The PS4 has had a good run. It’s been 10 years since its initial launch back in November 2013, and it continues to stand strong even today. However, it’s plain to see that the era of the PS4 is now over; the PS5 has taken over.
Over this past year, it has become apparent that the PS4 does not have enough power in its hardware to run the newest generation of games like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 at best possible performance. As a result, many game studios, including Sony‘s own first-party studios are not releasing the newer exclusives on the PS4.
Since not everyone can upgrade to a PS5, what should they do? Why, jailbreak their PS4 to extend its life and unlock more capabilities. What’s jailbreaking you say? Well, read on below!
Table of Contents:
What is Jailbreaking?
Jailbreaking refers to act of installing third-party software, or firmware, by taking advantage of the flaws present on a device’s operating system (or hardware). Through jailbreaking, the device is freed from the constraints of its operating system, and one can utilize its capabilities to their maximum potential.
Jailbreaking has been around for a long time and is not exclusive to the PS4. The most popular kind of jailbreak is the iOS jailbreak. Similarly, many other devices can be jailbroken, although the term can vary from device to device e.g. jailbreaking an Android device is commonly known as rooting, jailbreaking the Nintendo Switch is known as modding or hacking it, etc.
Jailbreaking is legal in most cases as many developers understand the need for extending the life of the device and don’t bother going after perpetrators. But many people often jailbreak their devices to run pirated content which is certainly against the law. In some cases, like for the Nintendo Switch, jailbreaking can be illegal due to how litigious Nintendo is even if you’re not doing any shady business.
At any rate, jailbreaking any device is a very risky process and you should only consider it if you’ve done your research, which is why we’re here today. As long as you use common sense and don’t overstep (cheating in online games, etc.) you should be fine.
Reasons for Jailbreaking the PS4
Jailbreaking the PS4 is by no means a simple and easy procedure. But there are indeed a lot of reasons because of which people are inclined towards jailbreaking it. Some of the best motives for jailbreaking your PS4 are:
- Play retro games via emulators
- Play old PS2 games
- Install mods in games
- Install/Dump PS4 games to your hard drive for a very low price/free
- Create custom themes
- Run Linux on your PS4
- Install Homebrew (third-party) apps and games
When jailbreaking the PS4, there are a lot of things to consider; whether your PS4 even satisfies the requirements of jailbreaking, the advantages and disadvantages, the kind of jailbreak to use, the future of PS4 jailbreaks, jailbreak capabilities, etc. We’re going to analyze and discuss each of these points.
1. Requirements for Jailbreaking
To jailbreak your PS4 you’re going to need to fulfill these requirements:
- Your PS4 should be on firmware version 9.00 or below
- A PC/laptop
- An USB drive with a size or greater than, or at least, 2 GB.
- Thorough research and a large amount of patience.
Any model of the PS4, whether Slim, Fat/Standard or Pro can be jailbroken and the overall procedure remains the same.
⤷ Why do I need a such an old firmware?
Each software update released for the PS4, while aiming to enhance the user experience and fix any bugs or glitches encountered, also aims to fill the gaps left in the software, which are used by developers to jailbreak it. Therefore, the lower the firmware version, the more likely it is to support jailbreaking as newer versions will keep getting patched by Sony.
Currently, the latest firmware to support jailbreaking is version 9.00, and the most ideal version is version 5.05/5.07. All firmware versions below version 9.00 have jailbreaks, however, it’s recommended to update to version 5.05/5.07 if you’re on version 4.55 or below. Contrary to what you might see on the Internet, there is still no jailbreak exploit for any firmware above version 9.00.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to downgrade if you’re on a later firmware version e.g. 9.60, 10.01 etc. The only way to do this is a very complicated procedure that also involves hardware modifications e.g. soldering etc. Therefore, it is not recommended.
If you still want to use a jailbroken PS4, we suggest that you browse around on eBay ↗, or other similar sites, and buy a PS4 running a lower firmware version, or a jailbroken PS4 altogether.
2. Types of Jailbreaks
Usually, several jailbreaks are offered for each firmware version. These are known as jailbreak hosts and are typically found on the internet at specific URLs. Overall, all the jailbreaks aim to achieve the same function; breaking past the PS4’s defenses. The real difference lies in the payloads offered by each individual jailbreak host. Some of the most popular hosts for firmware version 9.00 are:
It should be noted that all jailbreaks for all compatible firmware versions are temporary. That means it’ll have to be installed again if the console reboots. To get around this, most users put their PS4 in Rest Mode instead of shutting it down like normal.
Payloads refer to the data that is sent through the exploits found in the PS4 firmware by the hosts. They are the programs that jailbreak the PS4 and allow for more features on it, usually installing third-party apps. Each payload may offer different features and different capabilities and you’ll have to choose the one which suits you the most. The most popular payloads are Mira and GoldHEN.
Mira and GoldHEN are the closest things to a CFW (custom firmware) we have for the PS4. A CFW, is a third-party firmware that offers more advanced features than the original firmware, and has support for third-party software. Other payloads include:
- Orbis Toolbox
There are a lot of payloads available and apart from a few essential ones, any other payload you want to download is totally up to you. All payloads are injected by programs like BinLoader or MiraLoader. These are available on most jailbreak hosts.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Jailbreaking Your PS4
There are a number of reasons why most PS4 owners still won’t jailbreak their consoles, the most prominent being no online functionality whatsoever. This means that jailbroken users won’t be able to use any kid of online PSN services, nor play any multiplayer games. Even the internet browser is unusable, as the host page caches all the payloads available on it.
Attempting to use online services carries the risk of being banned, so it’s not really worth it. At any rate, here’s a list of all the advantages and disadvantages associated with jailbreaking the PS4:
|Able to emulate retro games through emulators||No online functionality|
|Able to install third-party apps and games||Warranty becomes void|
|Custom theme designs||Possibility of getting banned|
|Able to dump/install new games to hard drive for a very low price/free||Piracy concerns|
|Able to play PS2 games||Can only play new PS4 titles when they’re pirated, and if they support firmware version 9.00 or below|
|Able to mod games||The jailbreak needs to be applied each time the console reboots|
⤷ Piracy Concerns
When jailbreaking any device, the issue of piracy is bound to arise. With a jailbroken PS4, you can install any game on your console, provided that it has been pirated and is compatible with your firmware version.
In most cases, people are prone to just download these games for free, which is where piracy comes in. Downloading any form of copyrighted media is completely illegal. However, if you know your way around the internet, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you.
The Future of PS4 Jailbreaking
As of November 2023, the firmware version 9.00 is the latest version to support jailbreak. Although most of the developers are focused on developing jailbreaks for the PS5, slow and steady progress is still happening. An exploit for running PS2 games for firmware versions 10.00 till 10.71 has become available and is a stepping stone for future jailbreak projects.
For the most part, developers are involved in developing games, consoles, themes and other features for the firmware version 9.00, and another . But, there’s still no concrete news about what are the future ambitions of the developers. In the meantime, keep the firmware version of your PS4 as low as possible.
The PS4’s Prison Break
The PS4, inevitably, is reaching the end of its life. And while jailbreaking has several advantages and disadvantages, it remains the only method for extending the life of the PS4. With a bright future ahead, jailbreaking the PS4 has become a viable option. Therefore, do some thorough research and make your decision based on your findings.
For researching purposes, we recommend consulting websites like Wololo, Reddit, PSXHAX, etc. MODDED WARFARE and Blaine locklair are also great sources, but ultimately stick to the forums. You can also find the complete method in there.
A PS4 can be jailbroken, but note that the jailbreak is temporary and will reset after a full reboot, though Rest Mode maintains it.
You’ll need a computer, a USB drive (min. 2 GB), and a PS4 with firmware not exceeding version 9.00.
Downgrading a PS4 is complex and typically involves risky hardware exploits.
Post-jailbreak, you can play PS4 titles, PS2 games, Homebrew, and retro games via emulators.