How to homebrew your PS Vita in 2021

With Vita-PSN-death just a few months away, I've rejoined the herds jail-breaking their Vita for game security and fun. That meant digging into the how-tos to figure out the latest methods. 

As a technical know-nothing, I'm not the person to tell anyone how to do this. But I've been through a bunch of videos and forums, and found these are the most current, patient, useful and not-overly-techy videos that explain it all to idiots like me, with links. 

Update: if you don't like following video guides, these Vita Hack Guides take a written step-based approach. And to make homebrew and jailbreaks even easier, VitaDeploy is a new tool to simplify the process, automating many of the steps you'll find in the guides. 

Watch this half-hour video to downgrade from your Vita from firmware version 3.73 to version 3.6 and install Hankaku/Enso to enjoy the world of unsigned apps.

With that done, you will probably want to expand your storage with an SD2Vita card converter and a hefty MicroSD card (Amazon links) to store your games. 

Then watch this 12-minute video to see how to install SD2Vita to expand your storage and use non-Sony memory cards to keep your legal collection (and emulators or homebrew games) safe. 

TOP TIP from the comments, make sure you can see hidden protected files in the Windows file transfer step (from memory card to memory card), otherwise the process doesn't work properly. 

Some things to note:

  • Quite often these apps take a few goes to run properly. 
  • Black screens often mean something is downloading or unpacking, don't panic.
  • Error C2-12828-1 is our common enemy, here's some advice for that, but generally, restarting or reloading apps until they work is the way forward.
  • If an app really won't play ball, reinstalling it often helps.
  • Copying through USB is often faster than FTP unless you're on top of your router.
  • Don't be rude to the developers on forums who do all this magic in their spare time. 
Hopefully these guides will see you through and you can start learning all about the fun of .vpks, the homebrew browser, RetroArch and having a fully-functional PSP back in your life. 

Finally, thanks to The Flow, Rinnegatamante, Crait, Xeeynamo and all others bringing the fun and games to that Vita's afterlife party. 

Why would I (or you) jailbreak a Vita? Philosophical and moral questions aside. Primarily, I wanted to play Raiden, the PSone port of the arcade shmup that you can't get on PSN. And if the mighty power of Sony cannot enable that, then I am happy to take a few sidesteps to achieve it. 

Having dug around, I was also delighted to find Final Fantasy Type-0 with English subs, for the Japanese PSP game never released over here. Those and the many indie homebrews getting relased make it well worth it.