Wii System Software

Wii System Software
Company / developer Nintendo
OS family Nintendo proprietary
Working state discontinued
Source model Closed source
Initial release 1.0 / November 19, 2006; 7 years ago (2006-11-19)
Latest stable release 4.3 / November 6, 2012; 20 months ago (2012-11-06)
Available language(s) German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Japanese, Korean, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese
Update method Direct Download
Game Disc
Supported platforms Wii
Wii Mini
Preceded by Nintendo GameCube OS
Succeeded by Wii U OS

Wii system software is a set of updatable firmware versions, and a software frontend on the Wii video game console. Updates, which are downloaded via the system's Internet connection (WiiConnect24), allow Nintendo to add additional features and software. When a new update becomes available, Nintendo sends a message to connected systems notifying them of the available update.

Several game discs, both first-party and third-party games, have included system software updates[1] so that players who are not connected to the Internet can still update their system. Additionally this can "force" an upgrade by requiring the player to perform the update, without which the new game cannot be played.[1] Some online games (such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii) have come with specific extra updates, such as being able to receive posts from game-specific addresses, so, regardless of the version of the installed software, it will install an update.


The Wii's firmware is in the form of IOSs (thought by the Wii homebrew developers to stand for 'Input Output Systems' or 'Internal Operating Systems'[2]), which run on a separate ARM architecture processor to other Wii software (nicknamed Starlet by the Wii homebrew community, as it is physically located inside the graphics chip, the Hollywood, so it is a small part of Hollywood. The patent for the Wii U indicates a similar device which is simply named "Input/Output Processor"[3]). These control input and output between the code running on the main processor (the PowerPC "Broadway" processor) and the Wii's hardware features that did not exist on the GameCube, which can only be accessed via the ARM.

When Nintendo releases a new IOS version, except for unusual circumstances (for example security updates to block homebrew), the new IOS does not replace any IOS already installed. Instead, it gets installed in addition to any current IOS versions. All native Wii software (including games distributed on Nintendo optical discs, the System Menu itself, Virtual Console games, WiiWare, and Wii Channels), with the exception of certain homebrew applications, have the IOS version hardcoded into the software.

When the software is run, the IOS that is hardcoded gets loaded by the Wii, which then loads the software itself. If that IOS does not exist on the Wii, in the case of disc-based software, it gets installed automatically (after the user is prompted). With downloaded software, this should not theoretically happen, as the user cannot access the shop to download software unless the player has all the IOS versions that they require. However, if homebrew is used to forcefully install or run a piece of software when the required IOS does not exist, the user is brought back to the system menu.

Nintendo created this system so that new updates wouldn't unintentionally break compatibility with older games, but it does have the side effect that it uses up space on the Wii's internal NAND Flash memory. IOSes are referred to by their number, which can theoretically be between 0 and 254, although many numbers are skipped, presumably being development versions that were never completed.

Only one IOS version can run at any given time. The only time an IOS isn't running is when the Wii enters GameCube backward compatibility mode, during which the Wii runs a variant of IOS specifically for GameCube games, MIOS.

System Menu

The System Menu provides a graphical interface to the Wii's abilities. All games run directly on the Broadway processor, and either directly interface with the hardware (for the hardware common to the Wii and GameCube), or interface with IOS running on the ARM architecture processor (for Wii-specific hardware). The ARM processor does not have access to the screen, and therefore neither does IOS. This means that while a piece of software is running, everything seen on the screen comes from that software, and not from any operating system or firmware. This includes the home menu (a menu of uniform appearance that appears when the home button is pressed in any piece of official Wii software), and any error messages that might appear. Therefore, the version number reported by the Wii is actually only the version number of the System Menu. This is why some updates do not result in a change of the version number: the System Menu itself is not updated, only (for example) IOSes and channels. As a side effect, this means it is impossible for Nintendo to implement any functions that would affect the games themselves, for example an in-game system menu (similar to the Xbox 360's in-game Dashboard or the PS3's in-game XMB).[4]

Wii System Update releases

This is a list of features included in Wii's System Updates.

System Menu Version Date Released Region Channel updated and description of update
4.3 November 6, 2012 United States Japan Europe Australia
  • New version of the Wii Shop Channel.
  • Added IOS62.
September 7, 2010 United States Japan Europe Australia South Korea
  • Updates Wii Shop Channel again (people with older firmware are unable to access it without updating theirs).
  • Adds Korean IOSs to E/J/U Wiis, and E/J/U IOSs to Korean Wiis. This was done to prevent users from installing old versions of these IOSs, in order to exploit the fact that the function ES_AddTitleFinish didn't check for signatures.
  • Updates all IOSs for an unknown reason.
June 21, 2010 United States Japan Europe Australia South Korea
  • Updates Wii Shop Channel again (people with older firmware are unable to access it without updating theirs).
  • Deletes the Homebrew Channel and DVDX, title IDs HAXX, DVDX, JODI, DISC, and DISK.
  • DVDX does not work anymore. However, HBC 1.0.7 or later contains the HW_AHBPROT flags, which was DVDX formerly.
  • Updates all IOSs to remove the "HackMii Installer Userland+Syscall IOS exploit".
  • Adds IOS58 and IOS80.
  • System Menu now uses IOS80.
  • IOS254 was stubbed causing BootMii to be deleted if it was installed.
  • Bannerbomb v2 does not work anymore. The System Menu will display "Error:004" if it finds Bannerbomb.
  • NANDFS privilege escalation fixed
  • ES_AddTitleFinish now checks the signature (Trucha Bug Restorer and similar won't work anymore)
4.2 September 28, 2009 United States Japan Europe Australia South Korea
  • Updates Wii Shop Channel (people with older firmware are unable to access it without updating theirs).
  • Deletes DVDX version 1 and Homebrew Channel versions 1.0.4 and older and blocks Bannerbomb v1[5]
  • Implements stronger region checks for games by checking the last letter of the game ID.
  • Refuses to boot and displays the message "Error:003" on Korean systems that have had its software region changed to a different country.[6][7]
  • Installs boot2v4 if it had not been installed. This could brick consoles, rendering the console inoperable if the process was interrupted while it was being written, or if one of the first blocks of the Wii's memory was bad.[8]
  • Updates all IOSs and adds IOS70.[6][9]
  • Replaces IOSs 222, 223, 249 and 250 (spots where cIOSs are installed) with stubs.[9]
4.1 July 30, 2009 South Korea
  • A bug is fixed whereby if a Virtual Console/WiiWare game was to be played from the SD card, followed by Wii Sports Resort being played, the game would re-play the "how to use MotionPlus" video that normally only plays once the game has started.
  • The Japanese update also gave the Nintendo Channel a visual makeover.[10]
July 15, 2009 United States Europe Australia
July 3, 2009 Japan
4.0 March 25, 2009 United States Japan Europe Australia
  • Update includes SD Card Menu to "move" files and channels between the Wii console and SD card[11]
  • Adds the ability to download Virtual Console and WiiWare games directly to the SD card from the Wii Shop Channel, and play them directly from the card. Though the Wii doesn't actually play it directly from SD-card. It rather copies it to the internal 512MB NAND-Flash before execution and deletes it automatically when loading a different game either from the SD card or the main console.[12][13]
  • Wii Shop Channel supports classic arcade games[14]
  • Ability to save and access Wii Channels from the SD card[13]
  • SDHC card (up to 32 GB) support for System Menu, Wii Speak Channel, Shop Channel, and Photo Channel. Other features may not support SDHC cards.[14]
  • Properly detects and deletes every version of the Twilight hack (including 0.1beta2).[13]
  • Patches IOS16, which was the last official IOS with the signing bug[13]
  • Fixed the bug that was used in the Homebrew Channel installer (so all existing IOS-versions were updated).[13][15] Another bug has since been found and is utilised in Homebrew Channel 1.0.2 and newer (within the HackMii installer)
  • Added IOS38, IOS53, IOS55, IOS60, and IOS61[15]
  • System Menu runs on IOS60
3.5 March 3, 2009 South Korea
  • Update includes IOS52 (used by menu) and IOS254 (a copy of IOS9, to block PatchMii)[16]
  • Update also included changes to all 4X IOS versions (IOS40/41/43/45/46)[16]
3.4 November 17, 2008 United States Japan Europe Australia
  • USB keyboard support in Mii Channel.[17]
  • Enhanced parental controls.
  • Dramatically increased SD transfer speeds[18][19]
  • Improved disc reading[19]
  • Added IOS50 and IOS254.[20]
  • System Menu now runs on IOS50.[20]
  • IOS254 was added to remove "PatchMii Core".[21]
  • The Twilight hack check now detected 0.1beta1.[21]
3.3 November 12, 2008 United States Australia Europe
  • Nintendo Channel updated providing a behind-the-scenes enhancement to the Nintendo Channel.
October 23, 2008 United States Australia Europe
  • Wii Shop Channel updated by adding "View compatible controllers" module in the details section of a game and a classification summary on games.
  • Remaining IOS (those that were not patched by the 16 June 2008 update) were patched to prevent the installation of fake-signed content.[22]
July 22, 2008 United States Japan Europe
  • Photo Channel updated to 1.1-A.
  • Provided support for the Digicam Print Channel in Japan.
June 17, 2008 United States Australia Europe
  • Mii Channel updated to allow users to move a Mii from the Mii Plaza to Mii Parade.
  • Also added "Internet Channel" typing features. (Example: hitting the " - " (minus) button now acts as a backspace when naming new Miis.)
  • IOS30 and IOS31 were patched to prevent fake-signed content such as the Wii Freeloader from running.[23][24]
  • Implemented a rudimentary check to delete the Twilight hack.[25]
3.2 March 21, 2008 United States Japan Europe
  • IOS37 (the first IOS with the signing bug fixed) released.[26]
March 20, 2008 United States Japan Europe
February 25, 2008 United States Japan Europe
  • Disc Channel updated to display "Wii System Update" if the game currently inserted into the Wii contains a Wii Menu/Channel update.
  • The Wii LED light will glow if information is received while playing a game.[28]
3.1 January 30, 2008 United States Japan Europe
  • Check Mii Out Channel updated with the following features:
    • The ability to view up to 500 Miis after clicking "Popular" in the Posting Plaza.
    • A new button on the Posting Plaza that allows users to view Miis that they have designed and posted.
    • The ability to view Miis created by a specific Mii Artisan from his or her profile screen in the Posting Plaza.
    • The addition of Parental Controls. As with all other parental controls on Wii, if activated, a PIN code will be required to use the channel.
December 10, 2007 United States Japan Europe
  • Wii Shop Channel updated to include the ability to give gifts. Included a new channel icon and start screen for the Wii Shop Channel[29]
  • Provided support for the Photo Channel 1.1[30]
October 10, 2007 United States Japan Europe
3.0 August 6, 2007 United States Japan Europe
  • Corrected some stability issues when using the LAN adapter and added AOSS networking support[32]
  • Certain modchips and other devices no longer work (such as the GameCube FreeLoader bootdisk from Datel)
  • Wii Shop Channel updated
  • Altered the Wii Menu design to include a digital clock with the current time
  • The area around the Wii Message Board button will now flash when a new message arrives
  • Wii Message Board:
    • Adds the ability to rearrange the order of the user's Wii Friends in the address book
    • Adds the ability for the user to access the Wii Friends registration screen by pressing the A Button on blank spot in the address book
    • Envelope message icons will now appear on the calendar only on the dates when a message is received
    • User message sending history will now be displayed in Today's Accomplishments
    • Users can now scroll the message text by pressing the B button on the message screen
2.2 April 11, 2007 United States Japan Europe
  • Provided support for the Internet Channel: Final Version[33]
  • Resolved connection issues that affected a small number of users who connected online through a specific Internet Service Provider and supplied router
2.1 January 26, 2007 United States Japan Europe
January 10, 2007 Europe
  • Fixed bug with RGB SCART output(Not available in Australia)
2.0 December 19, 2006 United States Japan Europe
  • Update to support the Forecast Channel[35]
  • Altered the Wii Menu design
  • Users can now write and read data on an SD card
  • Addition of country settings option and system update option in settings menu
  • Users can now arrange all channels (except the Disc Channel) on the Wii menu by holding A and B at the same time
  • Ability to set parental controls to restrict online activities and only let particular rated games to be played
November 30, 2006 United States Japan
  • Blocked Wii Shop Channel hacks by blocking DNS redirection[36]
1.0 November 19, 2006 United States Japan
  • No Forecast Channel or News Channel available. Updates were only able through the update options in the internet settings.
  • Channels launched faster. Pressing 'A' on a channel immediately went to a black screen with the channel's preview music playing.

Wii Channel releases and updates

This is a list of the updates and releases of Wii Channels.

§ = Released as part of a system update so a separate download is not required.

Discontinued channels (as of 28th June 2013):

  • News Channel
  • Forecast Channel
  • Everybody Votes Channel
  • Mii Contest Channel/Check Mii Out Channel
  • Nintendo Channel
Date Released Region Download Channel updated and description of update
2013-01-17 January 17, 2013 United States Green tickY
2012-11-15 December 10, 2012 United Kingdom Green tickY
2012-11-15 November 15, 2012 United States Green tickY
2012-02-16 February 16, 2012 United States Green tickY
2011-03-16 March 16, 2011 United States Canada Green tickY
  • Nintendo Channel updated:
    • Software title information for the Nintendo 3DS System
2011-03-09 March 9, 2011 Europe Green tickY
  • Nintendo Channel updated:
    • Software title information for the Nintendo 3DS System
2010-10-18 October 18, 2010 United States Canada Green tickY
2012-01-09 January 9, 2012 United Kingdom Republic of Ireland
2009-11-18 November 18, 2009 United Kingdom Green tickY
  • BBC iPlayer Channel released:
    • Customers in the UK given access to a BBC iPlayer.
2009-10-20 October 20, 2009 Europe Australia United States Red XN§
  • Wii Shop Channel updated:
    • For customers to retrieve 500 points towards one NES game for the purchase of the Internet Channel.[37]
    • Launch of the Connection Ambassador Promotion.
2009-09-09 September 9, 2009 Europe Australia South Korea Green tickY
2009-09-01 September 1, 2009 United States Australia Europe Japan Green tickY
  • Internet Channel updated:
    • Browser now uses Adobe Flash Lite 3.1.
    • This channel is now a free download.
    • Updated version uses fewer blocks.
2009-09-14 September 14, 2009 United States Green tickY
  • Nintendo Channel updated:
    • Updated version uses fewer blocks on both the channel and data file.
    • Users can now do recommendations on registered games inserted in their Nintendo DS system via download.
    • Users can bookmark their favorite games.
    • Videos can be set for either high or normal quality.
    • Users can view recommendations from other users.
    • Users can view records of Wii software they've played and recommended.
2009-07-15 July 15, 2009 Japan Green tickY
2009-05-26 May 26, 2009 Japan Green tickY
2009-05-01 May 1, 2009 Japan Green tickY
2008-12-05 December 5, 2008 United States Australia Europe Green tickY
2008-12-02 December 2, 2008 Japan Green tickY
2008-11-18 November 18, 2008 Australia Europe Green tickY
2008-11-12 November 18, 2008 United States Green tickY
2008-07-23 July 23, 2008 Japan Green tickY
2008-06-26 June 26, 2008 Japan Green tickY
2008-04-27 April 27, 2008 United States Red XN
2008-04-24 April 24, 2008 Australia Red XN
2008-04-11 April 11, 2008 Europe Red XN
2008-04-10 April 10, 2008 Japan Red XN
2008-03-04 March 4, 2008 Japan Green tickY
2008-01-30 January 30, 2008 United States Japan Europe Green tickY
  • Check Mii Out Channel updated:
    • In the Posting Plaza, users can now easily find all the Miis they have posted, without the need to enter codes.
    • When viewing a Mii Artisan’s profile, a user can now find all Miis posted by that Artisan.
    • If the judging of a contest is cancelled and returned to later, any Miis selected previously for the contest will be retained.
    • Parental Controls are now supported in the channel. If a user chooses to block the "exchange of user generated content" from the Parental Controls menu in Wii Settings, users will be prompted to enter the Parental Controls PIN to enter the channel.
    • The main menu of the channel has a ticker, that warns that the content of the channel may offend.
    • When viewing Miis in the Posting Plaza under the "Popular" category, 500 of the most popular Miis over the past two weeks can now be viewed, instead of 50.
    • When using the Mii search feature, the Miis Entry Number is retained on the Entry Number screen. If the Mii searched for is not found, re-entry of the number is not necessary, making it easier to modify the search.
2007-12-10 December 20, 2007 Europe Red XN
  • News Channel: Updated to have an increased number of news feeds to the channel, sourced from a larger number of news resources and agencies.[38]
2007-12-1010 December 2007 United States Japan Europe Green tickY§
2008-05-21 May 21, 2008 United States Red XN
2008-05-08 May 8, 2008 Australia Red XN
2008-04-25 April 25, 2008 Europe Red XN
2007-12-01 December 1, 2007 Japan Green tickY
2008-05-30 May 30, 2008 Australia Europe Green tickY
2008-05-07 May 7, 2008 United States Green tickY
2007-11-27 November 27, 2007 Japan Green tickY
2007-11-12 November 12, 2007 United States Japan Europe Green tickY
2007-10-10 October 10, 2007 United States Japan Europe Red XN§
2007-08-10 August 10, 2007 United States Europe Green tickY
  • Metroid Prime 3 Preview Channel released.
    • The channel had preview videos of gameplay and had also allowed the user to view promotional artwork by moving the Wii Remote pointer across the screen while holding the "A" button.
    • As of the game's release, the features of this channel have been removed, replaced with a message suggesting that the channel should be deleted.
2007-08-06 August 6, 2007 Australia United States Japan Europe Red XN§
  • Forecast Channel: Weather forecast for the selected region will now be displayed on the Forecast Channel icon on the Wii Menu.[39]
  • News Channel: Headline news will now be displayed on the News Channel icon on the Wii Menu.[39]
  • Wii Shop Channel: Search function on Virtual Console has been enhanced.[39]
2007-04-11 April 11, 2007 United States Japan Europe Australia Green tickY
2007-02-13 February 13, 2007 Australia United States Japan Europe Green tickY
2007-01-26 January 26, 2007 United States Japan Australia Europe Red XN§
2006-12-22 December 22, 2006 United States Australia Japan Europe Green tickY
2006-12-19 December 19, 2006 Australia United States Japan Europe Red XN§

See also

Other gaming platforms from Nintendo:

Other gaming platforms from the next generation:

  • PlayStation Vita system software

Other gaming platforms from this generation:


External links

  • Wii System Menu and Feature Updates
  • Site documenting all updates during an update and how they affect homebrew and other hacks
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.