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
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)