For years, iOS users who wanted to use their devices without the constraints imposed by Apple have been jailbreaking their devices in order to install software from outside of the Apple App Store ecosystem. Once a device has been jailbroken, users can install unofficial apps from other sources like the jailbreak app store Cydia.
Formerly, developers could offer their jailbreak apps either for free or for a fee charged using PayPal on the Cydia store. But now, Cydia will no longer be allowing developers to charge for apps and will be shutting down their payment system. The change was announced by founder of Cydia, Jay “Saurik” Freeman, in a Reddit post. He said that he has been planning the shutdown for some time now: “The reality is that I wanted to just shut down the Cydia Store entirely before the end of the year” but that he was spurred onto the decision due to issues with the integration of PayPal and the Cydia store.
Despite what many users might suspect due to Apple’s clear dislike of users choosing to jailbreak their devices and their propensity for lawsuits, the shutting down of Cydia’s purchasing option did not have anything to do with the company, according to Saurik. Instead, he said the move was due to the service not being profitable, and sounded frustrated with users accusing him of hoarding money: “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.”
This doesn’t mean the immediate end of jailbreaking: iOS users will still be able to jailbreak their devices and use Cydia, which will continue to offer free apps for download at least for now. However, repositories will likely become less well maintained due to the server costs of running them that can no longer be offset by purchases. Saurik says that a more formal post with further details about the past and future of Cydia will be published next week.