Cydia Tips and Tricks
After several years of jailbreaking iPhones (and helping others jailbreak their devices), I’ve come to realize that Cydia—the third party app store that circumvents Apple’s lockdown on what can or can’t be installed on your iDevice—offers a lot of functionality that many users never explore (or were never aware of in the first place). Here, then, is a short list of some of Cydia’s most useful but overlooked features. Hopefully jailbreakers new and not-so-new alike will find something useful in them.
-Manage Account: Log into your Cydia account from the Cydia homepage with the Google or Facebook ID you used to buy your apps, and you’ll find a list of Installable Purchases—apps you have already paid for that may be available to install on a second device (e.g. an iPad) or a newer device (e.g. after an upgrade). Some developers may limit how many devices can share a single license, so you may want to check with them before installing a paid app on more than one device.
-Edit Sections: Tired of scrolling through all those Zeppelin addons? Don’t need to see every new Theme that gets released, or every new Ringtone? Go to your Sections tab and click Edit in the top right corner. You will then be able to edit the Visibility of each section, making it so Cydia shows you only those types of packages you’re interested in viewing.
-Change Package Settings/Show All Changes: Use this setting to track a package that you don’t have installed, but are interested in keeping an eye on. Maybe it’s an old favorite that won’t work until it’s updated; turning Show All Changes to ON will alert you to an available update, even if you don’t have the package installed. To find this toggle, open a package’s information page; Change Package Settings is the first tab at the top.
-Change Package Settings/Ignore Upgrades: The flip side of Show All Changes—use this setting when you’re perfectly happy with an installed package and never want it to update. Turning the Ignore Upgrades toggle to ON will keep Cydia from updating the package when you select Upgrade All to update your apps. To find this toggle, open an installed package’s information page; Change Package Settings is the first tab at the top.
-User Settings: Occasionally it may be necessary to install or uninstall an obscure package to make another app work. If you can’t seem to find it using a normal search, try changing your User profile by opening your Manage tab, and then tapping Settings in the upper left corner. Cydia will then present three options: User, which will show Apps, Tweaks, and Themes; Hacker, which will add Command Line tools; and Developer, which will reveal everything Cydia has to offer, even the “scary internal stuff.” Most users are just that—Users—and once you do any tweaking you can easily switch your profile back to User if you’d like.
-Back up your .deb files: The packages you install via Cydia are actually Debian packages (aka .deb files), and it can be very useful to back these up during the installation process—if an update breaks a favorite app, having the .deb of the older version will mean you can delete the update and reinstall the older version. However, you only have a small window in which to save your .deb files—they are deleted during the installation process. To save yours, follow these steps: 1) Access your device from your computer using iPhonebrowser or another file utility that gives you root access to your device; 2) Download a package from Cydia, but don’t reboot or restart your springboard; 3) On your computer, open this directory on your device: /private/var/cache/apt/archives and you’ll find the .deb package waiting. Save it to your computer, and then finish your installation by respringing/rebooting.
-Reinstall an old .deb file: The flip side of the above process. Say you have an older .deb you saved and now want to reinstall. To do so, all you need to do is drag the .deb into this directory: /var/root/Media/Cydia/AutoInstall and then reboot your device. (If you do not have the Cydia and AutoInstall folders in your Media folder, simply create them—but be sure to follow the capitalization as written here, as the path is case-sensitive.) After rebooting, the package will be installed and will appear in your Cydia>Manage>Packages list like any other installed package.
Hope that helps someone out there!