How to Restore the Homebrew Channel After Updating the Wii

Wii updates and the Homebrew Channel don't play well together

homebrew channel screenshot

The Nintendo Wii Homebrew Channel is for launching fan-developed homebrew applications on the console. After it's installed, it appears in the Wii System Menu, where you can use it to easily install homebrew applications. The Wii isn't designed to support homebrew apps, though, so occasionally users update their operating systems, not realizing this results in the loss of the Homebrew Channel. If this happens to you, here are some steps you can take to restore it.

Nintendo discontinued the Wii console in 2013. It no longer receives system updates.

How to Prevent Wii Updates

An accidental upgrade is most likely to happen if you play a game that includes an update check and you haven't disabled the Wii's update checking. You're notified when a new Wii update is available from Nintendo, but you can refuse to download it. If you don't refuse, your Wii updates to the current version and your Homebrew Channel disappears.

Wii updates 4.2 and 4.3 were both specifically designed to kill homebrew. If you lost homebrew but can still use your Wii, be happy about that, because sometimes the updates made Wiis unusable.

How to Get the Wii Homebrew Channel Back

First, you need to know what version of the OS you upgraded to. The Wii's final update was 4.3. To find out what version of the operating system you have, go to Wii Options > Wii Settings and check the number on the upper right corner of that screen. That's the current OS version.

Now, you need to reinstall the Homebrew Channel for the appropriate OS. Read the Homebrew Channel installation guide to learn how to determine which homebrew package you need and how to install it to your system. The below instructions work with OS 4.3.

  1. Go to the Letterbomb webpage.

  2. Input your OS and the Wii's Mac address.

    You can find this information by going to Wii Options > Wii Settings.

  3. Download Letterbomb to an SD card and unzip it.

  4. Insert the SD card into the Wii.

  5. Turn on the console. When the Main Menu is up, click the envelope in the circle to go to your message board.

  6. Click on the message that looks like a red envelope with a bomb in it. It'll be dated within the past two days.

  7. Read and follow the onscreen directions precisely to install the Homebrew Channel.

When you get the Homebrew Channel back, make sure to turn off update checks and don't opt to upgrade your Wii again to prevent this issue from recurring.

How to Uninstall the Homebrew Channel

Remove the Homebrew Channel from your Wii by deleting it with the channel manager in the system software.