Cydia is one of the most well-known third-party app stores available for jailbroken iOS devices. But is this popular alternative app store free to use or does it charge for apps? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll take an in-depth look at Cydia to understand if it‘s free or paid.
What is Cydia?
Cydia is an alternative app store developed by Jay Freeman (also known as "saurik") specifically for jailbroken iOS devices like iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. It provides iOS users access to thousands of apps, tweaks, and themes that are not available on the official App Store due to Apple‘s restrictions.
Some key things to know about Cydia:
Cydia allows you to customize your iOS device far beyond what you can do with a non-jailbroken device. You can change themes, modify interface elements, add new features, and more.
It operates as a graphical front-end for a tool called Advanced Packaging Tool (APT). This is what allows you to easily find, install and manage additional software on your jailbroken device.
Cydia has its own repository system that hosts various apps, tweaks and packages you can browse and download. Developers can submit their software to be included in Cydia.
It provides an app store-like interface, allowing you to search for and install jailbreak apps and tweaks right on your device.
Cydia is typically automatically installed as part of the jailbreaking process. So if you jailbreak your iPhone, you‘ll get Cydia too.
Is Cydia Free to Use?
The short answer is yes, Cydia itself is completely free to use.
You can install Cydia on a jailbroken device and browse through all the available apps, tweaks and themes without paying anything. The Cydia app doesn‘t require any purchase or subscription to use its interface and access its catalog of jailbreak software.
The Cydia store and repository system is open and allows both free and paid packages. So while the platform itself is free, some specific apps or tweaks available in Cydia may require payment.
Are All Cydia Apps Free?
While Cydia itself is free, not all apps/tweaks available in Cydia are free. The apps and tweaks in Cydia work similarly to the App Store – some are free while others require payment.
Here are some key points on free vs paid Cydia apps:
A majority of packages in Cydia are free. But many advanced tweaks or feature-rich apps come at a price.
Paid Cydia apps and tweaks typically range from $0.99 up to $10 or more. The general price range is similar to paid apps on the App Store.
The developer decides if they want to charge for their Cydia app or release it for free. Cydia allows both free and paid packages.
Currently, Cydia does not support processing payments for purchased apps and tweaks. So the payment mechanism for paid Cydia apps is disabled until a new system comes online.
Even though payments are disabled, you can still download both free and paid Cydia apps. However, you won‘t be charged for installing paid apps during this period.
So in summary – you can install both free and paid Cydia apps, but the payment processing system is temporarily unavailable. Once payments are reenabled, you‘ll need to pay for premium Cydia apps and tweaks.
Top Free Cydia Apps and Tweaks
Here are some of the most popular and useful free apps and tweaks on Cydia that are worth checking out:
AppSync Unified: Allows you to install unsigned or cracked iOS apps and games. Great for accessing ++ apps.
iFile: Powerful iOS file manager and viewer that lets you browse files and folders on your device.
Activator: Set custom gestures and shortcuts to quickly perform actions like launching apps.
SwipeSelection: Enhanced text selection and editing using swipe gestures.
iCleaner: Cleans up unnecessary files to free up storage space and improve performance.
CCSettings: Adds useful toggles and sliders to the iOS Control Center.
ByeByeHUD: Disable or customize volume HUD, low battery, and other popups.
YT++: Modified YouTube app with no ads, background play, and more features.
Zeppelin: Change carrier text to custom images or logos.
NoSlowAnimations: Speed up transition and interface animations for snappier performance.
Top Paid Cydia Apps and Tweaks
Here are some of the top paid Cydia apps and tweaks that are worth checking out once payments are re-enabled:
Anchor: Keep your icons in place and prevent them from shifting.
CallBar XS: Answer calls via a banner instead of fullscreen interrupting what you‘re doing.
Eclipse Dark Mode: System-wide dark mode for apps and UI elements.
iThemer: Advanced theming engine to customize all interface elements.
Little11: iPhone X gestures and interface on earlier iPhones.
Noctis12: Dark mode and color adjustments for system apps and UI.
ReProvision: Auto-sign and install IPA files to keep jailbreak active.
Safari Plus: Block ads, disable link tracking and enhanced privacy in Safari.
ShortLook: See notifications by glancing at the screen instead of waking it.
Ultrasound: AirPlay audio from iOS to HomePod without WiFi.
So while you can‘t currently pay for these Cydia tweaks, they demonstrate the expanded capabilities a jailbreak can offer.
Is Cydia Safe to Use?
Using Cydia does come with some risks, mainly:
Increased malware risk: Jailbreaking opens up your device making it more susceptible to malware or spyware that may sneak in through untrusted apps. Stick to reputable sources.
Voided warranty: Jailbreaking voids your device‘s warranty with Apple, so you lose access to manufacturer support.
Unstable performance: Jailbreaking can sometimes lead to random crashes, freezes, battery drain and other issues.
Can‘t update iOS: You cannot update to the latest iOS version without removing the jailbreak.
However, you can use Cydia safely by taking precautions like:
Only install apps from trusted developers and reputable Cydia sources.
Perform regular device backups in case anything goes wrong.
Reset device and un-jailbreak before taking device to Apple for service.
Review app permissions and don‘t grant unnecessary access.
So while Cydia does carry risks, you can minimize issues by sticking to credible sources and apps. But loss of warranty is an unavoidable tradeoff.
If you want to expand your iOS device‘s capabilities beyond the App Store, but don‘t want to jailbreak, here are some Cydia alternatives worth checking out:
TweakBox: Offers modified apps and games similar to jailbreaking but without device modification.
AppValley: Install unofficial iOS apps and games from their app library. No jailbreak required.
BuildStore: Sign and install unsigned apps, emulators, and more. Easy to use.
AltStore: Sideload apps and tweaks using your computer. Open source and regularly updated.
Ignition: Large repository of apps, emulators, and hacked games. Available directly on-device.
iOS App Signer: Tool to install unsigned IPA app files after signing them with your Apple ID.
These Cydia alternatives offer more flexibility and customization for your stock non-jailbroken iOS device. However, the experience isn‘t as deep or integrated as a full jailbreak with Cydia access.
Cydia provides jailbroken iOS users with an extensive catalog of powerful apps, tweaks and customizations you can‘t get anywhere else. While Cydia itself is completely free, some specific apps or packages in Cydia are paid. Currently payments are disabled but should return in the future.
Use Cydia safely by sticking to trusted sources and you can unlock amazing new capabilities for your iPhone or iPad. But also be aware of the risks like malware exposure, voiding your warranty, and potential instability issues.