How To Install .deb Files On Your iPhone & iOS Devices

Monsta'd on January 6th, 2011

We're assuming if you're reading this post, you already know what a .deb file is, and its relationship to iOS. For a brief explanation, Cydia packages come in the .deb format, you know that crazy black and white code screen you see while installing something on Cydia? Well that is actually the .deb extracting/installing itself and running on your device. Probably the most common situation you'll come across or see a .deb file in is if you're checking out an iPhone Cydia developers forum, like ModMyi. A lot of Cydia developers will post a .deb file containing their app or tweak for everyone to download and install while they're waiting for their package to be approved and uploaded onto a Cydia repository. Other times, you may come across "cracked" .deb's for paid (non-free) Cydia packages, but we won't go there.

How To Install .deb Files On Your iPhone & iOS Devices

So you have a few .deb files lying around and you want to extract/run/install them on your iPhone or other iOS device.

For starters, you'll need to have:

  • a jailbroken iPhone or other iOS device like an iPod or iPad
  • have OpenSSH installed and activated on your iDevice
  • have Wi-Fi access on both your iDevice and your computer (you'll need to have both connected to the same network)
  • an FTP client installed on your computer
  • if you're using a Mac, you'll have to fire up Terminal.app. If you're using a PC, you'll have to download and install PuTTY (select putty.exe from the download page.)

The first thing we'll need to do is fire up our FTP client and SSH into our device. Then, if you're not already there, we'll navigate to the root folder of our device, and navigate again to the /tmp directory, and upload the .deb file(s) to that directory.

Now, we'll open up either Terminal (Mac) or PuTTY (PC) to truly SSH into our device. To do this, type in: "ssh root@192.168.1.x", with the 'x' being specific to your device (for help please see our SSH post).

You'll be prompted for your device's password. Once you're successfully SSH'd in, we'll type in "dpkg -i /tmp/your_debs_file_name_here.deb". You'll see the .deb package extract (just like in Cydia) and a success message when it's finished. You'll have to respring your iPhone or iDevice for the installed .deb app or tweak to show up and activate.

That's it! If you have any trouble, please leave a comment below and we'll try to help out.


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