The Cydia app store was once a thriving hub for iPhone and iPad users who wanted more apps and functionality for their devices than Apple would officially allow into its highly regulated App Store. Such apps would do things like improve notification handling, clean up junk files, or completely replace the built-in app switcher or Control Centre of an iOS device. Jailbreak hacks were used to add everything from quick shortcuts to even copy-and-paste functionality long before Apple officially added these things to iOS. Some tweaks, such as being able to lock apps with a fingerprint, are still not allowed. Cydia was also commonly used to enable app piracy. Many of these Cydia apps and tweaks cost small amounts of money, and users have been willing to pay for them.
Apple’s ever-increasingly tight grip over its hardware and software, and the gradual addition of many of these features into iOS has diminished the appeal of jailbreaking over the years. Now, its founder Jay Freeman, popularly known as Saurik in the jailbreaking community, has decided to shut down Cydia’s ability to accept payments. This effectively puts an end to new purchases of paid apps.
The move comes as part of Saurik’s response to reports of a bug in the store’s PayPal payment processing system, which he says did not affect more than a few users. In a Reddit post about the bug last week, Saurik wrote that no one is buying anything anymore and therefore pretty much no one is at risk, as the bug only affects people who log in at the time of making a purchase). The bug is not a data leak and did not did not put anyone’s PayPal accounts at risk.
Further, he wrote that the decline in usage has made him want to shut Cydia down entirely. “…this service loses me money and is not something I have any passion to maintain: it was a critical component of a healthy ecosystem, and for a while it helped fund a small staff of people to maintain the ecosystem, but it came at great cost to my sanity and led lots of people to irrationally hate me due to what amounted to a purposeful misunderstanding of how profit vs. revenue works”, he wrote in the same post.
Saurik said he has been paying for the Cydia store’s bandwidth out of his personal funds, and it is not worth the money or effort anymore, and that he was going to shut it down before the end of 2018 anyway. More details will be forthcoming over the next few days, but he has already stated that he is not interested in allowing anyone else to continue maintaining the store.
As of now, users will not be able to make new purchases but they will be able to re-download purchases made in the past. Developers can continue to offer packages for download for free, or use other payment methods outside the Cydia store.