All About Cydia

An alternative app store for iOS devices

While the information in this article is still useful, both Cydia and jailbreaking face an uncertain future. Cydia's app sales feature was disabled in Dec. 2018. Jailbreaking has been fading away as Apple has made the iOS more powerful and flexible, and as security holes have been patched (which makes it harder to jailbreak). With app sales gone and momentum slowing, Cydia could cease operations entirely.

Cydia is an alternative App Store that offers apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and some versions of the iPad that aren’t available in Apple's official App Store. Apps offered in Cydia may have been rejected by Apple for reasons including that they violate Apple’s terms for apps or that they compete with Apple’s own apps. Some apps available at Cydia may also allow users to do things Apple doesn’t want them to.

The app icon for Cydia
Cydia

What Do I Need to Use Cydia?

An iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, running iOS 3 or higher, that is jailbroken.

Where Do I Download Cydia?

Many jailbreaks for iOS give you the option to install Cydia as part of the process. If yours didn't, you can download the latest version of Cydia here.

What Kind of Apps Does Cydia Have?

The types of apps available in Cydia vary widely. Some perform system-level tasks that Apple blocks from apps approved for the official App Store. Some apps are intended for testing purposes only. Some developers prefer Cydia to the App Store as a matter of principle—they don't want Apple to take 30 percent of their revenue on paid apps or subscriptions.

What Do Cydia Apps Cost?

Just like in the official App Store, apps at Cydia are both free and for pay. Paid apps cost anywhere from US$0.99 to $20 or more.

Remember: For the time being, at least, Cydia's app-sales feature has been disabled.

Can I Pay For Cydia Apps With My Apple ID?

No. Your Apple ID account only works for buying things from Apple (at the App Store or iTunes, for instance). To buy apps through Cydia, you can use PayPal, Amazon Payments, or in some cases, your credit card.

Are Cydia Apps Safe?

One of the ways that Apple promotes its App Store is by stressing that it reviews apps for bad coding or malicious behavior. This is designed to protect users and promote good-quality software. Cydia doesn’t offer this kind of in-depth vetting of apps before they are available to users.

One on hand, Apple’s approval process restricts apps that may be perfectly safe, but in some way opposed to Apple’s interests. On the other, it ensures some level of quality.

Because Cydia isn't supported by Apple and its apps aren't checked before they're posted, you install apps from Cydia your own risk. That risk could include that some apps contain malware or spyware, or that Apple may not provide support to you as a result of problems caused Cydia apps, even if you're still under warranty. Apple has specifically not supported jailbroken devices in the past, on the grounds that jailbreaking voids device warranties.

Does Cydia Work Like the App Store?

In many ways, yes. But in one crucial way, it doesn't. Apple's App Store stores all the apps it sells on Apple's servers and you download them from there. Cydia, however, is more like a directory or middleman than a store. When you download apps from Cydia, the download doesn't come from Cydia servers, but rather directly from the creator of that app. That also means that redownloading apps from Cydia could be a problem, if the creator of the app no longer offers it.