The jailbreak community has been churning out iPhone apps since before the App Store existed. Some of those apps even served as – ahem – "inspiration" for Apple-made iOS features (Wi-Fi Sync and MobileNotifier come to mind). But as much as iOS has evolved, Cydia is still a hotbed of innovation. Which of its apps stand out? Let's take a look at the all-time best jailbreak apps.
Before you can install any of these apps and tweaks, you’ll need to jailbreak your iDevice. If you haven't done so yet, check out our guide for jailbreaking any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on iOS 7.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the all-time best jailbreak apps in Cydia.
Many jailbreak developers have tried to reinvent iOS multitasking, but Auxo stands out as the one Apple is most likely to copy.
Auxo's killer feature is its multitasking cards, which show live previews of open apps. But it's the tiny details (settings toggles, multitouch swipe-to-dismiss, expanded music controls) that make it an all-time great.
Tired of always pressing and double-tapping your iPhone’s home button? Zephyr will replace it with a series of intuitive gestures.
After installing Zephyr, a short swipe up from the bottom of the screen will bring up the multitasking switcher. A longer swipe up will close your current app. Swipe from the left to return to your most recent app.
Fed up with your wireless carrier's tethering policy? TetherMe lets you activate your iPhone's personal hotspot without adding a separate plan.
TetherMe claims to be undetectable by carriers, but use at your own risk. No tethering app is guaranteed to be 100 percent stealthy, and using it likely violates your wireless agreement.
Two apps, with one goal: to enhance iOS messaging. Both BiteSMS and Messages+ let you quick-reply to a text without leaving the app you're in, or assign a gesture to compose a new message from anywhere in iOS.
BiteSMS has been around longer, and offers theming and tons of customization. Messages+ is more streamlined, and integrated into the stock Messages app. It's worth checking out both to find your favorite.
Typing on an iPad isn't ideal, but it's tolerable. Editing text, though, is a pain. SwipeSelection improves it dramatically: slide across the keyboard to move the cursor, and slide from either shift key to select text.
Tired of having multiple iMessage threads for the same person? Merge combines all of your conversations for each contact into a single thread.
It's another Cydia app that Apple would be wise to emulate.
Sparrow, one of the best third-party email clients on iOS, doesn't support push notifications. Sparrow+ changes that, while also giving the app an iPad layout and letting you set it as your default email client.
How could we not include SBSettings? This classic jailbreak tweak gives you a quick drop-down menu for a variety of system toggles. You can customize it, theme it, and even view it in Notification Center.
iFile, a full-fledged iOS file manager, sits next to SBSettings in the pantheon of all-time great Cydia apps. It gives you complete control over your device, at root level.
Copy, paste, rename, change permissions ... iFile hits all the marks you'd want a file manager to hit. Unless you're familiar with the iOS file structure, though, we'd recommend using with caution.
If you don't use the iOS Newsstand app, you might want to hide its icon. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't let you put it in your "crap I don't use" folder.
Jailbreakers have an easy solution. Install NoNewsIsGoodNews, and marvel as the Newsstand icon evaporates. If you have any Newsstand magazines, their icons will move to the homescreen.
iOS users rejoiced when the standalone Google Maps app hit the App Store. But when you open maps links in Safari or other apps, iOS still defaults to Apple Maps. MapsOpener saves the day by making Google Maps the iOS default maps app.
Do you have an ex who just won't let go? Or did your phone number once belong to someone who owed a lot of money? Install iBlacklist, and you can block any number.
It's highly customizable, with blacklists, whitelists, and options to block all unknown numbers.
The App Store is full of third-party camera apps that add extra photography tools. CameraTweak, though, integrates several new tricks into the stock iOS camera app.
After installing, the camera app will have new controls like separate focus/exposure, white balance, and a timer countdown.
Like all the best Cydia apps, CameraTweak adds functionality without over-complicating.
If you run iPhone apps upscaled on a non-Retina iPad (including the iPad mini), they're so pixelated you'll think you're playing an Atari game. RetinaPad solves this by running them in 3.5-inch iPhones' Retina (960 x 640) resolution.
Want to radically alter the look and feel of iOS? The classic Winterboard and newer Dreamboard have you covered.
The apps themselves are only the starting points. Cydia is chock full of themes, and your level of customization is only limited by developers' imaginations.
When you have a jailbroken device, upgrading or restoring is a pain. PKGBackup simplifies the process of reinstalling your Cydia apps. It backs them up, stores them locally or in the cloud, and restores automatically.
Robert Broglia's gaming emulators
If you want to play classic Mario, Zelda, or Sonic games on your iPhone or iPad, Cydia has a number of emulators for old-school consoles. We recommend developer Robert Broglia's emulators (like NES.emu, SNes9x EX, and MD.emu) for their rock-solid emulation, customization, and polished virtual controls.
In many regions, distributing game ROMs is considered a copyright violation, so we'd recommend researching your country's rules before proceeding.
Octopus Keyboard is a solid knock-off of the BlackBerry 10 keyboard. Like the BB10 QWERTY, tapping a key will bring up tiny predictions for the word you're typing. If you see the word you're going for, just swipe up to select.
It may be a blatant BlackBerry rip-off, but Octopus Keyboard can save you some keystrokes … and spice up Apple's unchanged-after-six-years stock keyboard.
Pull to Dismiss
If you've ever wanted a quick way to dismiss the iPhone keyboard, check out Pull to Dismiss. As its name implies, pulling down on the keyboard slides it off of the screen. Handy for apps with poor keyboard implementation.
Moving multiple apps to different homescreens can be an exercise in tedium. This tweak makes it easy.
To use, hold one icon until it wiggles, then tap every other icon you want to move. Slide to the screen you want to move them to, press the home button, and – presto! – your apps are there.
Stride replaces your iPhone's "slide to unlock" with custom unlock gestures. It's more secure than the standard unlock method, and much more fun than using a passcode.
Springtomize 2 is like 100 jailbreak tweaks in one. It's a toolbox for making changes to your homescreen, dock, carrier logo, and many other aspects of iOS. Tweaks are arranged by category, and easily toggled.
Do you ever tire of entering your Apple ID password for every purchase or update? Password Pilot lets you customize the App Store’s verification requirements.
Just know that you'll be opening the door to anyone else who uses your phone to easily make purchases.
Hands-free Control lets you evoke Siri without touching your iDevice. Designate a keyword (the default is "Siri") that will activate the virtual assistant. Say the magic word, and Siri will spring into action – even if you're on the other side of the room.
Siri is happy to take musical requests, but the assistant can only play music from your iTunes library. AssistantLove links to your Spotify account (if you’re a paid subscriber), plugging Siri into an enormous music database.
As a nice bonus, AssistantLove also lets you set Google Maps (or a variety of other mapping apps) as Siri's default for directions.
Want to pimp your lockscreen? Both IntelliscreenX and LockInfo have you covered. They let you customize its look and the information it shows.
LockInfo is the more customizable of the two, letting you tweak nearly every aspect of your notifications. IntelliscreenX is simpler and more streamlined, and – as a nice bonus – includes Messages+ with your purchase.
Dashboard X 2.0
Android has long embraced widgets, but – apart from a couple in Notification Center – Apple hasn’t allowed them in iOS. Dashboard X 2.0 puts that decision back in your hands.
After installing Dashboard X 2.0, you can place any Cydia widget (usually meant for Notification Center) on your homescreen. Everything from your Facebook feed to HTC-like weather widgets are fair game.
Quasar is iPad multitasking with a desktop twist. It runs your applications in resizable, rotatable, and overlappable windows. It's as close as you'll get to Mac OS X on your iPad.
Each iOS folder only allows a limited number of apps. If you find your folders filling up, you can turn to Infinifolders or FolderEnhancer.
Infinifolders is the simpler of the two, letting you put as many apps as you want into any folder. FolderEnhancer, meanwhile, allows up to 320 icons in a folder, as well as folders within folders, and lots of other customizations.
If your carrier doesn’t yet support FaceTime over 3G/LTE, check out My3G. It lets you use any Wi-Fi-restricted app over your mobile data network.
Activator is one of the most basic – and useful – jailbreak apps. It's the iOS equivalent of "If This Then That."
Choose a trigger action (like sliding on the status bar, triple-pressing the home button, or speaking a voice command), and the desired result (like opening a specific app, or activating another tweak). Activator takes care of the rest.
How to install
To get any of these top jailbreak apps, open Cydia (it installs automatically with your jailbreak) and search away. Paid apps require an Amazon or Paypal account.
All of these apps are available in Cydia's default repositories. It will take time before they're all compatible with iOS 7, but Cydia usually prevents you from downloading incompatible tweaks anyway.