Fix IR Receiver Issues On 1st-Gen Apple TVs

If your Apple TV boots to a menu (either the regular Apple TV menu with Movies, Music, etc. options, or the Choose a Language menu) but your remote no longer works the likely culprit is a missed IR Receiver firmware update.  Back around version 2.1 or 2.2 of the Apple TV operating system Apple released an update that essentially changes how the IR receiver communicates with the OS.  If your Apple TV missed that update and then later gets updated to the newer 3.0.X firmware your Apple TV will no longer respond to input from your remote, though the light on the front of the AppleTV will blink.  The solution is to load the update manually, but unfortunately that requires ssh access on the AppleTV.  If you’ve already patched your AppleTV you should be able to ssh in, but if not you’re going to have to patch the AppleTV to enable ssh.

To patch the Apple TV you can download ATV USB Creator and use your own bootable pendrive, or you can buy a pre-tested patchstick from us.  Run the patchstick then restart the AppleTV.

If your Apple TV’s hard drive is corrupted you’ll need to get your hands on another AppleTV, connect your hard drive up to it, install the OS and patch it, then hook it back up to your Apple TV.  If you don’t have access to an extra AppleTV you can contact us via the eBay link above and you can send the drive to us to have the OS loaded, or send the whole Apple TV to have us install the fix for you.

Once you have the AppleTV patched & booted it’s time to connect to it.  First you’ll obviously have to connect it to a network.  If it wasn’t already configured for wireless your best bet will be to connect it via an ethernet cable to LAN.

If you run Linux or OS X on your computer then you have it fairly easy – simply open a command terminal and ssh into it by typing at the prompt:

 ssh frontrow@appletv.local 

The password is also “frontrow” (minus the quotations).

If you run Windows you’ll have to download an ssh client first. I’d suggest the free PuTTY.  Once installed, you likely will have to get the actual IP address of the AppleTV in order to connect to it as Windows doesn’t natively support the open protocol used by Apple for broadcasting the .local address.  So to find the actual address you’ll probably have to log in to your DHCP server (typically your router) and find the assigned IP address to your AppleTV.  Once you have the IP you can log in with the credentials mentioned above.

Now that you’re logged in, you simply have to issue 4 commands.  The first 2 download the necessary files (NOTE: The specific file versions available have changed over time. As of the time of writing this the files listed below are available from Apple.  But if you get an error when trying to download one of the files the version has likely changed and you’ll need the new file name in order to access it).  The next command ensures that the script file is executable.  And the final command installs the update.

chmod a+x IRReceiverUpdaterTool2
./IRReceiverUpdaterTool2 irrxfw-0x0312.irrxfw

Alternatively you can download the file below, which contains everything necessary including an install script, copy them all over to a single directory on your AppleTV (eg. /Users/frontrow), ssh into the AppleTV and run these 2 commands:

chmod 777

That’s it!  Once it finishes installing it should reboot and your remote should now be fully functional!

irreceiver update files