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Guide to .deb Files and the iPhone

written by: luis84•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 8/28/2010

Find out all about .deb files and how install them and remove them on the iPhone. Learn about the automated method, the manual method and everything in-between! This great guide details step by step instructions for both Windows users and Mac users.

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    What are they?

    As an iPhone user you may have come to a point when you need to learn how to install or remove a .deb file. You may be trying to installCydia  a deb file on a iPhone without actually knowing what a .deb file is and what it does.

    A .deb file is actually a packaged program or app for your iPhone. These deb files are used on jailbroken iPhones to install new software. Most commonly software in the .deb format is installed via the Cydia package manager which comes pre-installed on many jailbroken iPhone's.

    There may be some rare cases in which you wish to install a deb file on the iPhone without using the Cydia package manager. This is particularly useful if you have downloaded the .deb file on the computer and wish to transfer it to the iPhone. Both transferring and utilizing deb files on the iPhone will require you to have a jailbroken iPhone.

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    How To Use Deb Files

    As previously mentioned, the easiest way to utilize deb files is with Cydia. Learning how to install a deb file on the iPhone is truly as easy as tapping and installing an application in Cydia. Deb files can be removed from the iPhone via Cydia as well. Should you come to a scenario where you wish to install a deb file on the iPhone without Cydia, it is possible. To complete this process you will need to have a computer available and a Wi-Fi network.

    1. Download required software. You will need to download both WinSCP and Putty. These are both freeware programs available for Windows. Mac users are welcome to use Cyberduck in place of WinSCP, Putty can be used on the Mac. Find the download links at the bottom of the article.
    2. Determine iPhone's IP. Determine the IP address of your iPhone so that you can connect to it. Click "Settings" from the home screen. Choose "Wi-Fi" by tapping it. Now choose the Wi-Fi network that you are currently using. The iPhone will then display the IP address, it usually looks similar to this: 192.168.1.X.
    3. Connect in WinSCP. Open WinSCP (or Cyberduck). Enter the IP address of the iPhone into the destination field. Set the username to "root" and the password to "alpine". Press connect.
    4. Copy files. Navigate to the "/var" folder. Drag and drop the deb files you wish to install on the iPhone. WinSCP (or Cyberduck) will copy the files to the iPhone.
    5. Connect via SSH. Close WinSCP or Cyberduck and open Putty. Enter the IP address of your iPhone and press connect. When prompted enter the username "root" and the password "alpine".
    6. Install the files. Navigate to the "/var" folder using this command: "cd /var". Now type the following command to install a deb file on the iPhone: "dpkg -i program.deb". Change the program.deb to the name of the file you wish to install. Press enter and the file will then install to your iPhone.
    7. Removing deb files. To remove deb files from the iPhone repeat steps one through five, skip step six and continue from here. Type the following command: "dpkg -r program.deb". Replace program.deb with the name of the deb file you wish to remove. Press enter and the deb file will be uninstalled from your iPhone.

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    Resources & Tips

    To complete the manual installation and removal of deb files on the iPhone you will need the following tools:

    The easiest method to install deb files on the iPhone is to simply use the graphical package managers that are already available on the iPhone. These include Cydia, Rock and Icy. To find out more information about these package managers and how to use them, consider the following resources.






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