Most of us have heard the terms “Jailbreak” and “Cydia” many times but not everyone knows what they mean. Users who have just switched to iOS may be wondering why they can’t get the same theme as their friend or why their iPhone won’t do the things that someone else’s phone or iPad does. Everyone has the option of customizing their iPhone or iPad; it isn’t something that just the select few can do. How do we do this? Read on to find out all you need to know.
What is Cydia ?
Cydia is the jailbreak equivalent of the iOS app store, a place to get all the apps, tweaks and themes that you can use to customize your iOS device. It was created by Saurik, otherwise known as Jay Freeman, and it is home to thousands upon thousands of different options; it is the only place that a jailbreaker can get their apps and tweaks from.
How Do I Get Cydia ?
There is only one way to Download Cydia and that is by jailbreaking your iOS device. Right now, we have three active jailbreak teams, and you can find more news about each one at the link above , including full instructions on how to use their jailbreaks.
What is Jailbreaking ?
Jailbreaking is a process of using a small piece of software to break through the security chains that Apple wraps the iOS up in. This removes the restrictions that Apple has in place and allows us to access the root system, thus allowing us to modify our devices.
Image : Pangu app on Windows
The jailbreak software is built using vulnerabilities in the operating system, missing links in the security chains if you like. While Apple continually releases updates that reattach those links, in many cases they break another one so, while they may have blocked off access to the jailbreak, the teams simply move on and find another missing link to get through. It can take some time to do this and there isn’t a jailbreak for every version of the iOS.
Is Cydia Safe to Use ?
In the beginning , Cydia was not considered very safe but, over time, things have improved. However, like anything, you do take your chances. With the iOS app store, the apps are tested and approved or denied access by Apple; with Cydia that doesn’t happen so you are taking a chance on downloading malicious software.
Image : Cydia Interface
The only advice we can give you is to stay vigilant. Only download apps from the default repositories (where the apps are stored) or from those that you trust to reduce your chances of picking up anything nasty.
Image : Apps List on Cydia for download
The other issues that you may come across is compatibility. Not all of the tweaks will work together and may cause problems, which could result in you having to restore your iPhone.
What are Cydia Repositories ?
Image : Added repositories on Cydia for downloading more app from these sources
Repositories are like storage boxes, each one holding a number of different apps or tweaks. You can add new repo sources (if you trust them), which will give you access to new tweaks. We would advise that, for a newbie to jailbreaking, you stick with the default ones that are included with Cydia. Some of these apps are free; some charge a little to cover their costs.
Important Links for Cydia Users :
Now you know what Cydia is and how it works, you can see why you would want to install it on your iOS device. Much as Apple works hard to bring us new features, they won’t give us what jailbreaking does and never will.