HENkaku: Vita homebrew for everyone

Photo credits to Davee For the last couple of months, molecule (composed of I along with Davee, Proxima, and xyz) have been working hard to bring you an easy-to-use homebrew solution. The result is HENkaku (変革), the first HEN for the Vita. Since the release of Rejuvenate a year ago, developers have created tons of wonderful emulators, games, and apps for the Vita. Unfortunately, Rejuvenate is hard to set up, has many annoying limitations, and supports only an older firmware version. As a result, we recommended Rejuvenate only to developers who wish for an unofficial way to write apps for the Vita. When I first announced Rejuvenate and the call for an open toolchain, I emphasized that the SDK must be binary compatible with the Vita’s native loader. I published the specifications document and some gracious developers took up the task and wrote vita-toolchain. At the time, there were some pushback on why I was adamant on binary compatibility when the loader was also written by us. Well, the reason was this: developers (mostly) do not have to make any changes to their code. If your homebrew ran on Rejuvenate, it will run with HENkaku with minimal work. We ask developers to build their code with the latest toolchain now for HENkaku compatibility.

What is HENkaku?

HENkaku simply lets you install homebrew as bubbles in LiveArea. It is a native hack that disables the filesystem sandbox. It installs molecularShell, a fork of VitaShell that lets you access the memory card over FTP and install homebrew packages (which we create as VPK files). With vita-toolchain, developers have access to the same system features licensed developers have access to as well as undocumented features that licensed developers cannot use (including overclocking the processors).

What is it NOT?

It does not let you install or run Vita “backups”, warez, or any pirated content. It does not disable any DRM features. It does not let you decrypt encrypted games. Here’s my stance on this: I do not care one way or the other about piracy. I do not judge people who do pirate. I will not act as the police for pirates. However, I will personally not write any tools that aid in piracy. It is my choice just as it is the pirate’s choice to steal content.


HENkaku will only work on 3.60 so we recommend that you update to it. We know that updating to 3.60 breaks many current Vita tweaks and hacks so here’s a short guide on what HENkaku replaces.

  • Should I update if I already have Rejuvenate?

Rejuvenate was a limited hack mainly designed for developers who wish to dip their toes in the water. Rejuvenate will not be supported anymore. HENkaku is superior in every way.

  • Should I update if I am using VHBL or PSP homebrew bubbles?

Yes. Since HENkaku gives homebrew full filesystem access, it is possible for a developer to create a “bubble creator” Vita homebrew that generates signed PSP homebrew bubbles. As a bonus, you don’t have to purchase any games to do this! We (molecule) will not provide support for PSP/PS1 related stuff though, so all this depends on someone else picking up the baton. If you are highly dependent on PSP homebrew, we suggest that you wait and not update past 3.60.

  • Should I update if I am using eCFW/ARK/TN-V/TN-X?

We do not support running PSP ISOs/backups. Your best option would be to wait and see what other developers do.

  • Should I update if I am using FailMail tricks to modify the system (whitelist, themes, etc)?

Yes. Vita homebrew will have full filesystem access so you can do app.db modifications as well as change whitelist files and so on. It is even possible for homebrew developers to write apps that do system mods for you so you don’t have to mess with sqlite at all.


HENkaku will be released publicly on 07/29/2016 9:00AM UTC at https://henkaku.xyz/. It will only support firmware 3.60, so feel free to update to it now in preparation. Do not update past 3.60, the current firmware at the time of this writing.


  1. pyroesp

    I had just missed PSM to use Rejuvenate so couldn’t dev on the vita. I’m glad I didn’t sell it, you guys are awesome.

    I’m going to install the toolchain and wait for HENkaku to be released.

  2. Mike

    Can we install tn-v with this aswell? If not is there a way to keep my current tn-v install on 3.50 when I update to 3.60?

  3. @Mike I would imagine no as TN-V relies on a separate kernel exploit in the PSP Emu. Since Yifan said this is native Vita I don’t see why they would release a kexploit as well. That being said I’m not part of their team so I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it.

  4. Nemo

    Two questions: One: Will we be able to install PSP mode homebrew launchers with this? Two: Does this obsolete the mailwriter trick for the purposes of whitelist editing?

  5. This is amazing, I can’t imagine how much hard work went into creating this. Why the firmware limit though? Does it check which version? Because if it has to be on the most recent version, and you can’t upgrade from 3.60 anyway, why not just let it be compatible with all? I look forward to seeing this and other HENkaku mysteries being resolved in coming days and weeks.

  6. Can’t wait to test it out. Hopefuly Sony won’t patch this out by the time I get back from vacations and can get my hands on my Vita. Rejuvenate was ok for devs, a good kickstart but in the end, not user friendly, way too much restrictions. Glad to see you worked it out guys.

  7. Wow this is huge news!!!! Very exciting. Hopefully there will still be ways to install the newest games that come out on PSN (Purchased legit of course).

    There are some Vita games on the horizon that I’m still very interested in getting:

    • Salt and Sanctuary
    • Bloodstained Ritual of the Night
    • Hyper Light Drifter
    • Moon Hunters (If that still comes out)
    • Samurai Gunn
    • Dungeon Punks
  8. Excellent work team! :D, this attracts more people to scene vita, even I will be able writing code apps, I created code, but did not have access to v3.50 :-/

  9. Black Materia

    Sadly no PSP Backup Support =/ so I think that PSX games won’t work too… I don’t have a psp anymore and I’d love to backup my UMDs to play some games, specially VP: Lenneth =/

  10. Black Materia

    But yeah, it’s a great add to Vita! I can’t wait to play the NeoGeo Classics! And I hope that the N64 emulator gets released too :D

  11. Nad45

    Finally!! Can’t wait to have some new emulators and overclock the Vita.

    Maybe i’ll be able to play Assassin Creed, Borderland and especially Jak and Daxter without an headache !!! Do you think it’s possible? Or the CPU speed limit is coded on the game so he can’t use the added speed even if the CPU is overclocked?

  12. VitaOrBust

    I’m a bit dumb but does this mean we can make full homebrew games? Like as big as a memory card can hold?

  13. hxcxkx

    “We’d also like to thank an anonymous contributor for providing a WebKit vulnerability PoC (no CVE).” This vulnerability can be used for PS3 / PS4?

  14. hiead088

    This is great news!! A big thank you to every member of the molecule team, now let’s see what kind of homebrew is created for this!

  15. LEON

    Thank you for developing this amazing tools, we hope this things can help us to get the primary authour of PSV

  16. This happen exactly when I got a little bit of time due to our project at work that is almost finished. Fantastic! I’ve done java and android every day since the Flood-It release, so let’s try HENkaku in a few hours. Thanks you so much!

  17. Seth

    Thank you so much guys. i knew i was smart to hold onto my old dusty vita lol. at least it hasn’t been used since tnv11 i think so it still looks new. i always look forward to the stuff you guys bring forward to the vita scene. thanks again guys.

  18. satoshimatrix

    I have a Vita TV with 1.60 already, so I figured there was nothing to loose by trying this. I successfully installed HENkaku and molecularShell, then got whitelister1_1.vpk installed as well.

    Launched whitelister and then tried out the incompatible physical games that I’ve got that don’t normally boot at all on the Vita TV.

    Got tons of stuff working:

    Gravity Rush (U) Hyperdimension Neptunia PP (U) Resistance Burning Skies (U) Tearaway (U) boots, but crashes (probably due to the missing hardware; no big deal just thought I’d try it anyway) Uncharted Golden Abyss (U) Wipeout 2048 (U) Ys: Memories of Celceta (U)

    however, these games still do NOT work:

    Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 (U) Moe Chronicle (Asia)

    I don’t understand why these games don’t even boot. They still give the same old not compatible error you’d norally get with stock firmware. Neither game uses any of the Vita’s extra features beyond just the touch screen. and even then the touch screen isn’t crutial to normal gameplay.

    Does anyone know of any way to fix these to get these working? In particular I really want to play Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 on my PSTV with HENkaku. Thanks for any help!

  19. Ty

    I didn’t see any kind of tutorial on how to get emulators working by using this hack just more info on the same stuff I’ve already read I hope to hell someone makes a step by step youtube tutorial for this shit soon

  20. qwl

    overclocking the cpu ?The scePowerSetArmClockFrequency() function could only make it @ 444Mhz . Any other functions ?

  21. Harvey

    Just curious, could the USB port on the PSTV be used for storage (save and load content from a flash drive)? I know it’s not possible yet, but is it technically plausible?

  22. Holger Boerchers

    HENkaku on my PSTV 3.60 always reboots after install and never starts molecular shell install or creates the icon. What to do? Please help

  23. Paul

    I Have a half finished application I was building in PSM Dev, is there are way to run it now that I have my Vita hacked?

  24. Trapper!!!

    Thank you very much for this. I was just looking around for a “root” for my new vita in order to save me the acc log-in log outs when managing my digital multi-region game collection.Buut.. since I mindlessly updated my system (D’OH!) I guess I won’t be running HENkaku in the foreseeable future. :V

  25. Maciek

    Hello. I have big problem - I have installed debug shell on vita which is incompatible with relase 5 and up. The bad thing is my little brother formated my vita memory card and now I can’t install actual release with henkaku 6. Is possibility to upload henkaku release 4 on another server to uninstall this debug shell? Because on release 6 debug shell I have still make me the same error. Any chance of it? Regards and thanks for Your hard work!

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