Enable USB Storage on 2.x

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Revision as of 07:49, 27 March 2008 by Fcorthay (talk | contribs) (Extensions for USB drives)
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This how-to is a compilation of bits and pieces of other how-to's in this wiki, such as


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:

ssh frontrow@AppleTV.local
sudo -s
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.

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 the PPC machines.

  • Extract the kernelpatch folder from it (double-click).
  • Copy /mach_kernel.prelink to your Mac inside that folder.
  • Inside the Terminal, cd to 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:

/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:

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