Computers, Laptops & Tablets Apple What Is Cydia and What Does It Do? You aren't necessarily bound to Apple's App Store by Daniel Nations Writer Daniel Nations has been a tech journalist since 1994. His work has appeared in Computer Currents, The Examiner, The Spruce, and other publications. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Daniel Nations Updated on January 20, 2020 Ekachai Lohacamonchai / EyeEm / Getty Images Apple iPad Macs Tweet Share Email One interesting Android feature is the multiple places you can get apps, which include Google Play, the Amazon App Store, and Samsung's Galaxy Store. If you have an iPad or iPhone, you typically have one app store you can use: Apple's. But other options are available under certain conditions. melenita2012 - Flickr What Is Cydia? Cydia is the most popular alternative to the App Store, and like all third-party app stores for iOS, it is only available for jailbroken devices. Many of the apps available on Cydia are those who could not pass through the approval process of the official App Store. For example, Apple doesn't allow programs that replicate functionality already found on the device or uses them in ways that might damage the device, like one that uses 3D Touch to convert an iPhone into a kitchen scale. Cydia contains apps that you can't find on the App Store. One of its more popular offerings switches Bluetooth on or off so you can get to it quickly without searching through settings or pulling up the iPad's control panel. This app can't pass Apple's approval process because it replicates a feature that already exists. What Does 'Jailbroken' Mean? The iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch have app-authenticating certificates that tie them to the App Store. In essence, each app has a seal of approval from Apple, and they require these permissions to actually run on the device. "Jailbreaking" a device removes this requirement, allowing the device to run any app. Is There Malware on Cydia? The downside of having an open app store is the ability for developers to upload malicious apps. While it is possible for malware to slip onto the official App Store, Apple has one of the most rigid processes for app approval, so it is rare. It's much easier for malware to make its way onto Cydia, so it is important for Cydia users to take steps to protect their device. Precautions include downloading apps from trusted sources, avoiding ones that don't have many reviews, and researching developers before adding their software to their devices. Are There Pirated Apps on Cydia? The basic Cydia store is not intended for piracy, but Cydia allows a user to provide additional sources for apps, which is how pirated apps can make it to the storefront. Again, it is important to understand that apps delivered in this method are not subject to an approval process, so it increases the chance of malware getting through.