iPhone jailbreaking may not be in the news much anymore, but the jailbreak community is alive and well. It typically takes jailbreakers just a few days to to compromise a new iOS release and Apple is perpetually involved in what CEO Steve Jobs once called a constant game of cat and mouse. Comically, Jobs quipped that it’s sometimes to figure out what role Apple plays in that dynamic.
Cydia, developed by Jay Freeman, is an app store for jailbroken iPhones and iPads that lets users download apps that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to from their device. Many of the apps on Cydia are free and the underground app store, so to speak, has been a constant thorn in the side of developers who see their apps downloaded en masse with no economic benefit to their favor. It’s also worth mentioning that many apps on Cydia were previously rejected by Apple for the iTunes App Store. Some of these apps were rejected for copyright reasons (i.e a Super Nintendo emulator) while others make use of forbidden APIs.
First released in March 2008, Cydia pre-dates the iTunes App Store and has been a strong presence in the jailbreak community ever since. But if you want to access Cydia from an Apple Store (presumably to really stick it to Apple) you’re out of luck.
If you try and access Cydia from an iOS device on an Apple wi-fi network, you’ll be immediately redirected to Apple’s homepage. Will this do anything to stifle jailbreaking? Don’t fool yourself, but it makes one wonder just how many in-store visits to Cydia were Apple’s servers logging. For all we know, Cydia visits from within Apple were scarce and this is Apple just having a little bit of fun with the jailbreakers.
Lastly, the name Cydia is in reference to the Codling Moth (scientific name: Cydia pomonella), an agricultural pest best known plaguing Apple orchards being the proverbial “worm in the apple.”