Guide: PlayStation Vita

Last updated: 01MAY2021 (see Changelog for details)

This tutorial will show you how to safely and permanently jailbreak/mod your device so that you can run RetroArch or other emulators, plus load backups of your PS Vita, PSP, and PS1 games.

This guide is intended for the PS Vita 1000 and PS Vita 2000 models. The PS TV setup is mostly the same, but there are some slight differences in the process; because I’ve never used a PS TV, I would recommend looking elsewhere for the jailbreak instructions. This tutorial is written for Windows users, but Mac users can also follow this guide. When the process deviates for Mac users, I have provided relevant instructions and adjustments.

Note that each of these tutorials are written in a specific order. For example, you will need VitaShell installed to run certain tools, and so those instructions are found above the other tutorials. Long story short: if you just jump into a specific section and it references things you don’t understand (like VitaShell, AutoPlugin, etc.), then scroll up a bit to find those particular instructions.

Table of Contents:
Why mod a PS Vita?
Required tools
Upgraded to 3.73 (or stay at 3.65)
Set your File Explorer options
Prepare for jailbreak
Downgrade to firmware version 3.65
Jailbreak your PS Vita
Set up AutoPlugin II
SD2Vita Guide (YAMT method)
How to migrate from Storage Manager plugin to YAMT
SD2Vita Guide (Storage Manager method)
Set up Adrenaline (PSP and PS1 emulator)
Install RetroArch
Install standalone emulators and ports
Improve the PS Vita 2000 screen

Changelog

Why mod a PS Vita?

There are many reasons to run a permanent mod/jailbreak on the PlayStation Vita. Here are some of my favorites:

  • ADRENALINE. This app runs a PSP environment directly on your PS Vita. This allows you to load and play PSP and PS1 games with perfect native performance. Because the PS Vita has exactly 2x the amount of pixels as the PSP, it scales perfectly.
  • PS VITA GAMES. It goes without saying, but you can play Vita games on a PS Vita. But with a modded device, you can run backups of your games, which means you don’t have to constantly swap cartridges.
  • SD2VITA. An SD2Vita adapter allows you to use a microSD card as storage for your permanently modded PS Vita. $30 for a 256GB storage solution? Count me in.
  • RETROARCH (AND OTHER EMULATORS). The PS Vita has a good amount of emulators available, and while it’s not the most powerful emulation machine for the money, you can still expect to play most classic retro games, plus a fair amount of Nintendo 64 games as well. Moreover, you can run emulators within Adrenaline, which features many optimized emulators, too.
  • PLUGINS. There are hundreds of plugins available for the PS Vita, which will allow you to make any number of small (or large) tweaks to your device, such as adding a battery % indicator, remapping buttons, and so on.
  • NATIVE PORTS. There are a good amount of native ports you can run on this device, including all three Grand Theft Auto III games, Max Payne, and more.

Required tools

If you are using a PS Vita 1000, you will need an official PS Vita memory card to run the jailbreak process. The PS Vita 2000 has onboard storage so you don’t need a card if you own that device. You don’t actually need a large card, I would get the smallest/cheapest official card you can find. eBay is probably your best resource for these, and I would expect to pay about $15 for an 8GB card.

There are several small apps and files we will use in this jailbreaking process. Create a folder on your computer named “Vita”, or something memorable, like “Peanut Butter”. This is where we will store all of these tools.

QCMA – this application will make your PC recognize the PS Vita when you plug it in via USB. Go to this GitHub releases page and download the Qcma_setup-0.4.1.exe file. If you are a Mac user, use the .dmg file provided in this link instead.

Enso – this is a custom firmware installer for the PS Vita. Head over to this page and download the latest VPK (v1.1 is the most recent as of this writing), and place it in your Peanut Butter folder.

Final h-encore – this tool pushes the h-encore exploit onto your PS Vita. Go to this releases page and grab the most updated version (v1.92 as of this writing), and place it in your Peanut Butter folder. If you’re using a Mac, use this app instead.

0syscall6 – this tool will trick the Vita into thinking it’s running firmware 3.73 when it’s actually running 3.65, which is helpful when playing some Vita games. Download the regular and the “hfw” versions of the tool from this GitHub page. Put them in the Peanut Butter folder.

These files are necessary if you need to downgrade your firmware to 3.65:

Modoru 戻る– we’re going to use Modoru to downgrade our 3.73 system to 3.65 in order to jailbreak the device. You can grab the latest version (v2.1) from this page. You guessed it, throw it in the Peanut Butter folder.

Complete official 3.65 firmware – we will also need the official 3.65 PS Vita firmware, which you can find here. If the file link goes down, head over to this archive page and find the Firmware 3.65 link under “Complete Old Firmwares”. The MD5 hash of this file is 880db39cab42056227a2f22e867bc97f

Upgrade to 3.73 (or stay at 3.65)

On the device, go into Settings > System > System Information and see what System Software you are running. If your PS Vita has the 3.65 software version don’t do anything. If you have something between 3.65 and 3.73, use the Settings > System Update function to upgrade to 3.73. You’ll need to have your WiFi connected in order to update.

Set your File Explorer options

In order to see and manipulate the correct files and folders for this project, you need to make sure that you can see them in the first place. On your Windows PC, go to View > Options, then the “View” tab. Make sure the following settings are configured:

Show hidden files, folders, or drives > ON
Hide empty drives > OFF
Hide extensions for known file types > OFF
Hide protected operating system files > OFF

You can always turn these back in the settings after we’re done with the project.

If you are a Mac user, simple press CMD + SHIFT + “.” (period) to unhide/hide hidden folders and files.

Prepare for jailbreak

Your device will need to be connected to WiFi. Additionally, log into the PS Store with your PSN account at least once so before doing the jailbreak, otherwise you won’t be able to download game updates and DLC, etc.

Go into your Peanut Butter folder and run the QCMA installer. This allows your computer to communicate with the PS Vita. After you have installed the app, run the app and keep it running throughout this tutorial.

Also in your Peanut Butter folder, extract the h-encore zip file into its own folder. Inside your h-encore folder, find the FinalHLE.exe file, and run this app. If you don’t already run your PC as an Administrator, go ahead and right-click on it and select “Run as Administrator”. Leave this tool open.

Downgrade to firmware version 3.65

If your device is already running firmware version 3.65, you can skip the next section.

Plug your device into your PC via USB and tap the Content Manager app and select the “Copy Content” option. This should connect you to your PC.

On your Final h-encore window, you should see that the app has detected your 3.73 PS Via. Click on the “Trim h-encore to ~7MB” option and then press the “Let’s GO!” button. Do not close this window after it’s finished the process.

Back on the PS Vita, select Copy Content > “PC to PS Vita System” > Applications > PS Vita > h-encore > Copy, then confirm the copy process. Once it is done, exit out of the Content Manager app and back to the home screen. You should now see the h-encore app appear. Click on the h-encore app to start it up, and it will bring you to a text menu. Scroll down to “Install HENkaku” and press the CIRCLE button to confirm, and then do the same for the “Download VitaShell” option below it (you will need to be connected to WiFi). Once you’re done with those two processes, go ahead and select “Exit” to return to the home screen. You should now see the VitaShell app on your home screen.

Go to your PS Vita settings application, and verify that you can see the HENkaku Settings between the “Flight Mode” and “Network” option menus. Go into the HENkaku settings and verify that the “Enable Unsafe Homebrew” setting is checked. Okay, now we’re ready for the actual modding process.

Open up the VitaShell app on your Vita, which is a robust file management app. Once the app is open, press the SELECT button on your Vita to turn on the USB connection. A window should pop up on your PC, and the Vita will be recognized as a “USB Drive”.

First thing, copy over the Modoru VPK that we downloaded earlier, directly into the root “USB Drive” folder. On your Vita, disconnect the USB connection, scroll down to the modoru.vpk file (navigate to the ux0 folder if you aren’t already there), and press the CIRCLE button to install the package. Exit out of VitaShell and you should see the Modoru app on your home screen. Open up the app, which will automatically make a folder on your PS Vita for you. Go ahead and close the Modoru app and go back into the VitaShell app; press SELECT to turn on the USB connection again.

On your PC, in the “USB Drive” Vita folder, you should see a hidden folder named “app” — if you don’t see it, make sure that you have Hidden Files turned on in your Windows File Explorer. Inside the “app” folder will be a new folder named “MODORU000”. Inside that folder, we’re going to add the official 3.65 firmware. Find the “PSVita OFW 3.65 complete.zip” file within your Peanut Butter folder, and then open it with WinRAR or 7Zip. Inside you should see a file named “PSVita OFW 3.65.zip”, and it should be about 133MB. Extract that file onto your PC, and then within *that* folder will be a file named “PSP2UPDAT.PUP” — copy this file into the “MODORU000” folder.

Go ahead and close your VitaShell connection and close the app. Go back into the Modoru app on your Vita. If you get an error that says “Disable all your plugins first before using this software…”, just reboot your Vita, open up the h-encore app one time and then exit out of it. If h-encore crashes on you when you try and open it, that’s fine and normal — just keep trying until it works. Once it works, open up the Modoru app.

Within Modoru, it should say “Do you want to downgrade from firmware 3.73 to firmware 3.65?” — press the X button to confirm. It’ll show you some scary text absolving the team of liability, and then it will ask you to press X again to start the installation. Let the application do its thing, don’t touch or reboot the Vita at all. If you have a memory card inside it will ask you if you want to transfer anything over, just select “No”.

Once complete, go into the Vita settings app and verify that you are running firmware 3.65 by going into System > System Information. At this point, go back to your home screen and delete the h-encore, VitaShell, and Modoru apps from your system (press and hold the app and select “Delete”).

Now that you are running firmware 3.65, the system will prompt you to update periodically, which is something you do not want to do. To remove this prompt, go into Settings > Network > WiFi Settings and connect to your WiFi network if you haven’t already. Click on your network > Advanced Settings > DNS Settings > Manual. Then under Primary DNS, type in 212.47.229.76. Press “OK” and back out of the Network Settings. Finally, go into the HENkaku Settings and and make sure that “Enable Version Spoofing” is checked, and under “Spoofed Version” set it to 3.73.

Jailbreak your PS Vita

On your Vita, open the Content Manager > Copy Content option, then plug your Vita into the PC via USB if you haven’t already. If you aren’t able to connect to the PC, close the Final h-encore tool on your PC and re-open it (remember to “run as Administrator”). In the Final h-encore app it should now display “Connected to PS Vita @3.65”. Make sure that the “Trim h-encore to ~7MB” option is checked, then select “Let’s GO!” to re-install h-encore to your Vita. If you get a “failed to unpack” error, just repeat these steps again until you are successful. When finished, don’t close the Final h-encore window.

Once Final h-encore is installed on your device, click “PC to PS Vita System” > Applications > PS Vita, then select the h-encore checkbox and select “Copy” and click “Ok” at the prompt. Once complete, return to your home screen and launch h-encore. If the app crashes when you try to open it, try launching the app while holding down on the Vita’s R button. Within h-encore, select “Install HENkaku” and then also “Download VitaShell”. Once complete, exit h-encore and return to the home screen.

Note: If you receive an error that says “Failed! 0x80431075” when you try and install VitaShell within Final h-encore, follow the steps in this guide to manually install VitaShell. This happened to me on my PS Vita 2000, but not my PS Vita 1000.

Back on the home screen, you should now see VitaShell, go ahead and open it. Press the SELECT button to enter USB mode, and return to your PC, where the Vita will appear as a “USB Drive”. In this root USB Drive folder, copy over the enso.vpk file from your Peanut Butter folder. Inside the USB Drive folder you should see a hidden folder named “tai” — inside this folder, copy over the 0syscall6.skprx and 0syscall6_hfw.skprx files. At this point you can disconnect your USB connection and unplug the Vita from your PC.

Within VitaShell, go into the “ux0” folder, then find the enso.vpk file. Press the CIRCLE button to select and install the application, and confirm any prompts that pop up. Once complete, go ahead and close out of VitaShell and you should see the Enso app appear on your home screen. Open up Enso (“Molecule”), and you will see some tiny text advising you that this is a permanent mode. Press the CIRCLE button to confirm the terms, and then press X to run the installation. Once complete, press any key to reboot.

You will know that the process is complete once you see the Enso/Molecule logo instead of the PS Vita logo when booting the device. To verify, go into Settings on a fresh reboot and you should already see HENkaku settings as an option in the menu. Go into the System > System Information settings and you should see that the System Software version now shows 3.65.

Set up AutoPlugin II

AutoPlugin II is a powerful tool that lets you install and uninstall plugins on your Vita. There are many plugins available, but there are two in particular we want to set up so that we can install and run homebrew on our device.

To get started, download the latest version of AutoPlugin2.vpk from this link. Connect the Vita to your PC via VitaShell, then press SELECT on the Vita to enter USB mode. Copy the AutoPlugin2.vpk file into the root “USB Drive” folder of your Vita On your Vita, select and install the AutoPlugin2.vpk file. Disconnect from USB mode, then go back to the home screen. You should now see the AutoPlugin II app there.

Open up AutoPlugin II, then go to Plugins for Vita > Install Plugins, and install the following plugins:

NoNpDrm by The OfficialFlow v1.2
NoNpDrm Unofficial by LMAN v1.4

Once they have been installed, let’s re-install them in a different path to ensure that they’re fully loaded. Press the TRIANGLE button to change the custom install path from ur0:tai/ to ur0:tai/plugins/ instead. Reinstall these plugins again. This is a redundant step but will ensure that everything works smoothly.

Press START to exit AutoPlugin II, and the system will restart. You’re now good to go to use apps like PKGj to recover and download your previously-purchased PS Vita, PSP, and PS1 games and DLC. The legality of PKGj is a little bit iffy, and so for that reason I won’t be providing a tutorial on how to install and run that app, but the process is the same as it is for any other VPK.

SD2Vita Guide (YAMT method)

Before you go crazy and installing a bunch of games and apps onto your device, let’s set it up so that you can use a common microSD card to store everything. To start, you will need to purchase the Funturbo SD2Vita card adapter. It’s the best $6 you could ever spend. I’ve heard bad things about other SD2Vita adapters, so I would stick with the Funturbo brand — I have two and they have worked perfectly.

I think that a 128GB card should be the bare minimum size you buy, and I recommend getting something with 256GB. PS Vita, PSP, and PS1 games are all fairly large, so this will ensure you can load up lots of games. Here are the microSD cards I recommend:

128GB cards:
SanDisk Extreme
Samsung EVO Select
Samsung Pro Endurance (more reliable but pricey)
SanDisk Ultra

256GB cards:
Samsung EVO Select
SanDisk Ultra

The YAMT method is my preferred way to set up an SD card as your PS Vita’s storage solution. This method is simple, and also formats the card in TexFAT file system, which is what is used on the original Sony PS Vita Memory Cards. What this means is that you will have much faster boot times, and a super stable file system. This file system is also readable on Windows PCs, which means you can just pop the card into your PC if you want to transfer over large files. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to read your card on a Mac, but you can always use VitaShell to transfer files over via USB.

To get started, download the YAMT vpk from this GitHub page and transfer it to your device via VitaShell. Within VitaShell, select and install the app onto your device. Exit VitaShell and then open the YAMT app that should now be on your home screen. Select “Install the lite version”; after the installation, your device will reboot. Now in your Settings > Devices directory you should see a “Storage Devices” section. Inside, adjust the settings to as follows:

Use YAMT: YES
ux0: Memory Card (PS1000) or Internal Storage (PS2000)
uma0: SD2Vita

Insert your SD2Vita card (with a microSD card inside) into the device, then select Developer Options > “TexFAT format GC-SD’s storage”. The screen will pause for a moment, and then you’re good. Exit the Settings, reboot your device, then head over to VitaShell. There you should see that ux0 reflects the size of your internal memory (on a Vita 2000 model) or your memory card (Vita 1000 model), and uma0 should reflect the size of your microSD card.

Go into the ux0 folder and scroll down to hover over one of the folders (not the folder annotated as “..”), then press the TRIANGLE button. Select “Mark All”, then press TRIANGLE again and select “Copy”. You will get a notification that your folders have been copied. Go into the uma0 folder, press TRIANGLE, and then select “Paste”. This will copy all of your system files to the SD card.

Once the files have transferred, exit VitaShell and return to the Settings > Devices > Storage Devices and change the values to as follows:

Use YAMT: YES
ux0: SD2Vita
uma0: Memory Card (PS1000) or Internal Storage (PS2000)

This will now set the microSD card to be your system’s primary storage. Reboot your device, then verify in VitaShell that the ux0 reflects the size of your SD card. While still in VitaShell, press START to bring up the settings menu, and set the “USB device” option to “sd2vita”. Now, whenever you connect your PS Vita to your PC via VitaShell, it will bring up the SD card directory, and not your internal memory or memory card.

Now you’re ready to start installing apps and games. May I suggest starting with the Vita Homebrew Browser?

How to migrate from Storage Manager plugin to YAMT:

If you had previously set up your device for Storage Manager but want to take advantage of YAMT’s upgraded boot speed and stability, follow these steps:

Go into AutoPlugin II and select Vita Plugins > Configure plugin for SD2VITA. Change the settings to reflect as follows:

PS Vita 1000 settings:
MCD = ux0 (LiveArea Applications)
INT = none (unmounted)
GCD = none (unmounted)
UMA = none (unmounted)

PS Vita 2000 settings:
MCD = none (unmounted)
INT = ux0 (LiveArea Applications)
GCD = none (unmounted)
UMA = none (unmounted)

Press TRIANGLE to save current configuration. You will be prompted to restart your PS Vita. After the reboot, you may still see all of your apps, but you won’t be able to open them, and will get a “this file is corrupted error” if you try. That’s perfectly fine. Shut down your device, then remove the SD2Vita adapter.

If you plan on using the same card for the YAMT method, put the microSD card into your computer, and copy over all of its contents into a folder on your computer for safe keeping. If you plan on using a different card, you can skip this step.

Insert the old SD card (if you plan on using the same card) or new card into the adapter, then insert the adapter into your device. Turn on your device, then connect to your computer using VitaShell. Copy over the YAMT.vpk and the follow the steps above to set up the device.

Instead of moving files over from the internal storage or memory card like in the tutorial above, we’re going to copy files over from your old SD card. Once you have formatted the card using TexFAT, shut off your device and remove the SD card, then place it in your computer. Copy over the contents that you saved onto your computer in the previous steps, or copy over the contents of your old card if you are using a new SD card. This may take a long time depending on how much stuff you have on your card. Note that this method only works for PC, since TexFAT is not readable by Macs. If you are using a Mac, you’ll have to transfer everything from your Mac or old SD card to the new card via VitaShell, which will take quite some time.

Once you have moved over your contents to the TexFAT card, you can complete the rest of the tutorial above: set up the ux0 as the SD2Vita, and the Memory Card or Internal Storage as the uma0. Reboot and you should now be good to go. It will rebuild your libraries upon that first boot, which can take a minute or two. If it doesn’t trigger the library update, you can do that within VitaShell by pressing the TRIANGLE button and selecting the “Refresh LiveArea” option. Finally, go into AutoPlugin II > Vita Plugins > Uninstall plugins > ur0:tai/storagemgr.skprx to remove the Storage Manager plugin.

SD2Vita Guide (Storage Manager method)

The Storage Manager method is not my preferred method, but it is the most common way of setting up the SD2Vita card, and so for posterity’s sake, here are the instructions. To get started, download and unzip this zzBlank.img file. If your SD card is not blank, I recommend formatting it using the official sdcard.org formatter. Flash the zzBlank.img file onto a blank microSD card using an app like Balena Etcher, Win32 Disk Imager, or Rufus. If you are a Mac user, use Balena Etcher. This process is simple: open whatever flashing tool you want to use, navigate to the zzBlank.img file on your computer, and select the SD card you have inserted into your PC, and then start the flashing process.

Once it’s been flashed, eject and re-insert the SD card. Windows will prompt you to reformat your SD card, and yep, we’re going to do it. Set the File system to exFAT, and the Allocation Unit Size to default, and name it whatever you want in the Volume Label section. Keep the SD card in your PC, and let’s connect our Vita to the PC so we can transfer system files to the SD card.

Connect the Vita to your PC via VitaShell, then press SELECT on the Vita to enter USB mode. On your PC, the Vita’s root folder should appear as a “USB Drive”. Make sure that you have all hidden files and folders visible for this step (see: Set your File Explorer options for more info). Now, copy all of the folders and files from your Vita’s USB Drive onto the blank SD card. If you have any prompts to replace any files in the destination, select YES. At this point you can disconnect your PS Vita from the PC, and eject the SD card from your PC as well.

Put the SD card into your SD2Vita adapter, and then insert the adapter into your Vita. Open the AutoPlugin II app then go to Plugins for Vita > Install Plugin for SD2Vita. Follow the prompts to install the plugin. On the next screen it will show you a list of devices and their mount point — this will allow you to configure how each storage location behaves. You want to make sure the following options are set:

PS Vita 1000 settings:
MCD = uma0 (USB Port)
INT = none (unmounted)
GCD = ux0 (LiveArea Applications)
UMA = none (unmounted)

PS Vita 2000 settings:
MCD = none (unmounted)
INT = uma0 (USB Port)
GCD = ux0 (LiveArea Applications)
UMA = none (unmounted)

Once these configurations are locked, press the TRIANGLE button to save the changes, and it will restart the system. To verify everything is working properly, open up VitaShell and verify that the size of ux0 matches your SD card size.

While in VitaShell, press START to bring up the settings menu, and set the “USB device” option to “sd2vita”. Now, whenever you connect your PS Vita to your PC via VitaShell, it will bring up the SD card directory, and not your internal memory or memory card.

Set up Adrenaline (PSP and PS1 emulator)

Adrenaline is a PSP emulator that basically boots into the original PSP environment. It’s wonderful. This is also the best way to play PS1 games, and some emulators (like for NES, SNES, etc.) are also pretty good.

To get started, download the latest version of Adrenaline.vpk from this link. Connect the Vita to your PC via VitaShell, then press SELECT on the Vita to enter USB mode. Copy the Adrenaline.vpk file into the root “USB Drive” folder of your Vita Disconnect from USB mode, then go back to the home screen. You should now see the Adrenaline app there.

Open up Adrenaline, and it will prompt you to complete the download and installation of the 6.61 Adrenaline firmware. Press the X button to confirm, and once the download is complete it will exit Adrenaline. Re-open the app, and it will prompt you to install the firmware we just downloaded. That’s it, you should now be in the setup screen for a brand new PSP environment. Note that when opening Adrenaline, it will crash the first time. You can bypass this “double touch” by installing the “Adrenaline by TheOfficialFlow (Fix double touch)” plugin within AutoPlugin II.

The easiest way to add PSP and PS1 games to your device is through the PKGj app, but you can also manually add them. Note that the “pspemu” folder is hidden in Windows and Mac, so you must have hidden folders enabled in order to find it. This is where you add each file:

PSP: sdcard/pspemu/ISO/
PS1: sdcard/pspemu/PSP/GAME/(titleid)/EBOOT.PBP

For PSP, just place the .iso files in the folder listed above.

For PS1, the games must be in PBP format. You will need to organize the games by titleid within the folder above. Here is a comprehensive list of each titleid. Just search for your game to find the appropriate titleid, and then make a folder inside the GAME folder with that titleid as the name. Within the titleid folder, you will need the game, named EBOOT.PBP (upper case). So for example, in order to play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, you will use the following path:

sdcard/pspemu/PSP/GAME/SLUS01066/EBOOT.PBP

You can also use this handy PSP Emulators Installer app to install emulators directly into your PS Vita’s Adrenaline app. You would install this app just like any other vpk, and then run the installer script. This will install the following emulators to run on your PSP environment:

COELM PSP = Colecovision
CPS1 = Capcom
DaedalusX64 = Nintendo 64 (N64)
Emuodd = Magnavox Odyssey
Fuse = ZX Spectrum 48K
LYNX = Atari Lynx
Masterboy = Sega Master System
MVS = Neo Geo
Picodrive = Megadrive/Genesis
PSP7800 = Atari 7800
PSPATARI = Atari 800,800XL,130XE
PSPCAP32 = Amstrad CPC464
PSPHUGO = Pc-Engine/TurboGrafx-16
PSPINT = Intellivision
PSPTHOM = Thompson TO7
PSPVE = Vectrex
RACE = Neo Geo Pocket/Color
s9xTYLcm_mod = Super Nintendo (SNES)
SMSPSP = Sega Master System
Vice = Commodore C64

To enter the Adrenaline settings, hold down on the HOME button. To exit Adrenaline, double-click the HOME button to return to the PS Vita menu.

Install RetroArch

RetroArch isn’t the most powerful emulation solution for the PS Vita, but it’s the only one that provides a unified gaming experience. To get started, download the latest nightly version of RetroArch VPK from this link. Additionally, download the latest nightly RetroArch data file from this link.

Connect the Vita to your PC via VitaShell, then press SELECT on the Vita to enter USB mode. Copy the retroarch.vpk file into the root “USB Drive” folder of your Vita Next, unzip the RetroArch data file, and move the RetroArch data folder into the PS Vita’s data folder. On your Vita, select and install the retroarch.vpk file, following the prompts that come up. Disconnect from USB mode, then go back to the home screen. You should now see the RetroArch app there.

Run RetroArch once, and then close it out. Reconnect to your Vita using VitaShell, then on your PC navigate to data > RetroArch > system, and add your bios files there. I recommend adding the following:

SEGA CD:
bios_CD_E.bin
bios_CD_J.bin
bios_CD_U.bin

FAMICOM DISK SYSTEM:
disksys.rom

GAME BOY (for boot logo):
gb_bios.bin

GAME BOY COLOR (for boot logo):
gbc_bios.bin

GAME BOY ADVANCE:
gba_bios.bin

NEO GEO:
neogeo.zip

PLAYSTATION:
scph1001.bin

TURBOGRAFX-CD:
syscard1.pce
syscard2.pce
syscard3.pce

To actually run RetroArch, you will want to make a ROMs folder somewhere on your SD card. The easiest thing to do would be to just make a GAMES or ROMS directory in the root directory of your microSD card, and then put all of your ROMs in subfolders within that directory. Then you will want to download the cores for the systems you want to run, and create playlists for each of those systems by pointing the playlist creator to the folders where you stored the ROMs.

Install standalone emulators and ports

There are plenty of other emulators and apps you can install on the PS Vita, and this site has a good list of emulators and ports that run on the device. To install any of these emulators, you will follow the same process as with any other VPK:

  • Connect to your PC via USB using the VitaShell app
  • Move the VPK over onto the root folder of your PS Vita
  • Launch the file within VitaShell on your device to install it
  • The app is magically on your home screen
  • Celebrate with champagne and mac & cheese

You could also install the Vita HomeBrew Browser to install these apps directly onto your device. Here are some highlights:

Tools and emulators:
Moonlight HD (PC streaming)
mGBA (GBA/GB/GBC)
DaedalusX64-vitaGL (N64)

Note that for the DaedalusX64 app, you need to put the N64 game files in the data > DaedalusX64 > Roms folder of your microSD card. Boot the app once to create the folder structure, then move over your files.

Ports:
DevilutionX (Diablo)
Grand Theft Auto III
GTA3: Vice City
GTA3: San Andreas
Half-Life
Max Payne
Minit
Sonic 1 and 2 ports
Sonic CD port

Note that for most of these ports, you need to provide your own commercial data files. Instructions on how to set each of these up are within the links above.

Improve the PS Vita 2000 screen

The PS Vita 2000 “Slim” has a lot of improvements over the PS Vita 1000 — it is slimmer, lighter, more ergonomic, uses micro-USB to charge instead of a proprietary charger, and has longer batter life. But there is one big downside: it uses an LCD display, which is inferior to the OLED screen on the PS Vita 1000. There is one trick you can do to improve the saturation and contrast on the PS Vita 2000 so that it better mimics the OLED PS Vita display.

To start, we will need an app called RegistryEditor. Go to this GitHub releases page and download the latest RegistryEditor.vpk file. Connect the Vita to your PC via VitaShell, then press SELECT on the Vita to enter USB mode. Copy the RegistryEditor.vpk file into the root “USB Drive” folder of your Vita. Disconnect from USB mode, then scroll down to find the RegistryEditor.vpk file on your Vita; press CIRCLE to install the package and follow the prompts. Close VitaShell and you should now see the RegistryEditor app on your home screen.

Open up the RegistryEditor app, and then select CONFIG > DISPLAY and edit these two lines to change their values from “0” to “1”:

color_space_mode: 1
rgb_range_mode: 1

Once you have adjusted these values, press START on your Vita to save your settings and close the app. Next, reboot your Vita and you should now have more saturated colors and higher contrast.


Changelog

01MAY2021
– Added SD2Vita (YAMT method) instructions and video
– Added migration instructions from Storage Manager to YAMT for existing SD2Vita users

27APR2021
– Published guide
– Added HENkaku version spoofing instructions
– Added PSN login instructions

9 thoughts on “Guide: PlayStation Vita

  1. I went through the process myself about a month ago, and there are a few things worth mentioning in case people run into the same issues that I ran into:

    1. When installing Adrenaline, sometimes the installer throws a fuss with not being able to download the 6.61 PSP firmware. Occasionally, when you run into this issue, re-running the installer will sometimes throw you back to your home screen immediately. To resolve this issue, I would recommend uninstalling Adrenaline from your live area, reinstall the vpk for Adrenaline, then before running it for the first time, place the 6.61 PSP firmware file in the Adrenaline directory and make sure that it is renamed as “661.PBP” without the quotes. After that, run Adrenaline and it should install properly.

    2. When you are done with playing a game on RetroArch, I would highly recommend quitting RetroArch via the in-app menu options rather than by going to the live area and swiping the RetroArch page away, because you will lose your game save for that play session if you don’t quit RetroArch properly.

    3. To get to the RetroArch quick menu while in-game, the default key combination is Start + Select + L + R (I know it threw me off at first since I was used to Start + Select for the longest time).

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  2. Hi, my version of enso is 3.65 変革- O, on your YouTube video it shows 3.65 変革- 2, how can I update it to 3.65 変革-2 if I already have 3.65 変革- O?

    Like

  3. Thank you for this!!

    Just one little thing if you are using a mac with a french azerty keyboard you need to use this shortcut to show all hiden files: fn + ⌘ + ⇧ + .

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  4. After I downgraded to 3.65 the Henkaku settings disappeared. I couldn’t reinstall h-encore without updating because I couldn’t spoof the firmware version as 3.73. Not sure what to do

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  5. Every time I try to Install yamt (lite of full) I get the c2-12828-1 error when the installer is “adding tai config lines”. Any Idea what could be the reason?

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  6. Looks like YAMT installer does not see (or cannot access) ux0:tai/config.txt since it is a hidden file.
    The solution is to finish the installation manually:

    1. Go to ux0:tai/config.txt
    2. under *NPXS10015 section add:
    ur0:tai/yamt.suprx
    3. under *KERNEL
    ur0:tai/yamt_helper.skprx to tai config.txt

    Both ur0:tai/yamt.suprx and ur0:tai/yamt_helper.skprx should alredy be added by the installer even if it fails.

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  7. After copy internal memory content to s2vita then switch um0 and ux0, I cannot find Vita Shell, please help

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  8. Ah you miss an important step after migrating sdcard,

    need to power on while holding L button to unlock the sdcard

    Like

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