How to Enable 720P HD Recording on iPhone 3GS


Looks like savvy iPhone user, Mike Pan, has figured out a way to hack his iPhone 3GS to record videos in 720P! Video recording on the iPhone 3GS is limited to non-HD video, but according to the specs of the ARM Cortex processor within the 3GS explains otherwise, as it is capable of encoding videos in 720P.

Here are some short excerpts from Mike’s blog:

Here is a way to get the phone to record video (and playback on the iPhone) at 1080×800 @ 30fps at up to 20Mbps.  (up from the original 640×480 @ 3Mbps)  (I am using the non-standard 1080×800 in order to keep the video at the right aspect ratio)

For the truly impatient:  download the pre-edited file
Jailbreak your device and install SSH
Copy N88AP.plist to /System/Library/CoreServices/
Copy the 3 other plist files to /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Celestial.framework/N88/
Reboot your iPhone 3GS

One quick look at the ARM Cortex processor that the 3GS uses [PDF Spec], it’s apparent that the chip is capable of handling 720p video encoding.  So all we need to do is by-pass the artificial limitation Apple has imposed on the hardware.

Wow. Well done Mike for figuring this one out. Consider this one heck of a trick or treat surprise for iPhone 3GS users. For full instructions, visit Mike’s blog here. As always, proceed at your own risk when tinkering with the insides of your iPhone. Here’s a 720p video sample from an iPhone 3GS:

If you’re going to try this out, let us know how it works for you in the comments!

[Mike Pan]


  • ML

    Good tip. Will try it today.

  • Anonymous

    Whats the point of having 720p on the iphone 4 then? Or is the iphone 4 capable to do better than 720..

  • Mibaksh

    It’s ok. But taking a regular pic is a bit buggy. I reverted back to stock.

  • Boricacid

    That right there might make me jailbreak my 3GS for the first time, if I don’t read about issues in the next few days.

    I would also be interested to see a side-by-side comparison with an iPhone 4’s video of the same thing, if anyone is willing to make it.

  • Homegrown_rox

    First off: The hack worked for me and I haven’t had camera issues yet – although I hope I don’t because I was so excited when I read this I did the whole thing through iFile and overwrote the originals.

    @DanMon – I think the point to having 720p on the iPhone 4 is that the sensor of the camera is better – so even though they can both shoot at the same resolution, the quality is much nicer on the newer iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the reply!

  • Homegrown_rox

    It is buggy in low light.

  • Mav

    It works but yes, low light is very buggy. It seems like the shutter is wide open to try to compensate low light. Hope there is an update or fix for it.

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