TUTORIAL - Cydia - A beginners guide to the Jailbreak App Store

Discussion in 'Jailbreaking & Hacking Tutorials & How-To Guides' started by f4780y, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. f4780y

    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the iPadForums beginners guide to Cydia - The Jailbreak App Store!

    The first thing you discover on your springboard when you jailbreak your iPad is a new icon called Cydia. This guide is intended to give you all the information you need to get started with the app and make the most of your jailbreak experience!

    [​IMG]

    What is Cydia?
    In simple terms, Cydia is the equivalent of the App Store for jailbreakers. It is the app you will use to download, install, and manage the majority of jailbreak apps and tweaks which you install on your device. Cydia does not replace the App Store. When you are jailbroken, you continue to install apps from the App store as normal. Cydia simply provides you access to everything which Apple do not allow into the app store and can only be enabled via jailbreaking.

    In more technical terms, Cydia is a native UIKit graphical front-end to APT, which folks familiar with Debian, or other flavours of Linux, may recognise as the Advanced Packaging Tool - Advanced Packaging Tool - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. APT itself is a front-end to dpkg. Confused? Don't worry. There isn't a test at the end and if you aren't interested in this stuff it really doesn't matter! :D

    Cydia was developed by Jay Freeman (Saurik) who was one of the pioneers of Apple jailbreaking and continues to play an important part in the scene today.

    Cydia Application Tabs
    Like many native apps Cydia has it's own series of tabbed pages which can be accessed via the bottom row of icons on the screen. When Cydia launches it always starts on the Cydia Tab, which is the home page...

    Cydia Tab
    Whilst the home page of Cydia certainly contains some cool things, it's not really where the action happens! However, there are a few features which we'll come back to later in the guide such as "Manage Account" and "Products". For now, here's the pretty standard home page you'll see when you launch the app...

    [​IMG]

    At the top of the Home Page, Cydia usefully shows you which SHSH Blobs it currently has saved on your behalf. If you are just launching Cydia for the very first time you may see that your SHSH request is pending, but after a short while you should see a list of all the SHSH Blobs which Cydia has saved on your behalf.

    [​IMG]

    For more details on SHSH Blobs see our sticky here - http://www.ipadforums.net/ipad-hacking/59291-shsh-blobs-faq-new-improved-2012-a.html

    You will also notice that when you launch Cydia it will refresh all of its "sources" (more on these later). The black bar at the top of the screen show the refresh progress. You should always let this process complete as this is Cydia polling all the app repositories for new and updated packages for you to install. Occasionally you will see errors, particularly around the time of the release of a new jailbreak. These errors tend to happen because one or more of the repositories which host the app packages is not responding properly due to too much traffic. It's normally best to wait a while and refresh again later. Because Cydia is just a front end there is very rarely anything wrong with Cydia itself. See the "Changes Tab" topic for more details on manually refreshing the packages in Cydia, which is useful if you receive errors when refreshing.

    Sections Tab
    When folks submit a package to any repository they can specify the "Section" in which it should be listed. Sections are just like categorisation for tweaks and apps. The problem with this being an open system is however that folks are free to create whatever sections they like and not hard and fast rules can be implemented to control the sections. So, depending on what you are using them for, they may be of limited value.

    One interesting and powerful feature of this area is often overlooked by Cydia users however, so pay attention! When viewing the "Sections" area it is possible to press the "Edit" button in the top right and hide all of the sections which you are not interested in. For example, Themes are not everybody's cup of tea, and sections like "Wallpaper" are of little or no use on the iPad (remember this platform is shared between iPad, iPhone, iPod, and AppleTV, so there is a lot of cross-pollution!).

    To hide those items from view, simply press edit and turn OFF all the sections you want hidden from view. This has a significant added benefit because it will remove all the tweaks and apps in these sections from the "Changes" tab too (see the next section), and that makes it much more manageable! :D

    [​IMG]

    It really is a worthwhile exercise when you have a spare few minutes to edit the sections and turn off the ones which are irrelevant to you. You can first click on each one (before you enter Edit mode) and you will see all of the packages in that section. If it does not look interesting, Edit and turn it OFF. You can always Edit and turn it back on again in the future.

    Changes tab
    Once you are up and running with your Jailbreak, the Changes tab is likely where you will spend most of your time... The Changes tab contains a chronological list of all the apps and tweaks which have been added or updated to all the repository sources to which you subscribe (more on that later). Once Cydia has completed its package refresh upon startup, you will find all the new packages laid out in a list. If there is an update to something you already have installed in Cydia a badge will be shown on the Changes tab icon and the packages with updates will be prioritised at the top of the list of changes... If you do have packages installed which have an update available, you can press the "Upgrade" button on the top right to add them to your queue (see the Installing Packages topic for more details).

    [​IMG]

    Remember, if you are seeing a lot of things in here which you consider irrelevant, e.g. Boot Logos, you can use the trick I described for editing "Sections" in the previous topic to weed out the rubbish. If you want to know what Section a package belongs to, click on it and look for the Section panel which is shown near the top. That will tell you which one you need to turn off to remove the package from sight! :)

    Cydia contains both free applications, tweaks, and add-ons as well as paid ones, just like the App Store. The PAID packages are always shown in BLUE.
    Regardless of whether a package is free or paid, if you want to check the details, you simply touch the item in the list to see its detail page...

    [​IMG]

    I can't stress enough how useful these pages can be. You really need to pay attention to the details that are presented! Yes, the pages often contain adverts, but hey, welcome to the internet. Remember, this is an open software distribution solution. The repositories which host the packages are usually not affiliated with Cydia at all. The Cydia home page only advertises Cydia products. The repository sources are separate entities and to pay for the server and bandwidth costs they use advertising to raise revenue. Ads are a small price to pay for the service IMHO.

    The details page has the potential to contain a wealth of rich information relating to the package you are viewing. This can include a detailed description, compatibility information, screenshots, recent changes, etc. It pays to read the details! The only downside of this is again, because it is an open software distribution system, nothing forces the author of the package to get the details right, or even provide them at all! You will find that well established and modern packages tend to have good reliable details, but with older stuff it can be a bit hit and miss :(
    What you are looking for when you review the details is primarily some assurance that the package is designed for your device and the version of IOS you are running at the moment. If the package does not mention the iPad anywhere on it's detail page you should be very cautions about installing it. Many a well configured device has had to be restored over the years because of installing an old incompatible tweak by mistake!

    If the package has been put together well by the developer and it is compatible, you will hopefully see something like this...

    [​IMG]

    If the package is not for your device or version of IOS, you may see warnings such as these...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You do need to take care with these warnings. Some of them are not set as true restrictions and may only be a text warning. Cydia may still let you install them if it has not been set as a true restriction. Be careful and always double check!

    The changes section also has a rather useful "Refresh" button at the top left. If you press this all your Cydia sources (see below) will be refreshed. In other words you will see any changes, updates, or new packages from all the sources you subscribe to in the "Changes" list. The manual refresh can be very useful if you receive an error from a repo on the initial refresh after loading Cydia. If you think this was just a temporary problem, press "Refresh" and see if it completes normally this time. Just be aware, around the time of a new jailbreak release it is not unusual for most repositories to be buckled under the stress of millions of Cydia users refreshing their packages over and over. It can take several days for the traffic to reach manageable levels again. There is nothing you can do but be patient... :)

    continues on post 2...
     
  2. f4780y

    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    continued from post 1...

    Installed Tab
    The "Installed" tab does exactly what you would expect. It is a list of all the packages which are installed on your device. This is the place you come to when you need to 1) double check something is installed (perhaps to see the version number), and 2) to remove a package from your device. You get a nice alphabetically sorted list of packages with a quick navigation control down the right hand side...

    [​IMG]

    You are also able to switch between "Simple" and "Expert" modes on this screen. "Simple" is the normal choice for most folks (including me!). If you turn on "Expert" you get to see the supporting packages which are installed on your device. These packages are essential to support the other apps and tweaks you have installed in most cases, so you shouldn't go messing with them. But once in expert mode, you do have access to more stuff. Particular useful for developers or those that are obsessed with working on the command line! :D

    A word of warning. Don't go removing stuff you don't recognise just because you think you are saving space or releasing memory. Most stuff that comes installed is there for a reason. By all means, remove apps and tweaks you no longer want, but take care removing stuff which you don't think you installed, especially if you turn Expert mode on! If in doubt, leave it alone!

    We cover uninstallation of packages in the topic below titled "Removing Packages".

    Sources Tab
    This area of Cydia is where you can explore the power of an full open software distribution solution! All Cydia really does is poll each of the sources you have listed in this section for their updated package list each time it starts (or each time you refresh). Cydia comes with all the sources you need to get started built in, but from time to time you may come across an application or tweak which is hosted in another repository. You can add these repositories in the "Sources" area. You can also remove sources from here (removing a source does not remove the packages you may have installed from a repository, so it's best to remove packages first, before removing the source). You can also use the Sources tab to look at the packages which are hosted in each repository source. Simply click on the repo name to see the alphabetical list of packages it contains. This feature isn't very useful for the standard sources since they contain thousands of packages each, but it can be invaluable for sources you add yourself which will likely contain fewer packages.

    A repo source is nothing more than a URL to the repo on the internet. To add a new one, press the Edit button in the top right of the screen and then press Add on the top left. You will be presented with a dialogue box where you can add the name of your new repo...

    [​IMG]

    If the URL you entered is valid, Cydia will then go about refreshing all of its sources again to pull in the new package information. Once it's finished you'r screen should look something like this...

    [​IMG]

    You can then either click on the new repo name to see the packages it is hosting, or you can find them as normal with everything else in the Sections, Changes, or you can find packages in the Search tab (see below).

    To remove a source from your system, simply press the Edit button and then remove the repo from the list by using the "minus" key or sliding left and pressing the "Delete" button which appears. Just be careful not to remove the in-build repos unless you are absolutely SURE of what you are doing. Most of them contain really useful and important stuff!

    The final bit of interest in the Sources tab is the "Settings" button which is shown on the top left. This bring up a dialogue box which is also shown the very first time you initialise Cydia. It allows you to tailor the level of detail you see in terms of packages. "User" really is a suitable selection for most folks. By all means have a look at the others, but as I said before, don't go removing any unusual packages you see as a result of this unless you are sure of what you are doing and why! ;)

    Search Tab
    Along at the end of the screen is the other tab where you'll likely spend a lot of time. Search does exactly that. It allows you to search all the packages hosted in the repo. Jay Freeman has done an amazing job on the searching, despite a lot of folks thinking it is slow and inaccurate. I can tell you, based on what it is actually doing under the covers, the whole search solution is a work of art. Now the brown-nosing is out of the way, you can get to searching.

    Searching works as follows...
    As you start to type a search string in the search panel at the top of the page, the list of Cydia packages with a TITLE which starts with the string you are typing gets refined. This is excellent if you know how a package has been named. Below you will see what happens as I start to search for "displ". You can see the list gets refined down to 2 packages. Display Recorder and DisplayOut (Both by Ryan Petrich and both to be highly recommended! :D).

    [​IMG]

    But if you press the "Search" key on the keyboard (return), then the magic starts to happen. Cydia will perform a deeper search for the characters "displ", picking up matches from within the title and also the package descriptions. Below is the list I see when I press the "Search" button on my device.

    [​IMG]

    So, if the package I wanted was actually "iDisplay", but I didn't know I wanted it, then the full search allows me to find it by knowing part of the title or description.

    If I perform a full search on the term "tethering" for example, you see a complete list of tethering related packages...

    [​IMG]

    Just like google, you should get used to searching for things in Cydia as a matter of habit. If you want an app to dim the screen, search for "screen dimmer". You may be surprised by the results :D

    It is useful to note at this stage that the results list, just like the lists we have seen on other pages, contains not only the opening description of the package but also the name of the repository source on which it is hosted and the section in Cydia in which it is listed (shown in brackets after the name of the repo).

    Purchasing in Cydia
    Remember, jailbreaking is not about getting paid apps for free. Many of the really worthwhile jailbreak apps and tweaks took significant time and effort to develop, so in some cases they cost you money! Paid packages can always be identified in Cydia lists because they are shown with blue text. To find out how much a paid package costs, click on it to open it's detail page.
    When you open a paid packages detail page Cydia will check your purchase history. Just like the Apple App Store, once you purchase a package on Cydia it belongs to you for life. You can re-download it any time in the future for free. If you don't already own the package, you will be shown the purchase price and the button on the top right of the page will turn to a "Purchase" button. In this example, you can see that the "Firewall iP" package will cost me $4.49...

    [​IMG]

    To purchase it, you press the "Purchase" button. If this package is not what you want you press the return navigation button on the top left which will take you back to the previous package list.

    Once you decide to purchase a package you must first Authenticate yourself with Cydia. You can either use a Facebook account or Google account for authentication (not the same as a payment method which comes next). You should use a consistent ID with Cydia when you purchase apps, just like you should use a consistent Apple ID with the App Store. It just makes things easier. Next you get to choose how to pay for the package...

    [​IMG]

    The two payment methods supported by Cydia are Amazon and PayPal. With Amazon you have the added ability to keep your payment information on file to simplify the process next time. You should consider Cydia payments just a safe as any other website using Amazon or PayPal payments. I've been purchasing through Cydia since the Cydia Store opened and never once had a problem. YMMV of course, and I can't give any personal guarantees! :)

    [​IMG]

    Once you complete your purchase, and you return to the package detail screen the "Purchase" button will have turned into an "Install" button (if not, navigate away from the page and then open the package detail page again. It should then refresh). This example show what I have purchased the Multifl0w package and can now install it! YAY!
    The next topic covers installing a package.

    [​IMG]

    Installing Packages and the Install Queue
    Installing packages couldn't be easier. Just open the package detail page on any app, if it is a paid app, make sure you have paid for it!, and then press the "Install" button on the top right of the screen. A dialogue box will pop up which will contain your package queue. If all you want to do is install that one package, just press "Confirm" and Cydia will do the rest...

    [​IMG]

    If you made a mistake, press the "Cancel" button and your install queue will be cleared. But the really neat option is you can press the "Continue Queueing" button in the middle of the screen and the queue of action will be saved. That way you can choose more packages to install, change, or remove. The example below shows a queue with 2 package installations and one removal (an example only, don't try and install those 2 packages on an iPad!), along with the total size of the packages to be downloaded.

    [​IMG]

    Packages may also have dependencies associated with them, so don't be shocked if Cydia adds additional things to the queue because you have chosen to install something. If the developer declares a dependency on the package, Cydia will do it's best to honour it.

    If you have items in your Queue you will see the "Installed" tab icon gets a "Q'd" badge and the top left button on that page will turn into a "Queue" button. Press that to bring up the queue again! You can see all those elements on this screen...

    [​IMG]

    Cydia also understands whether you device needs to be resprung or rebooted after installation. When the package queue has been processed, you will get one of 3 options:
    1. Return to Cydia
    2. Respring Device
    3. Reboot Device
    You don't have any choice with these. You just need to press the button and carry on accordingly... :)

    Removing / Uninstalling Packages
    Filling your device with tweaks and apps always seems like a good idea, but if you go overboard there can be consequences! Just like any PC, if you install too much stuff you may start to notice a degradation in performance. Also, from time to time, you may install a package which is not compatible or does not work well on the iPad. You need to get it removed quickly!

    Removing packages is simple in Cydia. Find the package you want to remove, either by using the "Installed Tab" or "Search" and open it's detail page by clicking on the package. In the top right you will see a "Modify" button. Press this and then choose "Remove" from the pop-up menu as seen below...
    [​IMG]
    This will add the package to the queue for removal. If you don't intend to queue any more packages for installation or removal, simply press "Confirm" and Cydia will remove the package from your device. Presto!

    As you can see, there is also a "Reinstall' option here. This can be useful if say, for example, you have deleted part of a theme using iFile and want to reinstall it from the original source.

    Manage Account
    We've now covered all of the core features of Cydia, but back on the Cydia Tab there is a nice little link called "Manage Account".

    [​IMG]

    This is a nice little area where you can see all the paid packages you own (Cydia does not track the free packages you install, unlike the App Store). Simply log in with your authentication details (the same ones you used to purchase the packages) and you'll get a landing page with one useful link - "Purchased Packages". That's the list of stuff you own... Neat!

    [​IMG]

    Feel free to explore the rest of the links on the Cydia home tab. You may find some little gems of your own (Try the "Themes >" link Hint! Hint!)

    Other interesting Cydia information
    When Cydia is running it disables all Mobile Substrate based tweaks (so most tweaks on your device). That's why, when you are in Cydia, any themes or keyboard tweaks you have installed don't appear to work any more. This is a safety precaution. Cydia does not know what tweaks or apps you may be installing, uninstalling, or updating during your session. Disabling everything is the safest way of ensuring stuff gets updated properly.

    Hope you enjoyed the post. If you have any ideas on other areas of Cydia to cover or if you have any questions, please reply!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
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  3. Mickey330

    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    Very nice, Leigh! A definitive guide, for sure.

    Didn't know about the Edit button to remove items from the Sections tab. Very cool way to "clean up" my JB'd device.

    This is very informative and most appreciated. Thanks.

    Marilyn
     
  4. mkucuksari

    mkucuksari iPF Noob

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    One more very nice guide. Thanks for sharing with us.
     
  5. nammi

    nammi iPad Fan

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    just when we thought that learning from doing was enough .. then this tutorial came up .. thank you for sharing it
     
  6. purplezz

    purplezz iPF Noob

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    Wow.... very graphic presentation. Thank you for taking the time to explain this issue. It seems yall are very against Ipad App stealing :D No Pirates!
     
  7. Favleey

    Favleey iPF Noob

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    hi all!
    I have a question about safety (looked around a bit on the forums and couldn't find an answer.) Is jailbraking safe for your data? I'm thinking, can't developers of jailbreaks and/ or of the apps that you install from Cydia use them to steal your personal data? Because I kinda have a feeling they might, but on the other hand so many people are jailbreaking...

    Will appreciate some info on this.:)
    Thanks.
     
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  8. Redneck_Randy

    Redneck_Randy iPad Enthusiast

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    Favleey,

    Very good question. I will be following this thread to see what others have to say about this.
     
  9. Matthew12

    Matthew12 iPF Noob

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    What is the easiest way to install Cydia for ipad1?
     
  10. f4780y

    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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  11. amerwahid

    amerwahid iPF Novice

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    is it important or must to install mobile terminal on iDevices and change the password to preventing the hackers.. i already jailbreak my iPad and iPhone should i install or no need to install mobile terminal. makes me confuse after jailbreaking.
     
  12. f4780y

    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If you use OpenSSH then it is good practice to change your SSH password from the default. It is up to you as to whether you think the risks are significant enough to do this. If you connect your device regularly to public wifi and have SSH running then you could perceive there is a significant risk. If you never normally do this, then the risk is minimal since the chance of a personal attack is very small indeed. It depends how averse you are to risk! The recommendation is to change the password :D

    Also worth noting you can use any SSH client to change your password, not just mobile terminal. See our guide here for some more info - http://www.ipadforums.net/jailbreaking-hacking-tutorials-how-guides/28213-how-use-secure-shell-ssh-ipad.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  13. regret

    regret iPF Noob

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    Dear OP, first of all a big big big big thanks to you ..... you're so frigin awesome and I loved all your tutorials and guides which are perfect for Apple newbie like me ... Can't believe I have successfully jb-ed my iPad less than a week since I bought it :p Anyway I have a question here for you ...

    I understand under the installed tab, there will be alot of "pre-installed" apps which I shouldn't mess with ... like you said, if I've not heard of it, I probably shouldn't delete it ... so my question is what about updating it ? I believe it's in the change tab or something right ? Currently there is 1 notification for me saying that 1 of the apps has an update and I do not recognize it .. so I assume it's one of those pre-installed apps ... it should be safe for me to update it yeah ?
     
  14. LiviutzuAs

    LiviutzuAs iPF Noob

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    is a tutorial about how to install cydia on ios 5.1.1 ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2012
  15. f4780y

    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sorry, you cannot promote external links to your own tutorials on your own forum, as per our rules! We have plenty of tutorials here, thanks very much ;)

    Jailbreaking & Hacking Tutorials & How-To Guides
     

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