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Troubleshooting: Cydia on iPhone

written by: Jefe Nubarrón•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 2/12/2011

Cydia is an alternative app store and repository for jailbroken devices. The name comes from the scientific name for the Codling Moth (Cydia pomonella), which signifies the worm in the Apple. Your iPhone freedom requires eternal vigilance, so be prepared to troubleshoot the most common Cydia issues.

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    General Cydia Troubleshooting

    Cydia Cydia allows you to install iPhone software from a variety of additional repositories outside the official App Store. Cydia has been continuously developed for three years and it has become the de facto package manager for jailbroken iPhones. It is generally quite stable.

    Jailbreaking does introduce some instability into Apple's closed system. You should be prepared to actively manage your device, and you may even need to open a terminal or SSH session and act from the command line.

    1. With any iOS related problem, your first troubleshooting step should be to power-cycle your device.
    2. Launch the Cydia app and update it. Core updates are installed automatically whenever you launch Cydia, so open it regularly. You may also SSH a .deb file onto your device and install using the command line.
    3. Check to see if there are any updates for your installed packages, and install them if there are. Tap on the "Changes" button at the bottom of Cydia and look at the top of the list for "Available Upgrades" and either install or queue them for batch installation.

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    Cydia Crashes and SpringBoard

    Respring icon It is not uncommon to see a jailbroken iPhone respring. SpringBoard manages an iPhone's graphical environment. If your device resprings, you will likely see a slightly faded spinning gear in the center of the screen and a lack of touch response. Eventually, you will be kicked back to the lock screen as if it had rebooted and the device will again respond to your touch. Unless a Cydia crash happens often (i.e. daily) you may safely ignore it.

    You can manually respring your device with: SBsettings, Respring, iReboot or PowerTool. Search for them in the Cydia store.

    If you are unable to load Cydia itself, you face a much more serious issue and will need to tackle this from the command line.

    1. SSH into your device.
    2. Navigate to /private/var/lib/apt/lists.
    3. Delete all files in there, except the directory named "partial".
    4. Reboot and attempt to launch Cydia.

    Otherwise, attempt the following:

    1. SSH in.
    2. Navigate to /private/var/lib/dpkg/updates.
    3. Delete the contents of that folder.
    4. Reboot.

    If these steps do not work, you may need to restore or re-jailbreak your device.

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    My themes from Cydia are not working!

    Winterboard icon One of the greatest advantages of a jailbroken iOS device is the ability to install custom themes or skins. You are no longer beholden to the vanilla Apple way and can customize the look and feel of your screens. Themes can change both the look of icons and the overall look of the home screen. The most common theme manager for Cydia is WinterBoard, but the Theme It app is also available from the Cydia store. Check out the top ten Cydia themes.

    If your theme is not loading, power your device off and on. If that does not fix the issue, follow the steps listed above to fix Cydia loading issues. If those do not fix your theme, SSH in and delete the theme manually.

    • Navigate to /private/var/stash/Themes.xxxxxx -or- /Library/Themes.xxxxxx (.xxxxxx is simply random letters and numbers).
    • Delete the problem theme folder.
    • Attempt to reinstall or try a different theme.

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