Why jailbreak your PlayStation 3?
PlayStation jailbreaks have been around for quite some time. Modifying your console has been possible ever since the PlayStation 1 through various modchips that you had to physically solder to the motherboard of your console. Those modchips have historically helped users to play unofficial CDs with backups of their games.
The trend has continued on PlayStation 2 as well, with various hacks and modchips being made available. The goal was always the same: getting games to work from home-burned CDs and DVDs instead of official ones. Whether this is a moral thing to do is not the topic of this article. We’re not condoning piracy of any kind but are rather fascinated by the exploits and tech that allows these hacks to work in the first place. They are marvels of engineering usually done by enthusiast hackers with barely any formal education in the field.
There are huge communities around jailbreaking for all consoles, and PlayStation 3 is not any different.
What jailbreaks are available for PlayStation 3?
By now, PlayStation 3 has many options available for it, ranging from CFW (Custom Firmware) like Cobra, and going to tools as simple as WebKit exploits that can be triggered effortlessly from the web browser of the console.
The firmware version doesn’t matter anymore because all available OFW (Official Firmware) is jailbreakable in one way or another. Sony has stopped pushing updates for the PlayStation 3, so there is no need to create new jailbreak tools.
Nowadays most PS3 consoles can be jailbroken on the latest firmware version using PS3HEN directly from the browser of the console. Once jailbroken, you can install ISO or PKG games to it from the internet, install multiMAN or IRIS to better manage the files on your console, and even dump the original BluRays for safekeeping and backup purposes (please).
If for some reason your console is the very first fat model of PlayStation 3 and still runs an old firmware, you may be able to install a CFW like Cobra which is a semi-permanent jailbreak that even comes with various tools for development purposes.
Will my PSN account get banned if I jailbreak my console?
To put it simply – yes. While it may not always be the case, Sony does frown upon jailbreakers and jailbroken consoles for obvious reasons. People have been known to get their PlayStation Network (PSN) account banned because they were logged in on a modded console.
To avoid this from happening, I advise you to create a throwaway PSN account, because for the jailbreak to work you do need a PSN account to be able to activate the console and get the proper license files. I will explain further down.
To keep it short, yes, you run a serious risk of getting your main PSN account banned if you jailbreak your console and play with it connected to the internet, so avoid using your real PSN account on a modded console, especially if you have digital games you bought on the account or you care about your trophy stats. Once banned, you won’t have access to your digital purchases either.
Can I play any PlayStation 3 game from any region with a jailbreak?
Yes. Once your device is jailbroken, you will be able to play games regardless of the region they were made for. So you can download, let’s say, Uncharted 3 USA version from the internet, and it would work fine on your European PlayStation 3, even the DLC.
Again, we do not condone piracy, but yes, any game would technically work regardless of which region it was compiled for. Also, the file extension in which it comes also won’t matter much. You can choose between ISO or PKG files, both with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Can I remove the jailbreak and go back to stock PlayStation 3 later?
It is possible to remove the jailbreak, but in order to do that, you would need to reinstall an official firmware (OFW) from Sony’s website. This has two major implications:
- It will remove everything from the console. That means games, saves, apps, accounts, settings.
- It will update the firmware to whatever happens to be the latest on Sony’s website. This may not be that bad because nowadays all versions can be jailbroken, but you should double-check first.
How to jailbreak PlayStation 3? Full guide.
If your console has an official firmware on it, for example, the latest version (OFW 4.88) or even a bit older, please follow the steps below in order to jailbreak your console with PS3 HEN, one of the most powerful jailbreaks available for PlayStation.
PS3 HEN Part 0: Compatibility
PS3 HEN is compatible with most if not all consoles running OFW 4.88 or lower. But just in case, here are the compatible devices. Change the table view to show 100 items to be able to see all, or search your model without the end numbers.
|Console Model:||Console Type:||Console Form:||Jailbreak Compatibility:|
|CECHAxx||0x01||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHBxx||0x02||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHCxx||0x03||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHDxx||-||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHExx||0x04||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHGxx||0x05||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHHxx||0x06||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHIxx||-||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHJxx||0x07||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHKxx||0x07||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHLxx||0x08||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHMxx||0x08||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHNxx||-||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHOxx||-||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHPxx||0x08||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECHQxx||0x08||FAT||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECH-20xxA||0x09||SLIM||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECH-20xxB||0x09||SLIM||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECH-21xxB||0x0A||SLIM||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECH-25xxA||0x0B||SLIM||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECH-25xxB||0x0B||SLIM||Compatible with HEN + CFWs|
|CECH-30xxA||0x0C||SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-30xxB||0x0C||SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-40xxA||0x0D||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-40xxB||0x0D||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-40xxC||0x0D||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-42xxA||?||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-42xxB||?||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-42xxC||?||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-43xxA||?||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-43xxB||?||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
|CECH-43xxC||0x13||Super SLIM||HAN compatible. NO CFWs.|
PS3 HEN Part 1: Prerequisites
- Go to your PC, plug in an empty flash drive, and initialize it to MBR (Master Boot Record) with MiniTool Partition Wizard or a similar tool.
- Format the flash drive to FAT32. Do NOT format to NTFS. PS3 doesn’t recognize NTFS drives.
- Create a new folder inside your flash drive called PS3. Inside that folder, make another one called UPDATE.
- Download OFW 4.88 from Sony’s website and dump it into the UPDATE folder inside your flash drive.
- Insert the USB flash drive into your PS3’s USB port (in the front).
- Navigate to Settings -> Software Update in the Ps3 Menu / Home Screen.
- Select ‘Update from USB Storage’ and let the console update itself.
PS3 HEN Part 2: Installing and Enabling HEN
- Connect your console to the internet. Make sure you have an active internet connection, whether WiFi or Ethernet.
- Navigate to Network/Internet Browser and open the browser.
- In the address bar, go to www.ps3xploit.com/hen/installer and press X.
- Once the page has fully loaded, bookmark it and set the browser settings to load a white page / ‘about: blank’ when it starts. This will minimize the failure rate of the exploit.
- Once bookmarked, close the browser and restart it.
- Back in the browser, on a white page, navigate to bookmarks and go back to www.ps3xploit.com/hen/installer from there.
- On the page, select Initialize HEN Installer.
- Once completed, you will get a notification that says “Welcome To HEN (version)”.
Now you will likely see a progress indicator. Now, the exploit used in HEN has very poor stability if you use the browser to access other pages before you run the exploit, and this is why we bookmark the exploit page and set the browser startup page to be a white empty one.
It’s a bit finicky to get it right, but once you do, you’re all set.
IMPORTANT: After successful installation, a new “ENABLE HEN” icon will be placed on your games list. You will press that every time you restart the console to re-enable HEN, otherwise your games won’t boot.
PS3 HEN Part 3: Getting ACT.DAT and IDPS
To be able to play PKG games, you will need to sign them with your console’s keys on a computer. To get the keys (ACT / IDPS) you will need to be signed into a PSN account. Follow the steps below to activate your console and get your keys.
- Navigate to the Sony PSN Account Creation Website and make a new PSN account. DO NOT use your real PSN.
- Once you have a PSN account made, log in with it on the modded PS3 until you are able to access the PSN Store on the console.
- On the Home Screen, go to Account Management.
- Select Activate / Deactivate System.
- Select Games.
- Your PS3 is now activated and the necessary ACT and IDPS files have been generated, we just need to extract them.
To extract the ACT and IDPS files we will need a flash drive. You can use the one you used to install OFW at the beginning of the guide. You can safely format it as the files on it are no longer needed. Just make sure it remains FAT32.
To grab ACT and IDPS:
- Reboot the console and do NOT activate HEN.
- Connect the USB flash drive to the rightmost USB port.
- Navigate to the Browser and it the address bar, go to http://ps3xploit.com/hfw/han/actidps_dumper.html
- You may wanna set it as a bookmark too and restart the browser before going to the link it again from the bookmark. This helps with the exploit success rate.
- Press “Initialize ACT/IDPS Dumper” and wait for the green success message.
- Once successful, press the “Dump ACT.DAT & IDPS” button.
- If everything went smoothly, you should have two files on your USB flash drive. The ACT.DAT and IDPS hex file.
PS3 HEN Part 4: Installing ISO games with WebMAN Mod
- Download and install WebMAN Mod from this page.
- Copy the WebMAN MOD PKG file to the Packages folder on your USB Flash drive.
- Connect your flash drive to the rightmost USB port of the console.
- On the Home Screen, go to Games -> Package Manager -> Install Package Files -> Package Directory
- Select the WebMAN Mod PKG file and install it.
- After installation, you will have a new icon with WebMAN Mod Installer.
- Hold the L1 button and select the WebMan Mod installer. Keep holding L1 until your PS3 restarts.
- WebMAN mod will now enable automatically when you enable HEN.
- Follow this YouTube video on how to play Ps3 Games using WebMAN Mod.
PS3 HEN Part 4b: Signing PKG games with ACT & IDPS (OPTIONAL if you use PKGs)
In order to play PKG games, you get from NoPayStation or from PSNDL, you need to sign each one with your ACT and IDPS files so that they will boot on your console. Follow the steps below in order to sign your PS3 games.
- Download PS3xploit-resigner from GitHub
- Unpack everything on your Desktop and you should have an Input folder.
- Inside the Input folder, there will be act_dat and idps_hex folder. Pur your ACT and IDPS files in the appropriate folders.
- In the PKGs folder put the PKG game you got from NoPayStation or PSNDL.
- In the RAPS folder put the RAP file downloaded from the same place. Make sure it’s the correct RAP file otherwise the game will not boot.
- Open resign_windows.bat file and wait for it to complete. The process may take a while.
- In the end, you should have two files in the Output folder. You need both the RAP and the signed PKGs.
- Use FTP or PKGLinker to transfer the signed PKG to the console and install it.
Here is a video tutorial on how to use PKGLinker to install the games on PS3:
Ps3 CFW2OFW compatibility list
CFW2OFW is a term that means converting real BluRay retail PS3 games into digital backups. Not all games work for that purpose. You can find a great table containing most Ps3 games in existence which shows whether a game is compatible with CFW2OFW or not. You can find that CFW2OFW compatibility table here.
Cover Photo by Nikita Kostrykin on Unsplash
PlayStation® and PlayStation 3® are trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment. Any other brands mentioned are trademarks of their respective owners. This guide is provided for educational and research purposes and it does not encourage piracy. Please use the information in this guide responsibly. We’re not liable for any data loss, broken consoles, injury, or banned accounts.