How To Backup And Restore Jailbreak iPhone Apps

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

If you own a jailbroken iPhone, you might well realize that backing up your existing jailbreak iPhone apps before installing new firmware is extremely crucial to avoid the task of reinstalling them all over again.

Thanks to applications like PkGBackup, backing up your jailbreak apps is extremely simple. This tutorial will take you through the various steps to backup your Cydia applications using PkGBackup application. 

Before we start some important points:

  • You can also checkout free jailbreak iPhone app like AptBackup that help you achieve the same thing but some of our readers have reported issues using it.
  • This solution might not work for the jailbreak iPhone app that is not compatible with the current version of iPhone OS.

Installing PkGBackup Application

Step 1: From the iPhone springboard, tap on the Cydia icon to launch the application.

Step 2: Tap on the 'Sections' tab at the bottom of the screen and navigate to Utilities -> PkGBackup

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 3: PkGBackup is available for $3.49 at the Cydia store. Tap on the 'Purchase' button on the top of the screen and follow the instructions to complete the payment. You will be able to install the app once the payment transaction is completed.

Step 4: Tap on the 'Install' button on the top of the screen. Press 'Confirm' to begin the installation process.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 5: Once installation is complete, press the large 'Return to Cydia' button to complete the process.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Backup Jailbreak iPhone apps

Step 1: From the iPhone Springboard, tap on the PkGBackup icon to launch the application. PkGBackup will now scan all the installed packages/jailbreaks apps.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 2: The application now lists down the list of active packages. Press the blue arrow button to view the complete list of active packages.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 3: You may now choose to disable backup options for individual packages. To do this, tap on the package name from the list of active packages and turn off the 'Backup' option.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 4: With PkGBackup, it is also possible to backup your Springboard layout. To do this, visit the main page of PkGBackup application and turn the 'Include Layout' option on.

Step 5: You can now initiate the backup process. Press the 'Backup' button to begin the backing up of your application list.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 6: Once the backup process is complete, the application prompts you to sync your iPhone with iTunes. Tap the OK button and connect your iPhone to iTunes to complete syncing the files. Ensure that iTunes completely syncs with the backup file. The backup process is complete.

Restoring Backup Packages/Jailbreak Apps

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes. From the list of devices, right click (Ctrl-click) on 'iPhone' and select 'Restore Backup' from the popup menu options.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 2: You are now asked to choose the backup file to restore. If you have more than one backup file in your list, select the appropriate backup file and click the 'Restore' button.

Step 3: Updating your firmware may have deleted the PkGBackup app from your Springboard. Follow the steps mentioned above in the 'Installing PkGBackup Application' section to reinstall the app.

Step 4: From the Springboard, launch the PkGBackup app. The application will indicate the list of active packages as well as the number of packages available from the earlier backup.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 5: If you would like to selectively restore packages, tap on the blue arrow under the 'Previous Backup' section to enable/disable restore options for individual packages.

Step 6: If you would like to restore the Springboard layout from the backup, turn the option ON from the main page of PkGBackup application.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 7: Tap the 'Restore' button to begin the restoration process. Once the process is complete, you will be prompted to reboot your device. Tap the 'Reboot' button.

How to backup cydia packages with pkgbackup

Step 8: After the restart, the backed up jailbreak iPhone apps should be available on your iPhone.

As always, let us know how it goes.

[via iClarified]

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  • snakeyez11

    Rockapp does this for free.

  • Abel

    +1. love RockApp.

  • Nopstnz8

    I have tried Rock App and package backup and neither of them worked for me. 🙁 I received error upon restore that basically 90% of my stuff wasn't able to be restored. I did have a cracked version of package backup, as well as some cracked apps, which may have been the cause, but i'm not certain. Anyways, you can't always rely on this to work for you. A method I have found which seems to work very well, although I haven't fully tested it, since I haven't need to restore in a while. This method is via the Rsync command in the terminal on Mac. Rsync is a service that will backup all the directories on your JB Iphone. This way you can transfer everything back via SSH after a restore.


    It didn't work for me either.
    Besides, doing so would have probably cluttered my restore. By doing fresh installs from my own notes actually increased my free memory, and now my phone is even faster.

  • Wolverinemarky

    To avoid issues with pkgbackup restoring properly I always delete the backup file which looks like a bunch of letters in ur contact list. Then once that's deleted do a fresh backup and now u can update firmware and rejailbreak and then redownload Pkgbackup and restore without any probs, works like a charm for me and I have use pkgbackup since it came out

  • Geowarrior

    I've found if your backing up contacts with mobile me or google exchange settings then you don't even need to sync to iTunes

    The app creates a contact which stores all the apps you have installed, so long as this is restored somehow your good to go

    I've do e this countless times and it's saved me so much time

  • When you choose a package in Cydia to install, it automatically chooses its dependencies for the installation. Once you press 'Confirm' it downloads the .deb files first into /private/var/cache/apt/archives/partial/ and upon completion moves it to /private/var/cache/apt/archives/.

    Therefore the best "bare-metal" way to 'backup' a Cydia app is to keep iPhoneBrowser ready at /private/var/cache/apt/archives/ and then let Cydia install the package/s. [*1] When the .deb file appears in 'archives' just right-click on it and save it to your hard disk. [*2]

    To restore the app, copy the .deb files into /var/root/Media/Cydia/AutoInstall. [*3] Reboot the iPhone and these packs will get automatically installed. [*4]


    [*1] iPhoneBrowser doesn't automatically refresh a folder's contents… switch back and forth between the 'archives' and the 'partial' folders while Cydia is doing its stuff and you'll see what's really happening.

    [*2] Once the iPhone resprings/reboots, Cydia deletes the .deb files from archives. Best-practice is to pull out the .deb files as soon as the package installs.

    [*3] Under /var/root/Media/, you might have to manually create the folders 'Cydia' and 'AutoInstall'

    [*4] Sometimes you'll have to reboot the iPhone more than once because some apps will install only after their dependencies have already been deployed.

  • Blighty

    thank you for this.. will come in handy

  • Zed Sefi

    To avoid errors, make sure you manually install the essential jailbreak mods and tools (do not use PkgBackup until you have these installed. They are not that many, but here is a brief list of what you might need to install:

    1- Any manually added repository (sometimes PKGbackup reinstalls repositories that were added by sources, not the ones you manually added).

    2- Mobile Substrate (The most important file of them all, most of the jailbreak programs & tweaks are having it as a dependent).

    3- AppSync (the proper version for the firmware you installed, don't forget to disable installing old AppSync on PkgBackup since it belongs to previous firmware).

    4- Winterboard (Duh!).

    5- SBSettings.

    There, you are good to go now, do not forget that you also need to disable the fake tweak file called Firmware 3.1.3 in case you have in installed prior to upgrading to real 3.1.3 firmware because it may conflict with new OS. Better to uninstall it before making the backup or better of them all: Don't use it.

  • wolfy1664

    bullshit just use back up its free and on cydia bloddy money grabber

  • SvenOfTheNorth

    I just upgraded to 4.2.1 and jailbroke with GreenPoios0n, and it was the absolutely least painful upgrade I’ve ever had thanks to PkGBackup!

    Not only was the restore practically flawless, but it restored all my 490+ app icons to their previous folders and locations.

  • jBizzle

    Does anyone know if the iphone backup will work if the backup was from a jailbroken phone and I need to restore it to a not jailbroken phone?

  • doliko

    i have downloaded it but when i try to open it it crashes and returns to home screen. Any ideas?

  • stephen

    I am using iphone 3gs and have accidentally clicked “update” to software version 5. However, after I failed and all my data was lost. I manage to restore back to my previous situation. But all my apps has been gone. How can I get back all my aps? I know I can get it by itunes but there are a few problems as below:

    1. I have jailed break my iphone and I never purchased any apps from itunes

    2. I have some important infomation saved in one of the apps called “awesome notes”. How can I get it back? Is it store inside my computer? if so, how can i restore?

    3. I am using window 7

    I sincerely hope you guys can help me.


    Stephen Hong

  • Queenof

    Does this backup a ‘list’ of your jailbroken apps that it then downloads or does it save the apps & their contents such as settings, game saves, etc.?