Grand Theft Auto On iTunes Warning – *NOT* for First Gen iPod Touch

Grand Theft Auto On iTunes Warning - *NOT* for First Gen iPod Touch

So I was terribly excited the other day when the best DS & PSP game of 2009 – Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars – landed on the App Store. I said then that I was ‘just getting started’, which actually meant that I had bought it and it was downloaded but I hadn’t had time to install or start playing. Sadly, that night I discovered that I was not going to be able to play the game – because I own a first-generation iPod Touch.

Looking closer at the image above you will find the compatibility details:

Grand Theft Auto On iTunes Warning - *NOT* for First Gen iPod Touch

Which show that a 2nd gen iPod Touch is the minimum a well as OS 3.1. While I had the right OS, I didn’t have a second gen Touch – and nothing from my two complete run-throughs of the game indicated any special hardware requirements. So I figured I would just be out of luck … but decided to search online to see why it was restricted.

What I found was a forum thread at TouchArcade that described a process that can circumvent the hardware requirement using the file you already bought. The initial post contains information related to doing this on Windows, but the process is basically the same on the Mac:

  • There is no requirement to have done a Jailbreak to do this process – my Touch is standard issue, with fully updated OS.
  • Make sure you have a utility that handles ‘Zip’ files – WinRAR or WinZip for Windows or Stuffit Expander for Mac are good choices.
  • Navigate to the ‘Mobile Applications’ folder in your iTunes folder (generally under My Documents \ My Music \ in Windows, ~user/music/ on the Mac)
  • Find the GTACW.ipa file and drag it to your desktop.
  • Go into iTunes and make sure to delete GTA: Chinatown Wars from your Applications list.
  • Re-sync your iPod Touch and then disconnect.
  • Use your Zip tool top open the ‘.ipa’ file
  • Inside the new folder there will be a folder names ‘Payload’. Open this and look for the file “” – that is the actual game.
  • Drag & drop to iTunes – it should come up with a ‘Processing File’ progress window.
  • Make sure that you see the game listed in your applications list.
  • Re-sync your iPod Touch and the game should be there!I had two issues: first off the game didn’t get set to load to my Touch as normally happens when I buy games, so I had to manually check it off. Then it failed to install with a random numeric error I’d never seen.So I removed the game and repeated the last few steps, and then it worked great – and the game plays wonderfully! The controls are taking some getting used to, but the visuals look nice and the game is supposedly the entire content from the handheld release!

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!