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 feature that let users buy apps 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 may cease operations entirely.

Cydia is an alternative App Store that offers apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that aren’t available in the official App Store. Apps offered in Cydia sometimes 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.

What Do I Need to Use It?

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

Where Do I Download It?

The process of jailbreaking your device will often include installation of, or the option to install, Cydia.

What Kind of Apps Does Cydia Have?

Apps available in Cydia vary widely and in some cases perform system-level tasks unavailable to apps approved for Apple's 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.

What Do Cydia Apps Cost?

As 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.

Can I Pay For Cydia Apps With My iTunes Account?

No. Your iTunes account only works for buying things through iTunes. To buy apps through Cydia, you can use PayPal, Amazon Payments, or with some tools, a credit card.

Are Cydia Apps Safe?

One of the ways that Apple touts its App Store is by stressing the review of apps for bad coding or malicious behavior. Cydia doesn’t offer this kind of in-depth vetting of apps before they are offered 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 (theoretically) ensures some level of quality.

Given this nuance, you install apps from Cydia your own risk and that Apple may not provide support to you as a result of problems generated by apps from Cydia. In particular, Apple has not supported jailbroken devices, 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 in the way the App Store is. When you download apps from Cydia, the download doesn't come from Cydia servers, but rather from storage provided by the creator of that app.