PkgBackup is one of the more expensive jailbreak apps that you will find on the Cydia, but you’d be hard pressed to find a developer that’s put as much continuous work into their app.

The backup solution has been on the receiving end of quite a few updates recently, so I thought it would be appropriate to visit some of PkgBackup’s most convenient features.

One of those features is the wonderful DropBox integration, which is so good it inspired me to write this love letter…

Of course there are other solutions to the issue of backups, and we’ve discussed them in detail on iDB before. But you get what you pay for, and as I’ve said, you’d be hard pressed to find a solution that’s as easy, or even half as feature rich.

PkgBackup is a great backup solution because it doesn’t just back up your jailbreak apps. It backs up all of your Cydia repo sources, all of your preference files that contain all of your system settings, and even subtleties like hidden applications.

That alone makes this app a must have in my opinion, but it doesn’t stop there. There’s an extreme (read: obsessive) amount of customization to be had with this app; that includes iCal integration, social network sharing, the whole nine yards.

If that wasn’t enough you can even schedule backups to run automatically.

All of that loveliness aside, a backup solution is pointless if it fails to store your files in a secure location. That’s what makes the newfangled DropBox integration so amazing, because not only are your files backed up, but they’re backed up in a secure and offsite location.

The beauty of it all is that restoring your files is just a couple of taps away. This really comes in handy if you’ve just restored your iPhone, and want to get it back to the exact settings you enjoyed before.

If there’s one thing I’d like to see, I do wish the developers could somehow implement the ability to backup and restore databases for SMS messages and the like, along with the ability to restore App Store Apps as well.

I’d imagine that this should be feasible with the massive amount of free space that DropBox bestows upon us all.

With iOS 4.2.1‘s jailbreak on the horizon, there’s going to be a lot of folks going through what can be a painful process — reinstalling every jailbreak app, and reverting your settings to your exact preferences.

With PkgBackup, and DropBox syncing, that monumental task, just got a lot less monumental.

PkgBackup can be purchased for $7.99 on Cydia. It’s steep, but if you’re someone who likes to tinker and frequently restores their iPhone, it can literally save you hours at a time.

Do you use PkgBackup? Do you have a similar solution to suggest? Please let us know in the comments below.

  • Paul

    I love PkgBackup and was really excited about the DropBox feature. However, anytime I try using the dropbox feature, it locks up on the “Scanning All Packages” screen, and when I reboot with the dropbox option enabled it crashes my Mobile Substrate, this is even after the update that supposedly fixed the dropbox issue. I still love the app I just can’t wait till dropbox works properly on my phone (iP4 running 4.1).

    • Interesting, have you tried disabling all of the other mobile substrate apps, and trying again? Maybe something is conflicting?

  • AppleBits

    Ha…funny you posted this. I just bought this a few days ago, saved a backup, and even emailed it to myself. A day or two later, a couple updates were posted on Cydia, I ran them, and from that point on my emails would no longer delete. They would just keep re-appearing. And my battery (iP4) was seriously draining as I watched it! It’s never had any issues. So after a couple attempts at iTunes restores, same issue. My iPad would delete the emails, and that would then tell my iPhone to remove them, so I know it wasn’t my email provider, etc. It was my phone.
    Anyway, I finally just did a TinyUmbrella restore of my SAVED SHSH for 4.1 that I’m on, re-jailbroke, and now I’ve got questions about this PkgBackup.
    Namely, because it has sooo many options of what you want to back up and what you want to restore, where do I start. I don’t honestly recall which I did first, the update that ruined my email/battery setup, or installed/backed up with PkgBackup. But I do know I did a backup telling it to backup EVERYTHING. So, if I use it to restore EVERYTHING…..am I seriously risking it putting my phone back into email/battery death mode??
    Offers? Suggestions?? lol
    (Besides the obvious…..one by one restore.) 😉

    • Hi AppleBits.

      This is one of the things that makes PkgBackup so nice in my opinion. If you backed up everything, you can choose exactly what you want to restore, and what you don’t want to restore. Can you recall the app that you installed right before the issues happened? If so, you can leave that particular app out of your restore.

      Go to your Restore Tab, and select the package that you backed up. Then click the right arrow next to Packages. From there you can choose to turn off a backup for a specific package (perhaps Tweaks in this instance). If you can remember the app in question, you can prevent this from restoring all together.

      I hope I explained that well. If not, let me know.

      • AppleBits

        Total downer, because no, I can not remember which two they were. I seem to recall they were Lib??something, and MobileSubstrate….but usually I just don’t pay too much attention. 🙁
        So it would be a total guess at this point.
        LOL – oh well, I only have about 147 apps to restore. No biggy. :P~~
        crap.

        But once I get all set up again, I’m def running another backup…when I am certain everything is perfect.
        One thing I do have, that email list it sent me. It lists everything I had from Cydia on my phone at the time. So that will be a HUGE help all by itself. 🙂
        Thanks for the speedy reply!

        *Note* My full restore is for good anyway….now I’m moving all my iTunes and sync data from my laptop to my MacBook Pro!! YES!

        Love your posts, Jeff. You rock!

    • Thank you!

      At this point I’m thinking that would be your best option. Full restore, start from scratch, and then backup when everything is just how you want it. That way you have peace of mind, and a working phone.

  • I already buy PkgBackup and always backup my Cydia Apps once a month. But i never restore it with PkgBackup because i never upgrade or restore my iOS. I’m still in 3.1.2. I’m affraid if i upgrade to 4.2 my iPhone 3G will slower to play.
    Hmm.. Should i upgrade my iOS? i Just wanna try the new PkgBackup.
    Anyone, give suggestion.
    Im sorry i cant speak english well.
    🙂

    • You have an iPhone 3G? Hmm, I definitely suggest you stay where you are at. But that’s just me. If It was me I wouldn’t upgrade the firmware. Are you in a position where you can sell it and buy a new iPhone 4, or maybe even a 3GS?

      I’m not telling you not to upgrade, I’m just saying that if it was me, I’d probably hold off. I’ve heard too many horror stories about the 3G. It’s slow enough as it is, no reason to add insult to injury.

    • topsy

      I have both iphone 3G and iphone 4. Yes before now, iphone 3G was very slow, but ios 4.2.1, I noticed the same speed as 3.2.1 Yes very serious the speed is the same now. I still use my iphone 3G and i can tell you i have never dropped it the way use to when it was 4.0 I hate 4.0 it slowed down the phone. But with this new 4.2.1, the speed is the same as it was trust me.

      • Interesting. Well Taufan, you may want to do some research then. topsy says it’s not as bad as I would have imagined.

    • Paul

      A friend of mine is running 4.1 on his 3G with the new cydia. It seems to be running fine.

  • fregatte

    I do love the application as well. Unfortunately I am struggeling with the same problems as Paul (first thread); Dropbox dos not work for me either; sucks within the scanning screen. So up to now I only can work with the adress book backup integration, which I not really like.
    So looking forward to get a working release.

  • CA. Nandakumar M

    I am using iphone 3G and OS is 4.2. Jailbreaked and unlocked. working Fine. Compared to 4.0, 4.2 is faster as my phone was in OS 3.1. No problem with iOS 4.2.1

  • Thanks for this post! It made me realize what I’d been missing with my trial *cough* (pirated) *cough* version that I hadn’t updated since downloading it. I finally made the plunge and I can’t imagine regretting it. You brought out the goodness in me!

    • Tyler,

      Awesome, I hope your experience will be as good as mine. Also for the record, I’ve reached out to the developer of PkgBackup, and they hinted that SMS Database backups may be something that we will see in a future update. Good news, and one less thing to worry about come restore time.

  • GorgonPhone

    I will pass on this cause .. i enjoy rebuilding my jailbreaked iphone when ever i restore its like a hobby for me..lol

  • Hi Jeff, Topsy, Nandakumar, Paul and ALL.
    I’ve ugrade my 3G iOS to 4.2.1 from 3.1.2.
    Yes, 4.2.1 have the same speed as 3.2.1.
    But there’s a lot of my Cydia App didn’t support for iOS4, except PkgBackup, iFile & PwnTunes. (my fav)
    Anyway, Thank you for your suggestion.
    🙂

  • Hector Lugardo

    Hello All. I have been having an issue with PkgBackup. It seems to save my packages to DropBox just fine, but everytime I open the App I get a message stating that my last backup is corrupt or inexistent!!! All of my apps are compatible with my OS (4.1) so I don’t know what the problem is. The developer is not reachable and this is frustrating!!! This app has failed me 3 times when it came time to restore and once when I got a replacement iPhone 4 because of hardware issues. Is anyone else having this problem???

  • I’ve been getting that message EVERYTIME I go to do a new backup but I haven’t had to restore yet so I don’t know if it is actually corrupt. Should we be worried?

  • fregatte

    the developer is informed about this issue and has promised that it will be solved in the next release which we can expect soon.

  • Hector

    I hope so. @Tyler, this App has failed me 4 times on restore!!!! I was performing these restores while troubleshooting network issues. Eventually I had my iphone 4 replaced and needless to say I had to manually install all packages. This defeats the purpose of paying for an App like this! I hope the issue gets resolved with the next update. I must say that the developer does update often, but it seems that with every update old issues are fixed and new ones arise. I’m starting to look at alternatives like iBye. This app is only 25% of pkgbackup cost and offer more backup options. seems more reliable as well.

  • Hector

    2 more updates since my last post, and as I stated earlier more frustrating issues!!!! This app sux, this love letter you write about is a joke. Most likely you are a friend, if not the developer himself, but this app sux. WARNING to all potential buyers, stay away from this app!!!! I’m contacting Cydia and I’m gonna get a refund. There are plenty of alternatives that are 10x more stable and cheaper than this.

  • Roger Lee

    The latest versin 4.2.4 as well 4.2.3 are both buggy. When I selected to backup to Dropbox, the process is total failure. It stucked on a “screening …..”. And I could do nothing but to delete it. I checked up my dropbox filesystem, and files had been written.

  • Roger Lee

    And now I cannot do anything about it.

    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPPPP

  • Hector

    Join the club Roger. Nothing but headaches with this App.

  • Hector

    @ Roger. When the app freezes like that just quit the app and remove it from backround if you have multuflow and backgrounder then re-open. That should help with that issue. I also have found that if a disable all backups of the Native Apps, the backup actually completes successfully without the dozens of error messages from DropBox. Now, wether this backup will work or not is totally up in the air and I’m not willing to chance it. I have had enough trouble. I actually made a list of my installed apps. So, I basically paid $8 for headaches and to manually write down my installed apps. Totally sux.

  • Rodrigo

    Hi all,
    Please help me. I receive an error when I tried to backup to dropbox. Someone help me?
    My email for more information is rodrigo.schwenck@gmail.com

    Thx

  • Hector Lugardo

    Rodrigo, everyone is having this issue. Just disable the back up of all the native apps, and try ur backup then. U shouldn’t receive any error messages. This is is buggy, and that’s an understatement. But give that a shot. Hope it helps.

  • imnotplutonium

    +1

    Just bought the app in anticipation of upgrading my device soon and it stalls every time. I ended the process and started over but it automatically asks for my dropbox account every time. I cannot even get to the settings to disable the native apps. It started out hanging on backing up the user springboard files now it just stalls on the scanning all packages bubble. I really hope for an update soon!

  • PatrickR

    I’ve been following this thread for a few days now. I’ve found that by selecting the option to go straight to a backup, instead of having to confirm each time, the backup works correctly- even with the Apple Default Apps included (my backup goes to my Dropbox account). Perhaps this will help others…

  • Dudeman

    I have the paid version and it just crashes all the time on launch. When will a stable version be released? This used to work until I got an update to it recently. Using 4.2.6

  • TG

    Hi

    Great post. I’ve used this app for a while and it’s awesome

    Quick question though. This weekend I’m going to update to 4.2.1 from 4.1, jailbreak whilst keeping baseband unchanged as per http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/2011/02/03/how-to-update-to-ios-4-2-1-and-preserve-iphone-4-1-59-00-baseband/

    I know the best thing to do is do a ‘restore as new phone’ to get a ‘fresh’ phone iOS version, but when I restore jailbreak apps etc with PKGBackup, is it best not to restore the preference files? Are there some that are best not carried over? Or some that I should definitely retsore??

    Cheers for any tips!

  • Magnet

    I have the paid version 4.2.8. It crashes on startup (also crashes with 4.2.7). Fix it already, it takes too long and want to update my OS and make a proper backup first! iOS used: 4.0

  • Hector

    I have posted in the past regarding issues with this App. SO, its only right I post of my success with the package as well. Since the 4.2.7 update I had no issues as long as I ommited the backup of native apps. I recently upgraded and jailbroke 4.2.1 and pkgbackup worked just fine!! Just updated today to 4.2.8 and was able to backup successfully, including the camera roll backup, which is all I really need since I have MobileMe. This App has come a long way and the developer constantly updates. I recommend this for anyone updating and jailbreaking 4.2.1. Saved me a ton of time. Just remember to ommit the packages that are not compatible with 4.2.1 before restoring from backup.

  • Hector

    @TG…I did not restore the Preferences files- just the apps. I did this in order to prevent any issues down the line with Apps that arent yet fully compatible with 4.2.1 and also just to get a fresh start. Of course this means that you would have to set up Apps like Activator all over again, but I think It’s better you dont load old preference files into a fresh install of OS.

  • TG

    @Hector… Many thanks for reply. I think you’re right, that’s definitely the way to go! Cheers.

  • Hector

    @TG, No Prob. Good luck.

  • Tyler

    PkgBackup sucks ASS!!!
    This is the 1st time I really needed to restore my backup from PkgBackup (although I backed-up at least once a week to be on the safe side)…
    So after updated to 4.2.1 I installed Cydia, then PkgBackup (PkgBackup can be seen in Addressbook) -> a bam: PkgBackup says “no baclup exists or backup corrupt”!!!

    Thx for nothing motherfucking PkgBackup!!!

    • Hector

      @Tyler. That’s why I use DropBox. But anyway, you can solve your problem by renaming your pkgbackup contact in AddressBook. Just rename it PKG as first name and BACKUP as the last name and pkgbackup should recognize the backup then. Also, you should consider using DropBox for future backups as it also works cross devices, in case you ever get a new phone or upgrade.

  • Hector

    There’s a bug in the new update v4.2.10. Everytime you use PkgBackup it deletes your current home screen wallpaper and replaces it with your lockscreen wallpaper. Please fix.

  • PDSF

    It sucks that people are having problems, but for the record I just today bought PkgBackup, backed up to Dropbox, restored my 3GS to iOS 4.2.1 (upgrade from 4.0.1), jailbroke and restored the backup from Dropbox. According to PkgBackup, I have 42 Cydia apps and almost all have individual settings which took a long time to figure out. PkgBackup worked almost perfectly and was extremely fast (10 seconds or less to backup and maybe 4 minutes to restore). The only things I’ve found that it didn’t restore were some Activator settings. Everything else, including app settings, was exactly as I’d left it. Of course, this was a fairly minor upgrade. I can imagine having problems doing an upgrade from iOS 3 to 4 as they are so different.

    The only confusing part was that it asks you whether to “merge” or “overwrite” some settings. I didn’t know which to do and went with “overwrite”, even though in retrospect “merge” might have been a better option. Anyway, I’m happy. It was worth every penny not to have to reinstall the apps and their settings one by one.

  • Loretta

    I’m still using PkgBackup on a 2G. Or I was until I upgraded to the newest version. Now it just crashes on launch. It’s a decent app, but I don’t like the way it messes up Categories (sbCategories) when I do a restore. One of the main reason I got it was that it took so long to restore everything and put my categories back the way I like them. The restore was very quick but the categories still needed to be recreated — backing them up is an option in PKGBackup but it didn’t work. There are solutions for the crash problem posted in several forums but none of them work either. The developer has, as far as I can determine, not support available. I know I have older hardware so I’m not going to hold my breath for a solution. And if I upgrade to an iPhone 4 I won’t be in a big hurry to put PKGBackup on it.

  • mafiijoozo

    I just updated my iPhone 4 to iOS4.3.1. Before that I did a complete backup on my Dropbox account… After the upgrade, i installed PKGBackup from Cydia, logged into my Dropbox account and what do I see??

    The piece of shit sees only around 20% of all the apps I had installed from Cydia, even if I did SEVERAL backups on Dropbox… So I am stuck once again with manually installing shit, if I can remember all of them… Useless waste of money!!

  • samwise801

    Well, that’s a bummer some of you are having problems. But I’d like to chime in that PKGBackup, which I first purchased and installed just before upgrading to 4.3.1, has now saved my ass. Twice.

    It worked perfectly is reinstalling all my Cydia apps after the 4.3.1 restore, and it even restored all my settings and preferences after iTunes was unable to do so. And just now, after installing a new package from Cydia and seeing multiple SpringBoard crashes and a loss of settings and preferences as a result, PKGBackup came to the rescue again — removing the offending app and restoring settings and preferences from PKG got my phone back to normal.

    So count me as a vote for PKGBackup working as it should, and (for now) constituting just the kind of backup solution jailbroken iPhones were waiting for.

    Thank you PKG!

  • Zero5295

    Hey running 4.2.1 firmware on iPod touch 2g mc model. Tried using this and each time it goes to back up, it crashes once it hits the ‘user springboard files.’ Why, and can it be fixed? I have a lot of stuff on my ipod and don’t want to lose it all if it crashes.

  • Greg Lightcap

    This program is the worst I’ve ever tried to use. Backed up to contacts and during restore program couldn’t find any backups, yet I can see it in contacts. So I deleted them, signed up with a Dropbox account saved backup to that, tried to restore and I get a choice of two files one in black and one red, if i select either one it says “warning there is already a file with that name, would you like to rename” no matter what i do it doesnt work, I delete one of the files and click on the other and it automatically recreates the file i deleted, the weird thing is they are not even named the same??? Well after many hours trying everything I can think of I resign to loosing $8.00.

    • Erik

      I’m getting the SAME, what were you doing wrong?

      • Greg Lightcap

        I would recommend contacting the developer if you continue having trouble, their help was really good and fast. What I learned was, the file in red font in restore is the “serial number” from your phone/device it’s not a backup file. The backup files are in black. When I click on a restore file it still said “file already exists” (which I think may be because my phone didn’t need to be backed up and my phone had all the apps in the backup, because I was just testing out the program) so I close the error box, go back to the main page and while in the restore “mode” (red buttons on bottom) i tap the little refresh button on the bottom left of the page ang the files that needed to be backed up came up, then I hit restore and it worked. I think the problems come up when you try to restore with all the files in the restore still installed on your device (to do a test run). I hope this is helpful, again I am still pretty unfamiliar with this program.

      • Erik

        Yeah that’s what I’m trying to do, make a backup, then change some data in the app, then restore to the backup. So far no luck. Just testing the app out for fun you know.

  • Greg Lightcap

    I would like to retract my last message… After a considerable amount of time I got everything to work… though I do still get some errors. My conclusion is that my problems are probably mostly due to my limited understanding. I will say the developer was very helpful and very prompt in helping me.

  • Tom Wolf

    Hi,

    My PKGbackup crashes when I first launch it as well . Reinstalled/ REbooted, same problem.

    any body have a idea?
    thanks

  • Leslie B

    IMO, PKGBACKUP is nothing but a large, expensive piece of fecal matter. Maybe it used to be a decent product, but it for iOS 7 it both sucks and blows at the same time. I’ve never seen such a badly designed and implemented backup system in entire career of over 30 years in the computer industry.

    The current version looks NOTHING like what is shown here. NOTHING!!! It’s got to be the most convoluted and irrational backup system on the planet. I have never even gotten it to work properly, after spending countless hours trying to figure it out. It hangs for no apparent reason and even crashes iOS. I wouldn’t give two cents for this piece of ****. I only wish I could get my ten bucks back!!!