USB custom firmware loader v0.3x) trick: Connect to PSN without Updating-!- IMPORTANT -!-Hermes has updated (already twice) his custom payload of PSGroove to v3. The HEX files are included as well. Enjoy!

  18. Lewis
    October 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Can you not use a memory stick pro duo or ad card or USB stick?

    • Simon Slangen
      October 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Short answer - sorry, no.Long answer - these offer storage, ergo basic user interaction, but that doesn't make them readily programmable. Although they probably should be 'flashable', the exact process would differ from device to device, and it would definitely be a lot more difficult than using a programmable board. There has even been a case of someone using his sixaxis controller, but it involved breaking open the device and soldering in a chip. Not the kind of stuff for a simple tutorial.

      If you do want to use a device at hand, you're looking at (again, programmable) graphical calculators, smartphones and iPods. We didn't cover those, because it's impractical to leave them plugged into your PS3, or to reprogram them every time you want to play.

  19. Jhinchcy
    October 5, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you so much for the info! I have looked around for a complete information guide to everything thats happened so far with this subject and found little info and none as complete as yours is. This helped out a lot.

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