It’s been a long time since I’ve jailbroken an iOS device, but I still felt a little nostalgic when I read that Jay “Saurik” Freeman was shutting down payments on Cydia. For those like myself who have been around iOS since the beginning, jailbreaking was a near-essential part of the iPhone and iOS experience. It added features, but more than that, it added FUN. Some of the jailbreaks were as easy as clicking a button in a browser, while others were like solving a Rubics Cube, which just added to the experience.
Those of us who jailbroke our iOS devices had various reasons for doing so. Some wanted power features. I was partly in that group. Before Personal Hotspot finally arrived, jailbreaking was the only way to share your iPhone’s cellular Internet connection with another device. Let’s be honest- some wanted porn, or at least system and app access to it. Some of us just wanted to have some fun. The only reason I ever jailbroke my iPad and iPad 2 was to get access game emulators and Bluetooth controllers.
Two of those examples above are perfect reasons why jailbreaking has slowly faded away over time. We’ve had Personal Hotspot built into iOS for several years now, emulators (although not with open access to ROMs) have been around the App Store for a bit, and we can use MFi-Certified Bluetooth controllers today, too. iOS has grown slowly but surely over the years, but it took over most of the common uses for jailbreaking some time ago, and there just isn’t a lot of need to do it beyond some fringe and niche cases.
While Cydia, the primary source for downloading apps that take advantage of jailbreaking a device, isn’t shutting down, the removal of payments is a big step in that direction. Saurik’s own words on the topic are telling:
“The reality is that I wanted to just shut down the Cydia Store entirely before the end of the year, and was considering moving the timetable up after receiving the report (to this weekend); this service loses me money and is not something I have any passion to maintain.“
That doesn’t sound promising.
If you have previously purchased jailbreak apps via Cydia, you will still be able to access them. However, the end has arrived for new purchases and the it would seem that the clock is ticking for the Cydia service as a whole. I may not need to jailbreak, or really even want to anymore, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss it when Cydia is gone.