Thoroughly read all of the introductory pages (including this one!) before proceeding.
What is custom firmware?
Custom firmware (“CFW”) is a full software modification to your 3DS, comparable to “administrator access” on a computer. It allows you to do anything that the 3DS is physically capable of doing, rather than being limited by whatever Nintendo allows you to do.
Popular uses for custom firmware include:
- Running homebrew software and games made for or ported to the Nintendo 3DS
- Bypassing the region lock, allowing you to play games from other regions
- HOME Menu customization, using community-created themes and badges
- Modification of games (“ROM hacks”) through LayeredFS
- Save data editing, backup, and restore
- Emulation of older consoles, as well as native playback of DS and GBA games
- Installing your physical cartridges for digital use
What does this guide install?
This guide will:
- Install boot9strap and Luma3DS custom firmware on unmodified retail 3DS/2DS devices
- Luma3DS will automatically remove the region lock and allow you to run unsigned software
- Install various pieces of homebrew software, such as a package installer, save file manager, and a homebrew app store
- Make critical system file backups that can help avoid bricks (and recover data in the event of one)
What do I need to know before starting?
- While the risks of bricking have been minimized over the years, we are not responsible for anything that goes wrong with your device. Incorrect file placement will not brick your device, but reckless behavior might.
- This guide is compatible with every retail device in the Nintendo 3DS family of consoles (including the New 3DS series and the 2DS), regardless of region or firmware.
- While we believe that custom firmware is safe for online use, there have been online network bans in the past, primarily for cheating and suspicious eShop behavior.
- Following this guide alone should not result in data loss, but SD card corruption is always a possibility. You should make a backup of your SD card contents if you have important data.
- You will need a working SD card in your 3DS, as well as the ability to write files to the SD card. The 3DS can read SD cards formatted as MBR/FAT32.
- If you are using Windows to move files to/from the SD card, you may want to enable file extensions to avoid misnaming files.