How to Manually (and Offline) Update to Any Specific PS Vita Firmware Using QCMA

Alvaro Bernedo

If you have your PS Vita hacked in order to run custom emulators (we explain how to hack yours in this entry and how to install emulators in this one), then you know that you cannot update your Vita’s firmware to the latest one. If you do, the update will break your hack and all your emulators and other homebrew apps will be gone.

PS Vita Update Main

Tip: If you are unfamiliar with some of these terms and want to know what all this means, please refer to the post: All You Need to Know About Hacking Your PS Vita: VHBL, TN-V, Exploits, Emulators Explained.

You might be interested, however, in updating your PS Vita to a later firmware that is not the newest one. This is usually done because you might want a feature or a game that is supported only by that firmware. For example: let’s say your Vita is on official firmware 3.18 and you want to update to the version 3.36 (which also supports full hacking as of this writing).

PS Vita Emulators

However, if you update automatically, your Vita will update straight to firmware version 3.50 (the latest current one) or later.

How do you update only to the firmware you want without getting your PS Vita too far?

Well, read along as I guide you through the process. And not only that, but you will not need to be connected to the internet when updating, since you will have the file on your own computer.

Getting Ready

You’ll only need a couple of things before getting started.

  • qCMA – An app used to transfer data between your computer and your PS Vita without requiring an internet connection (available for both Mac and Windows).
  • Any application that can create and edit XML files. I use Dreamweaver, but most simple notepad apps should do.
  • Download the PS Vita firmware you want to install (the one you want to upgrade to) from this website (in my case, I want to update to 3.36, so I will download that one).

PS Vita Firmwares

PS Vita Firmware Downloading

Important Note: Also, since this tutorial uses qCMA, it means it should work on both Macs (what I use) and Windows PCs without a problem.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Locate Your Vita’s Updates Folder

Step 1: Start by opening qCMA on your computer. Once done, open the app’s Settings, where you will find two tabs, Folder and Other.

QCMA Settings

On the Other tab, make sure you have Offline Mode checked and that the CMA Protocol version displays the version of your target firmware.

QCMA Offline Mode Enabled

Next, on the Folder tab, under the Updates / Web content section you will find the path of the folder you need to use for updating your PS Vita. Locate the folder on your computer and keep it at hand.

QCMA Settings Folder Path

PS Vita Updates Folder

Get the Firmware File Ready

Step 2: Now head to the file of the PS Vita target firmware you downloaded previously. When you unzip it, you will get another three zip files.

PS Vita Firmware 3 ZIP Files

From these, you will only need the firmware itself, which is the largest file of the bunch. In this example, it is the zip file called ‘PSVita OFW 3.36’. You can delete or save the other two, as you will not use them.

Then unzip the Vita firmware file. The resulting file will be ‘PSP2UPDAT.PUP’.

Step 3: Now take this file and place it in the PSV Updates folder you located before. Once done, leave it there. We will return to this folder one last time in a few moments.

PS Vita Update File Final Location

Create the XML File

Since you will update your PS Vita via USB and in offline mode, you need to ‘tell’ qCMA to pull the update file from the PSV Updates folder, instead of looking for it on the web. For this, you will need to create an XML file.

Step 4: Thankfully, the vast majority of this work is done, since the developer of qCMA has listed the necessary code on this website. Head there and copy all the code within the code window.

QCMA Update Code

Also, take note of the file name at the top of the window ‘psp2-updatelist.xml‘ (without the brackets). As that will be the name of the XML file when you create it.

Step 5: Now open your notepad, text editor, or whatever app you plan to use to create your XML file. Give your file the name mentioned above and then paste the code you copied before.

QCMA Code Copied Before Edit

Step 6: Done? Great. Now head to the bottom of the code, where it shows region id=”us” (the highlighted text shown below). There, edit all the numbers in that piece of code so that they reflect the target firmware you want to update. Take a very close look at the screenshot below. Check how I replaced most of the zeros with ‘3.36’, which is the firmware I want to update to.

QCMA XML Code Edited

Important Note: If you have a PS Vita with an account on another region (like Europe or Japan for example), make sure you edit only the section relevant to your region.

Step 7: Once done, save the XML file and place it in the PSV Updates folder mentioned previously. Now that folder should have two files (shown below).

PS Vita Update Files Ready

Ready? Now the final step on your computer is to start qCMA and click on the Refresh database option to make sure its database is updated with the files you just added.

Now head to your PS Vita.

On Your PS Vita

Step 8: First, press and hold the PS button to bring up the quick settings. There, disable Wi-Fi and enable Flight Mode. You don’t want your Vita to accidentally update to the latest firmware. Then turn your Vita off and then back on again, just in case.

PS Vita Enable Flight Mode

Step 9: Now plug your PS Vita to your computer, open the Settings app and select System Update.

PS Vita Settings System Update

Next, select Update by Connecting to a PC.

PS Vita Update via PC

After a short while, you will then see the message telling you that a new firmware version is available. Choose Next and then proceed with the update as usual.

PS Vita Update Screen

PS Vita Update Screens

Congrats! Your PS Vita is now on the firmware you wanted.

PS Vita Update Ready

Important Note: After this process, don’t forget to get rid of the files in the PSV Updates folder. Otherwise you might not be able to connect via qCMA in the future to transfer files.

And that’s it. Enjoy you newly updated PS Vita!

Also See

Join the newsletter

Alvaro Bernedo

Written By

Alvaro Bernedo

Contributor at Guiding Tech