How to Install Custom Firmware on PS Vita (HENkaku Enso)

In this tutorial you will learn how to install custom firmware on PS Vita to be able to play homebrew games, emulators, and more to get the most out of your handheld console. We will be using the HENkaku and HENkaku Enso exploits.

UPDATE: As of August 26, 2019 h-encore² has been released for PS Vita and is compatible with 3.65 – 3.72.

Before you begin…

What is homebrew?

Homebrew is software or games which are not officially approved by Sony. Examples include games, tools for save editing and backup, and emulators for retro systems. You can find more examples of Vita homebrew here.

Which PS Vita consoles are compatible?

HENkaku only works on PS Vita’s with firmware version 3.60.

If your Vita firmware is above 3.60: use a different exploit to hack your Vita and then downgrade your Vita to 3.60 in order to install HENkaku Enso. Click here to get started.

If your Vita is on firmware 3.60: Continue with this guide

What is HENkaku and HENkaku Enso?

HENkaku is the first ever homebrew enabler for PS Vita and PSTV. Running homebrew on your Vita is 100% free using HENkaku. As long as you’re on version 3.60  (or can update to it) you’re good to go

HENkaku Ensō is the evolution of the HENkaku exploit. You could say it is an addon to HENkaku. Install it once after installing HENkaku and your Vita will be permanently hacked. No need to apply HENkaku again after each reboot.

What can I do with HENkaku?

HENkaku allows much more freedom than ever before possible with the PS Vita. It allows you to break free from the restrictions Sony set down such as:

  • Playing retro games with emulators
  • Backing up your physical games and installing them to your memory card to play any time
  • Using a microSD card instead of Sony’s expensive propriety memory cards
  • Installing homebrew games and having them appear on your home menu
  • Playing PSP and PSX games via the Adrenaline homebrew app

Now, let’s begin!

How to Install Custom Firmware on PS Vita

Disclaimer: Using this kind of software comes with a risk. There’s always a small chance that your Vita may become bricked while following this guide. We will not take responsibility for any damages caused by the software, however keep in mind that these bricks are extremely rare nowadays.

Tip: Make sure your device is charged or plugged in before starting to avoid data loss or damage from an unexpected shutdown.

Part 1. Install the HENkaku exploit

This part will guide you through installing HENkaku. The exploit will require you to relaunch the exploit on every reboot via the HENkaku website, but don’t worry, we’ll install Enso afterwards, which doesn’t require this.

 1. Install HENkaku via the PS Vita Web Browser

  1. Open the Web Browser on your PS Vita
  2. Go to https://henkaku.xyz/go

MolecularShell and HENkaku should now be installed on your Vita.

2. Enable Unsafe Homebrew apps

This will allow us to access the Vita’s internal memory and install homebrew which requires extended permissions.

  1. Open the Settings application
  2. Select HENkaku Settings
  3. Check Enable Unsafe Homebrew

install custom firmware ps vita

Part 2. Install HENkaku Ensō Custom Firmware

Regular HENkaku requires us to relaunch the exploit every time your reboot. This can get annoying. This is why you should install HENkaku Ensō.

HENkaku Ensō will automatically install HENkaku on boot, making it the best solution to PS Vita homebrew right now.

Instructions

  1. Re-install Henkaku if you recently rebooted your PS Vita
    1. Open the Web Browser on your PS Vita
    2. Go to https://henkaku.xyz/go
  2. Open the Web Browser on your PS Vita and navigate to this page
  3. Click the following link to download HENkaku Ensō onto your Vita
  4. Open VitaShell and navigate to ux0:download
  5. Install enso.vpk
  6. Exit back to the home menu and open the Ensō application
  7. Press CIRCLE to accept terms
  8. Press X to install Ensō
    • If it says os0 modifications detected, press X to install the 3.60 PUP

Part 3. Install Homebrew

Now we’ve got that out the way, we can start to download some homebrew applications to put on our Home Menu

  1. Open the Web Browser on your PS Vita and navigate to this page. Shortened URL: https://goo.gl/fTiUyN
  2. Download the latest release of VitaShell
  3. Download the latest release of Vita Homebrew Browser
  4. Open MolecularShell and navigate to ux0:download
  5. Install both of the homebrew applications you just downloaded
    • Make sure you still have unsafe homebrew enabled

You can now use VitaShell as your main file browser, and use Vita Homebrew Browser to download whatever homebrew you want.

Next Steps

Now that your PS Vita is hacked, don’t forget the amazing things you can do with it! Visit the PS Vita Hacking Guide home page to check out what else you can do.

 

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