When a new console rolls out, it’s inevitable that your last-gen console will collect dust. When was the last time you turned your Nintendo Wii on? Not while the superior Nintendo Switch is alive and well.

The Nintendo Wii has seen its best days and twilight is now setting on this old console. Rather than box it up and store it away, why not give it a complete makeover, a new lease on life? After all, what exactly are you doing with it? Instead, you should consider jailbreaking your Nintendo Wii.

What is Jailbreaking?

Every console, including the Nintendo Wii, is built with two layers: software and hardware. The hardware, for the most part, can’t be altered without professional knowledge. Software, on the other hand, can be added and removed.

You see this word thrown around with handhelds such as smartphones and tablets – Android users call it “rooting” and iOS users call it “jailbreaking” (rooting is slightly different, but ultimately the same). And yes, your Nintendo Wii has software which can be altered.

The end goal is to provide additional features and functions that weren’t native to the device, often taking advantage of the hardware and homebrewed software. For example, you can jailbreak your Nintendo Wii to be an emulator and run NES, SNES, Sega, Gameboy, N64 and other ROMS.

A Warning…

Before you dive into this wonderful world, proceed at your own risk. This software is NOT developed by Nintendo. Developers behind this software may not be as skilled or, in some cases, invite viruses. Any mistake could cost you a “bricked” Nintendo Wii.

To keep your Nintendo Wii and, more importantly, your network free from unwanted visitors, stick to WiiBrew. It’s a great community for homebrew software. Their goal is to provide the Nintendo Wii with a shiny new coat of paint.

You have been warned.

What You Will Need…

Of course, like any project involving rooting or jailbreaking, there’s a number of items you need beforehand to start your adventure.

  • A Nintendo Wii (obviously) running 4.3. Now, older versions can work and, in fact, WiiBrew has older versions available, but it’s just better to run the latest version.
  • HackMii Install v1.2 (as of the writing of this article)
  • LetterBomb (a successor to Bannerbomb)
  • An SD card that’s been formatted with FAT32 (1GB and up)
  • A Wi-Fi connection
  • A computer with a network connection and the ability to read SD cards

Okay, so that sounds like a lot of work, but when you have everything in one area it isn’t so bad. In fact, this is pretty standard and within reach. HackMii and Letterbomb should be downloaded and placed into a folder, preferably somewhere you can reach easily like your desktop.

How to Jailbreak Your Nintendo Wii

Now that you have everything ready, let’s get started. What you’ll get out of this process is a jailbroken Nintendo Wii that has the Homebrew Channel installed on it. With the Homebrew Channel installed, you will then gain access to a plethora of other apps that can be installed. It’s basically an app store, only for homebrew software.

This process won’t install any games or of that liking. Instead, you get the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, and are free to install additional software via the Homebrew Browser (plus some additional features).

Let’s get started:

1. Download Letterbomb and HackMii onto your computer and place them into a folder.

2. Insert your Wii’s SD card into your computer.

3. Unzip Letterbomb file. Inside there’s a folder called “private.” Drag it over to your SD card. When asked

Note: Any text files you see can be left behind.

4. Now open the HackMii file. Inside there’s a file called “boot.elf.” Go ahead and copy that and place it in the root level of your SD card.

Note: Any text files you see can be left behind.

By now you should have two items in your SD card: a folder labeled “private,” and HackMii’s “boot.elf” file. If so, continue on with the steps below.

5. You can now remove your SD card from the computer and place it back into your Nintendo Wii. Power the console on.

6. On the console’s main menu, open your messages. Scroll through until you see the Letterbomb logo. Select it. Do not be alarmed if you see what resembles a computer screen. Your Nintendo Wii is unpacking it and will reboot.

7. When you see “Press 1 to Continue,” do so. This will launch the HackMii installer.

8. First, select Continue to start the installation.

9. Next, move up in the menu and highlight “Install The Homebrew Channel.” Once highlighted, go ahead and select it.

10. When asked to confirm, choose “Yes, continue.” Give it a few moments to install. When it’s finished, select Continue, again.

11. Your next move is to choose “BootMii” and begin installing it by selecting “Install BootMii as boot2.” What this does is alter how your console boots. Rather than use Nintendo’s code, it uses BootMii. This can help avoid any bricking.

12. When asked to confirm, choose “Yes, continue.”

13. When BootMii has been successfully installed, select Continue > Return to the main menu > Exit.

14. Finally, end the process by selecting “Exit to System Menu.”

Now that everything is up and running, you’ll see that you have a whole new option available on your Wii’s main menu: the Homebrew Channel. With it you can gain access to all kinds of applications like emulators or the Homebrew Browser.

The Homebrew Browser is a wonderful tool that will give you direct downloads of apps, rather than dragging and dropping files to your SD card every single time you want more software.

A jailbroken Nintendo Wii also gives you access to all kinds of goodies like Gecko OS – which unlocks regions allowing you to play Wii games from other countries – or MPlayer, a media player.

Bottom Line

Now that your Nintendo Wii has been successfully jailbroken, you can enjoy the wonderful world of homebrew software. Just make sure you practice backing up your files before installing any new software. At any point you could run into an issue however unlikely.