iPhone 3Gs, though older than iPhone 4 for a year, is equipped with an ARM Cortex processor which capable of recording video in HD (High Definition) quality of up to 1080 x 800 pixel (720p). The iOS software running on the iPhone 3Gs disable the HD video recording capability though, despite the hardware specification.

Hackers have managed to come out with a hack that enable HD and SuperHD video recording on iPhone 3Gs, which is able to capture a far better picture quality. The hack may allow video recording at up to 1080 x 800 resolution at 30 fps at up to 20 Mbps bitrate, while by default, iPhone 3Gs only records video at 640 x 480 resolution at 3 Mbps bitrate. However, the hack requires a jailbroken iPhone 3Gs. To jailbreak iPhone 3Gs, uses Limera1n or GreenPois0n.

Then, follow these steps to hack iPhone 3Gs to enable video recording in HD and SuperHD mode.

  1. Download the pre-edited .plist files in HDVideo3GS-rev4.zip.
  2. Run Cydia (auto install after jailbreak) and then search for OpenSSH. Install OpenSSH on the iPhone 3GS.
  3. Connect iPhone to computer. Ensure that iTunes is not running.
  4. Run a SSH utility such as WinSCP (for Windows) or Cyberduck (for Mac) to SSH telnet into iPhone 3Gs with the following connection settings:
    • IP address of iPhone 3Gs: available from the Settings -> WiFi -> Network Name
    • User name: root
    • Password: alpine
    • Protocol: SFTP for Cyberduck and SCP for WinSCP
  5. Unpack and extract the HDVideo3GS-rev4.zip.
  6. Choose whether you want to enable HD or SuperHD video recording by taking a look at the image showing difference between different video mode., and then copy the 3 hacked plist files inside the corresponding folder (AVCapture.plist, CameraRollValidator.plist, MediaValidator.plist) to /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Celestial.framework/N88/

    Note: Backup the original .plist files prior to overwriting.

  7. Restart the phone.

Alternatively, a simple one-click hack has also been made available to enable HD video recording without the manual hacking steps above. The hack, HD Video Enabler for 3GS, is available from Cydia under BigBoss repository. Once downloaded, simply activate it from Winterboard app.

Update and more details on what’s been changed in the .plist files are detailed at hacker’s site.