Difference between revisions of "Enable USB Storage on 2.x"

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Revision as of 04:01, 26 April 2008


This how-to is dedicated for the installation of USB mass storage support on an AppleTV Take 2. There is another page for enabling USB mass storage on an AppleTV 1.0 or 1.1.

This page is a compilation of bits and pieces of other how-to's in this wiki, mainly

Ben Mackin's USB enabler patch doesn't work with AppleTV V2.0.1 or V2.0.2 /mach_kernel.prelink. So copy the V2.0 /mach_kernel.prelink to your Mac before updating.


In order to enable mounting external USB devices, you will need

  • SSH access to the AppleTV, or its harddisk directly connected to your computer
  • Turbo's .kext enabler
  • Ben Mackin's kernel patcher.
  • Mac OS X Tiger - Intel: extensions for USB mass storage I/O



Enabling USB requires to modify /mach_kernel.prelink on the AppleTV. If this file isn't there yet, this means the system partition hasn't been forced to be mounted read/write yet. Force it read/write with:

ssh frontrow@AppleTV.local
sudo -s
mount -uw /
touch /.readwrite

Kext enabler

Turbo's Kext enabler allows to load .kext system extensions into the system.

  • Copy it to the AppleTV in folder /sbin/ and check for the file's attributes:
ssh frontrow@AppleTV.local
sudo -s
cd /sbin/
ls -l turbo_kext_enabler.bin
  • You might want to change them to:
chown root:wheel turbo_kext_enabler.bin
chmod 555 turbo_kext_enabler.bin

Turbo's USB patch doesn't work for AppleTV 2.0 yet.

Kernel patch

Ben Mackin has written a kernel patcher for enabling USB.

Note: the Take 2 Full Update page seems to indicate that the kernel patcher only works on Intel Macs, and has to be recompiled from source for PPC Macs (or other platforms).

To patch the kernel:

  • Extract the kernelpatch folder from it (double-click).
  • Copy the AppleTV's /mach_kernel.prelink to your Mac inside that folder.
  • Inside the Terminal, cd into that folder. Once there:
mv mach_kernel.prelink mach_kernel_original.prelink
mv mach_kernel_patched.prelink mach_kernel.prelink
  • Copy the new /mach_kernel.prelink back to the AppleTV.

Extensions for USB drives

The following extensions are needed fo mounting USB drives:


I got mine from a Mac OS X Tiger install on an Intel machine.

The ones from the Darwin x86 iso won't work: with these, I get the message:

kextload: loaded version 1.5.1 of module com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily differs from requested version com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily

It seems one can retrieve files from a downloadable combo update. I didn't try that...

Once the files are copied, you can try if they work. Reboot the AppleTV and:

ssh frontrow@AppleTV.local
sudo -s
/sbin/kextload -v /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBMassStorageClass.kext

If the loading works fine, plug an USB drive to the AppleTV and check if it is seen by the system:

diskutil list

You should see

   #:                   type name               size      identifier
   0:  GUID_partition_scheme                    *37.3 GB  disk0
   1:                    EFI                    34.0 MB   disk0s1
   2:         Apple_Recovery                    400.0 MB  disk0s2
   3:              Apple_HFS OSBoot             900.0 MB  disk0s3
   4:              Apple_HFS Media              35.8 GB   disk0s4
   #:                   type name               size      identifier

where, /dev/disk1 is the newly mounted USB drive.

Automatic loading at boot

Automatically loading the USB mass storage extension at boot can be done with the help of /etc/rc.local. Create or edit the file and add the commands from the following listing:

# rc.local

# enable USB
/sbin/kextload /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBMassStorageClass.kext

Restart the AppleTV and try pluging and unplugging an USB drive.