What is Cydia?
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?
Where Do I Download It?
The process of jailbreaking your device will often include installation of, or the option to install, Cydia. This is true for jailbreak tools including JailbreakMe.com and blackra1n.
Cydia can also be installed via Installer.app/AppTap, another app tool available to jailbroken devices.
What Kind of Apps Does Cydia Have?
Apps available in Cydia do things unavailable through the App Store like:
- Syncing over WiFi
- Emulators for video game consoles
- Removing Apple’s restriction on iPhone/iPod touch video out to connect it to a TV
- Bypassing Apple’s ringtones editor to create your own
- Themes to customize the look of your device
- Modifying the OS’s basic interface and flow
- Downloading files directly to the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
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 via some tools, a credit card.
Are Cydia Apps Safe?
This is a murky area. 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, understand that when installing apps from Cydia, you’re doing so at your own risk and that Apple may not provide support to you as a result of problems generated by apps from Cydia.
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.