After Evasi0n, the jailbreak scene is vibrant again. In fact it’s so vibrant that I am guessing some of the users have had a heart-attack due to all the excitement around the scene. While there are millions of users who have jailbroken their devices many times before and rely heavily on Cydia and Cydia applications, there are also the newbies who are totally new to the scene.

May be you just jailbroke your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and want to know more about Cydia? Technically speaking, you learn by doing. So I’d suggest that you just dive right in and start exploring things in Cydia, like those wonderful Cydia apps. However, ironically, Cydia is not like the App Store although it’s really a store for all jailbreak apps, tweaks, themes and settings.

What is CydiaChange the look and functionality of iPhone

You can completely change the look and functionality of your iPhone!

So where do we really start? What’s Cydia? Why is it so important? And how can you really make the best use of Cydia apps?

We’ll look at those things so you can get started with all of it right away.

Five Icons in the Dock
Looking for five dock icons instead of four? Cydia (& JB) makes it possible.

What is Cydia? What is Cydia Used for?

Think of Cydia like the App Store. In the App Store, you find all the apps that Apple approves to be listed on the App Store. Cydia is pretty much the App Store for all apps, tweaks, settings and features that Apple doesn’t / wouldn’t allow on the App Store.

Most of these aren’t harmful. It’s just that Apple (following its founder, Jobs) is a control-freak. Most of the time, it’s good but not when you want to change a few things like lockscreen, dock/springboard icons, status bar designs etc.

Or better! Cydia is like Google! You can find almost all the wonderful tweaks and apps that you won’t find on the App Store, here. Yeah that should be it. Cydia is like Google for jailbreakers.

Cydia is a common term for the “Codling Moth” (worm in the apple). So you know why it’s Cydia, now!

Zeppelin changes the carrier logo
Zeppelin changes the carrier logo. Winterboard makes transparent status bar possible.

Who Created Cydia?

Of course, Jay Freeman. Or as he is better known in the JB world, Saurik.

Why Jailbreak to Get Cydia?

Well this is easy. Since Apple doesn’t let third-party apps outside the App Store to be downloaded and installed, you’ll need to jailbreak. And since Cydia specifically caters to tweaks and apps that fall under this category, you’ll need to jailbreak to get Cydia. In fact, Cydia is so much entwined with jailbreak that all jailbreak software (including Evasi0n) install Cydia by default.

Like how Google is for search, Cydia is for jailbreak. One can’t be without the other. The Cydia app store powers most of the jailbroken iDevices, letting you discover and install and manage tweaks or the various Cydia free apps.

How about hiding names from the icons
How about hiding names from the icons?

What Can I Do with Cydia? (a.k.a What will I find in Cydia?) or say what is Cydia used for?

Now, when you ask that, all I can say is, Cydia is like the door to Narnia. It just opens up an amazing world of tweaks, apps, settings, features, icons and more that you just can’t get enough of.

Themes: One of the simplest things that everyone wants to do is to be able to change the theme of their iPhones/iPads. Apple lets you change the wallpaper. That’s it. Searching in Cydia can lead you to stuff like Winterboard/Dreamboard themes: absolutely stunning collection of themes that can eat away all your time if you’re not careful!WinterboardTweaks: How about changing the carrier logo to something unique? Or changing the font? Or using custom icons? Or maybe you want to change the way the lockscreen looks and behaves?

Apps: There are tons of Cydia apps that drastically change the way your iPhone/iPad works. For instance, biteSMS changes the way you text, reply, forward or manage them. In fact, if you use biteSMS, you’ll begin to see the limitations of the stock Messages app. May be you’ll even end up shelling out the $7.99 needed to remove ads in biteSMS (like thousands of users who have fallen in love with the app).

LS Themes: This one’s my most favorite thing on Cydia. It has thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of lock-screen themes that just totally change the way your LS appears. Make the clock and camera icon disappear, change the way the slider looks (or make it disappear too), get some cool weather info on your lockscreen! Tons of possibilities.

Change look of iPhone Lockscreen
You can completely change the look of your Lockscreen

>Functionality: Remember when Apple said FaceTime was limited to Wi-Fi only? Jailbreak tweaks like FaceTime 3G broke free of that rule and allowed users to make FaceTime calls via 3G networks.. And then there are things like SBSettings, NCSettings etc. which allow you to toggle Settings from the Notification Center.NCSetting Notification CenterNow all of these are developed by third-party developers and you’d probably not find them but for Cydia. Every one of these get listed on Cydia through what is popularly called repos (repositories). And then you find them and download them.

Cydia: Repos, Sources, Status

As you begin using Cydia, you’ll need to know a few things. Like I said before, you learn by doing so don’t read this like you’re doing your exam preps. Just breeze through so you’re familiar.Cydia Repos Sources Status1). Sections: This is like a category-wise segregation of all the stuff found on Cydia. If you’re starting out and like to experiment with a few tweaks and apps from Cydia, this is where you should begin. Browse through sections and play around with few tweaks/themes/apps.

2). Search: This is the most-frequented place on Cydia as far as I know. People find cool tweaks/apps, they search here and then whoosh! Download and install. You’re going to come here almost every time you find some interesting Cydia tweak here.

3). Manage: Cydia works like this: it accesses few repositories where packages are hosted. So, if you find a tweak that isn’t on Cydia Search, you most likely need to add the correct repo where the package/tweak is hosted. That’s one important reason why people visit this section of Cydia (Sources).

Besides this, Manage can also tell you how much more space is left for installing packages, how much space has already been used up, how good your packages are doing etc. You can also install/remove packages in bunches from the package manager.

So I guess you’re ready to dive right in?

Here’s a list of awesome Cydia tweaks you can start with. You should also check out our posts on some of the must-have Cydia apps for 2013.