[digg-me]UPDATE: The Cydia Store is now open! I invite you to read this post for more details.

If you didn’t read the title to this article in the deep voice of the movie previews guy, please go back and do so at this time, just to give you an idea of how huge this is. Now, if you’ve navigated to our blog and are reading this article, hopefully you have some idea of what Cydia and the App Store are. For those of you who don’t, I will provide a brief breakdown of each program before I list their stand out features.

Both programs offer a sizeable library of applications and games that can be downloaded directly onto the phone from virtually anywhere you can get a cell phone or wifi signal. Please no hate mail from Installer fans, as it’s obvious it has not garnered near as much support as Cydia since the iPhone was updated in firmware over the summer. But now to the main event, the Download Showdown. Who will take home the title as the Champion of iPhone applications? Let’s get it on.

You’ve seen the commercials, you’ve seen it in the world-reknowned iTunes software, heck you see the icon everytime you look at your iPhone, it’s the App Store. Riding the coat tails of success of Apple’s enormous online music store, is the online application store that has redefined software distribution for the mobile market. Never before has an online library of mobile software been so accessible, as it can be reached from any mac or pc, or from any iPhone or ipod touch with web connection.

Another reason it is so groundbreaking is the 70/30 deal it has made with iPhone platform developers. That means that Apple keeps 30% of the profit from the software sales, and gives the remaining 70% to the people that make them. On top of attracting big name software companies like EA and THQ, this 70/30 deal has made several independent companies like Tappulous and The Blimp Pilots (koi pond creators) extremely wealthy.

The App Store’s main advantages have got to be it’s stability and ease of use, two of the most important things you can find in any software.  I can’t tell you the last time my App Store crashed or froze, and its interface is about as simple as you can get. You’ll also find that most applications fall in the $0.99 – $9.99 price range, keeping purchases from breaking your bank. For the froogle audience, there is also a large FREE section of applications and games that has yet to disappoint me.

Finally, the fact that Apple, is the company behind the App store has its ups and downs. For example, Apple pre screens all apps submitted to the App Store, minimizing malicious code and low quality software epedimics. This also prevents very good software from reaching the App Store due to opinions held by Apple (see R.I.P article). Downloading is also kept very quick and simple by Apple, as typing in your iTunes password, ok’s any download, free or not. You also don’t have to jailbreak or “hack” your iPhone to access the App Store, how charming. So bottom line here is that the App Store is easy to use, extremely reliable, has a huge library of free and non-free applications, and it’s not against AT&T‘s TOS (terms of service) to access.

Now for the challenger. A product of James Freeman, or Saurik, Cydia has been around since the original jailbreaking days of Ziphone and iBrickr. Originally, Cydia stood in the shadow of the Installer application by the Dev Team, which did the exact same thing (offered 3rd party downloads). Now, thanks to its I-got-to-firmware-2.1-before-you-did attitude, Cydia is flourishing.

But these guys [devteam, Saurik, Spazio, etc.] really opened the eyes of the world to the possibilities of the iPhone, and let users unlock their iPhone’s potential with 3rd party applications, a touchy subject in the beginning of the life of the iPhone due to Apple’s lack of 3rd party support.

Enough history, how does it stack up today against the colussal App Store. Size? Nope. The size of Cydia’s library of software doesn’t hold a candle to Apple’s App Store. Price? Nope. While a majority of Cydia downloads are free, some are only trial versions that demand paypal payments to continue using them. So then why in the world would you even want Cydia? Exclusivity. Boom. Cydia is the only place to download applications like Winterboard and Cycorder, software that goes against Apple’s guidelines for App Store approval. I couldn’t have a see-through dock with a customized icon set without Cydia. I couldn’t have recorded a video of my dog doing cart wheels without Cycorder, and it’s only available through Cydia. Is VIP access to cool customizeables enough to make this underdog a Champ? Let’s review.

It seems on paper Apple’s App Store should win by a landslide. Thousands of more software titles, the technical and customer support of a Fortune 500 company, and its overall ease of use should give Apple the belt hands down. But you can’t forget about the little guy. If a firmware update prevented the downloading of Cydia or a similar program, how many users would be devastated? How many would avoid updating? If you’re like me, chances are you have App Store, Cydia, and Installer (at least the first 2) icons sitting on your springboard right now, and aren’t likely to delete any of them any time soon. I like having all 3 for the simple fact that if I read about an application and want to download, I know I am covered, and can find it in one of the 3 libraries.

It looks like a split decision here, but I am going to give the nod to Apple’s App Store for a number of reasons I already listed. Once again in an ideal world we could have a united application that would offer the best of both worlds. For now, it seems the App Store will hold the download Showdown title. Thanks for reading, this article is a treasure, so digg it!

  • Great post, Cody!

  • Peter

    great post, very interesting..
    when i look back to when i first got my iphone in july, i would visit the appstore nearly every day (especially in the top 25 section) but ever since cydia… well in all honesty, i only check the appstore every other day and usually not from my phone but rather my laptop.
    cycorder, winterboard, pdanet (better than netshare and 100% free) are apps i wouldn’t live without.

    just my 2cents.

  • Taylor

    Will apple ever allow applications like cydia or installer in the app store? Why is it that apple has not already done so since the apps in cydia and installer are what a lot of buyers want. Like the video function as well as the customization of the home screen and background.

  • M@tth&w

    Okay comparison I get, but there’s one thing I think that makes Cydia totally destroy the App Store.

    Appshare/Installous. With those downloads from Cydia, you can download every single paid App on the AppStore. So Cydia has its own library+ the App Store’s, and therefore is the pwn.

  • Peter

    I think there is ONE application that is available through Cydia that would pwn the AppStore, even though it requires 5 dollars to use after the 15 day trial, and that is MMS. Yes, that is right, MMS on iphone! The App works through GPRS and doesn’t require you to turn off 3G or wi-fi to do it and it also loads automatically the settings of your mobile operator.

  • Dana

    The main reason users like Cydia is the freedom to use a product, paid for with hard-earned money, to it’s fullest capabilities. Apple puts out the iPod and hobbles it. Why? Because they haven’t figured out ways to make extra money off of each and every aspect of the product. A message to Apple: We bought the product. Quit trying to ream us.

    ydia is a God-send, and a symbol of FREEDOM.

  • Dana

    Above comment has a typo. I meant to say “Cydia” not “ydia”.

  • akmal

    just a queistion how can i download cydia on my iphone 3g 2.2 version
    pls send me mail and if posibal link thx for

  • Daniel

    Cydia has much more than just cycorder and winterboard.
    It has lesser known “backrounder” which will let you choose to run particular applications in the backround. It’s great to use with Pandora radio, WhitePages (if you plan to look back at it without having to look up a listing again), etc.
    It has SpoofApp, which lets you call someone and type in the Caller ID that you want displayed and choose whether you want your voice to be normal or to sound like the opposite sex. Too bad you have to buy “spoof minutes” to use this app. though.
    It has Boss Prefs, which has a switch which you can use to disallow apple from deleting the application that you paid for from off your cell phone because they no longer want to support it. By the way, it seems to me that this should be brought up by EFF in court when fighting it out with Apple.

  • Daniel

    I would like to note here that there are serious potential problems with jailbreaking.
    1. Your iPhone can get “bricked” (freeze up, become stuck in a state of rebooting, and become useless) in the attempt to jailbreak the phone. If this happens, you must open iTunes, then plug your USB data cable into your computer, hold down on the iPhone’s Home button, and plug the data cable into your iphone while continuing to hold the home button. this will tell iTunes to put your iPhone into restore mode and then take you through the steps to restore it and to recover it from your last backup if you have one.
    Expect also that you will have to call AT&T to get your voice mail turned back on like you would if you got a iPhone replacement.
    Important! Once restored and recovered, if you still want to jailbreak, do not sync iPhone with iTunes before attempting jailbreak for the second time. Don’t ask me why, but it seems to make a difference.

    2. The iPhone 3G is woefully short on runtime memory and as such can barely handle one undemanding application running at one time, as it is. If you get the application “Free Memory” then you will see what I mean.
    Cydia available programs like “Backrounder” can easily cause the user to accidently run too many applications in the backround and forget to shut them down leading to application and iPhone crashes more than is “normal”.
    Other famous Cydia applications like Boss Prefs and Winterboard, also seem to be always running in the backround consuming runtime memory.

    I am angry with with Apple for giving us so little runtime memory. Just a little more would have gone a long way.

  • Headrush69

    Daniel, although used carelessly you are right but when used appropriately these apps (backgrounder) are great. As the user WE should have the option of weighing the risk/reward of using non sanctioned apps.

    M@tth&w, although you are right I think this is the bad side of Cydia and unfortunately the reason many people might chose it. IMO the goal shouldn’t be to steal $$$ from developers but to extend their options. If the users doesn’t think its worth buying, he shouldn’t buy it then. (I think the test before buy argument sounds reasonable but is usually not truthful.)

    It will be interesting if Cydia Store disallows any “hacks/apps” that allow “stealing” Cydia store apps. (I know technically its not cydia allowing it, but the added repositories, but interesting non the less.)

  • Rei

    Is it easy for app developers to sell on the Cydia store?

  • Hello Rei,

    I think it is pretty easy for a dev to have his app in the Cydia Store.

    Why don’t you contact Saurik, the creator of Cydia at http://www.saurik.com ?


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  • Serena

    How & where can I go to download & install Cydia?

  • Hello Serena,

    To download and install Cydia, your iPhone has to be jailbroken. It’s a simple tweak that takes just a few minutes. Look at this to learn how to jailbreak your iPhone: http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2009/01/30/quickpwn-2-2-1-guide-tutorial/


  • If you want to Jailbreak, Restore your Phone or iPod first.
    before that get a back-up.

  • Does anyone else have any experience with this?

  • Suharso

    I want to install mcleaner application, but i cannot find it at cydia store. why ?

  • Garry

    When i jailbroke my iphone i did the cydia mobile installation step and i have gott all the games i downloaded on my cpu put on my iphone and it shows the icons and i downloaded real ones to see if that would make them work but it says ” the application xxxx cannot be opend

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  • aamir

    hello to all users i need help to jailbreak and unlock my i phone 3g anyone can help me ?

    • Darin

      if you want to jailbreak i will do it for five dollars email me yes or no

      • aamir

        no dear thanks i manage it my self thanks for ur offer bye

  • Dan

    Is there a applcation in Cydia whereby you can downloads the AppStore applications for FREE even those which you are required to pay to download?

  • Jesse

    I was forced into a update and lost the “Jailbreak” and cydia, winterboard ect… That is the last update my iphone will ever see. The Apple company can stick it where the sun dont shine, and needs to stop holding down the little man out

  • Andy

    I just purchased Iphone 3g jailbreak, installed with Cydia. I just want to know, whether I can download applications both from AppStore and Cydia? Or I can only download crom Cydia?

    • Solomon

      You can download from both stores and use

  • saleh

    its good boost

  • Adam


  • Richo

    yes you can still download from both cydia and the appstore

  • to get gpsphone for free all you gatta do is go to sourses and add one called: http:/iromrepo.com/Cydia/gba :after that scroll down to the f section in ti and then it says FREE gpsphone you also get a lot of games

  • good work cydia mmmmmmmmmmmmm .nice.all friend no said ,,,,,, pls ashuitalian@yahoo.com

  • Emad

    I can’t use iPhone cydia

  • I have installed cydia from redsnow 0.95 and it work very well. I have ios4 5.13 firmware. I used the downloaded apps from cydia for my work at http://www.offpricefashion.com. No problem whatsoever.

  • Hejsan jag bill cydia.

  • Voicemail Forwarder is there such a thing for iphone 4?

  • Can Cydia be downloaded to the Andriod market yet? I just purchased Sprint’s Samsung Epic 4G, and was wondering if I could enjoy all the fun that you apple users are having.

  • Abouda

    I want sedia to download

  • Joey Johari

    Hi ….well I think the best is still to have your iphone jailbroken….I have my iphone3G since it was launch in singapore more than a year ago…I was getting tired with my iphone and and even thought of getting rid of it….and bought a few other brand of mobile…..when a couple of months ago I met a friend who bought a jailbroken iphone 3GS….I look up in the internet and found out everything about jailbreaking an iphone….since i already have an iphone that look like a brick….I tried jailbreaking….WOW..!!….jailbreaking really gives my iphone a new lease of live….Cydia has everything I need which I couldn’t get with apple store…..love my iphone and Ipod touch eversince but I still carry along my SE Vivaz for phone calls……A BIG THANKS to the JAILBREAKING COMMUNITY and to the Iphone downloadblog……this is where I got all the information that I need…..YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT GUYS…

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  • Sonimara Louzada e Silva

    Oi sou sonimara

  • TaniaSchnuppe

    How do you download Cydia onto your iphone? I can’t find a link