Cydia is a well-known name in jailbreak circles, an unofficial store packed with mods, apps, tweaks, and other unofficial content, that allow iOS users to theme their devices and have functionality that Apple doesn’t allow.
It is free to use, and all you have to do is jailbreak your device.
Here’s how it all works.
How to Download Cydia App
To get the Cydia app on your iPhone or iPad, you must jailbreak your device.
To choose which jailbreak you want to install, head to the official Cydia download page, tap a link and follow the instructions to install it to your device.
Here are a couple of popular jailbreak tools:
How to Use Cydia
- Launch Cydia from your home screen
- The home screen will show you some options, including Changes, Sources, Search, and Installed.
- Tap on Sources to add new repositories or edit ones you already have.
- Tap on Search to find apps, tweaks, and more from the repositories you added
- Click on Installed to see all the tweaks you have installed
- Tap on Changes to see updates to downloaded apps
Adding a Repository to Cydia App
- Open Cydia and tap the Sources option
- Tap Edit > Add
- Type the repository URL in the field and tap Add Source
- Cydia will install your repository
How to Download Tweaks
- Open Cydia and tap Search
- Type the name of the tweak and check that it is supported on your device/iOS firmware
- Tap Modify and then tap Install> Confirm
- Wait for the tweak to install and then tap on Restart Springboard when asked to
Deleting Tweaks From Cydia
- Open Cydia and tap on Installed
- Tap Recent and find the tweak you want to delete
- Click on it and tap Modify
- Tap Remove > Confirm
- Push Restart Springboard when asked
The name Cydia was born from the Codling Moth (Cydia Pomonella), which literally translates to “the worm in the apple.”
What Does Cydia Offer?
Cydia offers jailbreakers a ton of ways to modify their devices:
- Themes – very popular, allow you tons of choices in how your device looks
- Tweaks – another popular option, these allow you to change how your device looks – change the lock screen, fonts, icons, battery indicator, and more
- Apps – change how your device functions – get a new app, more functional app switcher, change your messaging apps, change your icon layout and add more to the lock screen, and so on
- Lock Screen Themes – one of the more popular types of themes, these offer additional functionality, allowing you to decide what shows up on your lock screen
Cydia offers way more functionality than Apple allows. FaceTime is an excellent example – on older versions of the iOS, Apple only allowed it to work on Wi-Fi.
But, with Cydia tweak that makes your apps think they are working on Wi-Fi, you can easily use it on your data plan.
Really, whatever you can think of that you want to do on your device, Cydia will have an app or tweak for it.
In short, you can unlock most of the restrictions that Apple places on your device and apps and do pretty much what you want with a device you paid for and own.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although Cydia is a well-known name, newbies to the jailbreak scene ask a lot of questions about it, and these are the more popular ones:
What Is Cydia App?
It is an unofficial store that you can only get by jailbreaking your device.
It offers plenty of themes, tweaks, apps, unofficial content, and lots more, mostly for free.
Who Created It?
Jay Freeman, better known as Saurik, created Cydia and released it in 2008 when the first iPhone made its debut.
It was touted as an alternative to Apple’s first attempt at an app store called Install. app.
By 2011 it was the most popular unofficial app store of all time and still is, with well over four million users per month.
Why Should I Download Cydia App?
Because of all the benefits it offers, benefits you can only get by jailbreaking your device:
- Change how your device looks with tweaks and themes
- Add functionality and features to existing features with tweaks and apps
- Add extra functions to your stock apps with a series of tweaks
- Download lots of unofficial content you can’t get from the official store
- Choose from thousands of ringtones, themes, wallpapers and more that Apple won’t allow you to have.
Do I Need to Jailbreak to Install Cydia App?
Yes, you do. Cydia relies on root access to the iOS firmware, and this can only be obtained by installing one of the many jailbreaks on offer.
Is It Free?
Yes, completely free to download and install, no matter which jailbreak tool you use.
Is It Safe?
Yes, Cydia is safe so long as you only use the preinstalled sources for your apps or install only reputable sources.
Be aware that many third-party repositories may contain malware.
What Are the Benefits of Jailbreaking?
When you install a jailbreak, you install Cydia, which offers you a fantastic choice of tweaks, apps, mods, and more.
These allow you to bypass Apple’s restrictions, so you can do what you want with your device and get it working in the way you want it to.
Apple does not authorize any of these tweaks, but you can use them because the act of jailbreaking gets you past the restrictions.
You can change how your device looks, how some parts o fit works, add new functions to stock apps, and more.
Is It Legal?
In some places, yes.
The Library of Congress ruled jailbreaking legal in 2012 in the USA, and many other countries have followed suit.
Are the Tweaks Free?
Most are, yes.
However, there are some that are not and, while most of these are only a dollar or so to purchase, there are some that are more expensive.
Still, you do have the choice, and there are plenty of free ones you can use.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that the developers have freely given their time and expertise and may put a Donation option on their website, although donating is optional.
What About Cydia App Alternatives?
There are lots of alternative options that don’t require you to jailbreak.
However, while options like TutuApp and Panda Helper are great alternatives, they do not provide the same experience.
Because there is no jailbreak, there is no root access, which means many tweaks will not work.
What Is a Repository?
A repository is a storage space where apps, tweaks, mods, themes, and more are stored.
Cydia has several preinstalled repositories, but you can add others if you want them.
How Do I Remove Cydia App?
Deleting Cydia can be done in two ways.
Using iTunes to restore your device to the latest iOS version or using Cydia Impactor to delete Cydia while retaining your current iOS version.
The latter option leaves you free to jailbreak again should you want to.
Cydia is as popular now as it always has been so, go ahead, jailbreak your device and enjoy all the unofficial app store has to offer.
Petr is a serial tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Apro Software, a machine learning company. Whenever he’s not blogging about technology for itechgyan.com or softwarebattle.com, Petr enjoys playing sports and going to the movies. He’s also deeply interested in mediation, Buddhism and biohacking.