January 26, 2023

Flipper Zero Unleashed

Before we dive in, we want to be transparent in telling you that Flipper Zero is a device we genuinely love and am not being paid to advertise. Flipper Zero Unleashed is a custom firmware for the Flipper Zero with loads of additional features and is definitely an excellent choice. So if you have a Flipper Zero, or are getting one, keep reading to hear how you can get the most out of it. Installation instructions are at the end in case you are only interested in a how-to.

Source - https://github.com/Eng1n33r/flipperzero-firmware

Why Would You?

Being completely fair, the official Flipper Zero firmware is fantastic and constantly being updated. It is completely fine not to go with a custom firmware and the device is enjoyable without it. However, there is always interest in community additions that are not part of the main official firmware, such as classics like “Flappy Bird”... and also more hacking tools. This custom firmware is loaded with new tools and capabilities.

More Games (and a Games Mode)

Ok, this one sounds silly at first but there is some real precedence for this. The Flipper Zero was sold as a “tamagotchi” like tool for hackers. As of writing this blog though, the tamagotchi side of the Flipper is non-existent, the games are lacking, and you would be hard pressed to convince anyone this is anything other than a hacking tool.

Flipper Zero Unleashed includes a whole slew of new games and importantly, a way to lock the Flipper Zero that only allows access to those games and hides its true nature. For some people, this can be extremely important, for others, a novelty. To break out of games mode, “up, up, down, down, left, center, left, center”.

More Tools

Ever want to make a barcode on the fly? How about quick dec-hex conversions? Why is there not a basic calculator in the official firmware? Tools like this are all included in the Flipper Zero Unleashed custom firmware. Many are marginally useful, like the dec-hex converter, but some are absolutely amazing to have on hand like the Spectrum Analyzer. Please look through the documentation in the Flipper Zero Unleashed github for full details on all the tools added. Know that they are worth the risks to gain access to so many new capabilities.

A future blog post will cover a favorite tool addition, serial control over Wifi Marauders.

A Cool Dolphin

The background animations your dolphin plays are based on its level, 1-3. It takes a very long time to level up your dolphin to level 3 naturally, even with frequent use (mine is only level 1 for instance). With this firmware, the background animations now include all possible animations regardless of level, so you can be met with a super cool cyber dolphin, or a dolphin just chillin on a couch. It’s a small thing, but delightful. You also don’t lose the default leveling system (viewable in your dolphin’s passport) in case you care about that.

You also gain the ability to rename your dolphin. Useful if you really dislike the name it generated. The details are in the Flipper Zero Unleashed documentation if you are interested in that. If you really want to go crazy, you can customize the artwork and animations, or even the levels, experience, caps, whatever you want.

What Do You Risk?

Please understand the inherent risks of using even the default Flipper firmware and capabilities. There will not be a discussion on those risks here. Instead, this will focus on the risks added by the custom firmware that are not present in the normal Flipper Zero.

Bricking Your Device

As with any firmware update, there is a risk of bricking your device. This risk is higher when updating it with a custom piece of firmware. Luckily for you, the firmware recommended here has a decent community behind it who work hard to minimize errors. That said, Flippers have been bricked by this process. Usually this happens because the user did not completely update their Flipper Zero to the latest official firmware and/or did not format their SD card properly per the Flipper Zero documentation. Thankfully, Flippers are quite resilient and can recover from most bricking with hard shutdowns, reflashes, and other desperate measures employed.

Since you have read this far, you will now learn one of the “secrets”. It’s buried here because this secret can brick your device in a hurry and it is very much not recommended unless you are very aware of the risks (high) and have weighed it with the gains (low). There is a file “subghz/assets/dangerous_settings” that can be edited to extend the range of the sub-ghz radio. One of these settings will make it able to transmit in frequencies which are against the law (based on the region of the Flipper) and another setting will make the Flipper transmit in ranges which can break the software defined radio completely. You have been warned…

Breaking the Law

Sure, you are more than capable of breaking the law without a custom firmware update. Generally this should be avoided though. This firmware update will give you new and exciting ways to go to jail. Please exercise extreme caution and follow all laws in your area. There will be blog posts in the future about building faraday cages and other ways to help you research radio frequency hacking techniques without breaking the law. Beyond that, exercise discretion and don’t do things like clone door cards to break into places you are not authorized to be.

Since you have read this far, you will now be pointed to one of the secrets. The last paragraph in the previous section describes how to enable your radio to do even more things you probably shouldn’t do. Each Flipper Zero is built for a region based on how you purchased it. This is to help users (and the manufacturer) not go to jail by limiting your transmission frequencies only to those allowed in your region. You can undo that restriction in the custom firmware. Please exercise caution and discretion with this. You have been warned…

There are also several fun addons, one of which is the Wifi Marauder and will have it’s own blog post dedicated to it in the near future. These devices increase the number of new and interesting ways you can end up in jail. Please do not end up in jail by practicing caution and discretion. This bears repeating even more often than it is already. Do not use this to break the law. If you aren’t comfortable with understanding what is breaking the law and what isn’t, then please do not do anything which you are unsure about. This blog is not legal advice.

How To Install

Now that you understand the risks and benefits of installing this custom firmware, here is a step by step on how to install.

  1. Setup your flipper according to the official flipper documentation.

  2. https://github.com/Eng1n33r/flipperzero-firmware/releases - download the latest release archive (.zip, .tar.gz, whatever you prefer)

  3. Power off your Flipper Zero and remove the microSD

  4. Create an update folder on the root of the microSD

  5. Extract the contents of the archive into the “/update/” folder

    • Result should be /update/f7-update-<VERSION>/<morestuff>

  6. Put the microSD back in the Flipper and turn it on

  7. Press the down arrow, then left arrow

    • You should now be in the file browser with the word “Browser” on top. If not, keep pressing the left arrow until you see that

  8. Navigate to /update/f7-update-<VERSION>/ and select the file called update.fuf

  9. The Flipper will now update and you will have the custom firmware


https://docs.flipperzero.one/ - Read the documents!

https://github.com/djsime1/awesome-flipperzero - This has loads of excellent Flipper Resources for your enjoyment.

https://github.com/Eng1n33r/flipperzero-firmware - Direct link to the firmware recommended “Flipper Zero Unleashed”.