iMods: An upcoming Jailbreak Store aimed at larger audience of iOS users

iMods 2

While jailbreaking has seen tremendous growth and change over the past seven years, it would be a stretch to say that it has achieved mainstream success. Apple has sold more than 800 million iOS devices over that span, but the latest public-facing figures reveal that less than 1 in 10 of those devices have been jailbroken. 

With a goal of solving that problem, and expanding jailbreaking to a larger audience, a team of developers have been working on a new jailbreak store called iMods for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I recently had an opportunity to speak with one of the creators of iMods, who explained how he plans to tackle that challenge.

Before reading any further, it is important to note that we have not seen any proof of iMods outside of the screenshots shown in this article. While we are certainly not claiming iMods is a hoax, we simply cannot fully guarantee its veracity until if and when the jailbreak store is released.

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When is the planned release date for iMods? How will users install this jailbreak store?

“Great, so basically, we plan to release the official build alongside the iOS 8 jailbreak by offering a separate tool. This will ‘iMod’ the device, installing iMods. This will be done so that we can more easily distribute our market to new users who have never heard of Jailbreaking or have heard but don’t want to risk it. As we said before, we are targeting a somewhat different audience, but we would love to also have the existing jailbreakers use it as well.

The availability of the beta is a different thing, however. We will be providing it out to a select few for testing in approximately 2-3 months. We have currently been working on iMods for about 3 months. We spent a great deal of time on the UI, fine tuning it, going through different designs, and so forth and have been working on the store itself in code for about 2 months. Most of the server side of things have been completed, we just need to integrate the app, and work on the dev portal mobile app.”

Why isn’t the existing jailbreaking community your primary target?

“The reason we are not targeting the existing community is because we believe that the number of people using iOS is so much more than the number of people who are jailbreaking. We asked ourselves why this was so. At first we thought that maybe the people who are using iOS and are not jailbreaking simply do not find the stuff found in the jailbreak community useful or interesting.

We soon found out that this was not the case. We went to our university and did a sample of people who had iPhones and showed them some of the jailbreak tweaks like BiteSMS and ColorFlow. They all loved it and asked how to get them, we then said jailbreaking and took note of their response. Their responses were clear, they were not in favor of jailbreaking, why? Because there is a negative stigma of it messing up your phone and it being hard to do.

So we decided to target this larger audience who likes the features but doesn’t want to go through the hassle of learning what tweaks work with what version of iOS, what tweak has a lot of bugs, what tweak does what, and so fourth.”

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How do you convince people in that demographic that jailbreaking is cool?

“Actually, we found in our survey at the University of Akron that the people saw the features very cool. Like when shown BioProtect, they were like, ‘cool, I can use this to lock my Facebook so my friends don’t make posts I don’t want when they have my phone’. They actually really liked the features, they just saw it as something that was meant for tech savvy people. That is what iMods is about, rebranding jailbreaking and targeting it to these people. People who love the features but are hesitant to jailbreak for some reason or another.”

How will iMods work?

“The users won’t have to ‘jailbreak’ their phones, they will iMod them, a word that doesn’t carry that negative stigma [Editor's Note: Jailbreaking will still be required, this is an attempt at rebranding]. Furthermore, our store is built in a way that we can control what goes in it. If a tweak has a problem and it doesn’t work properly or causes random crashes often, we can take it down so as to not scare people who are using iMods. The store is made to be very user friendly. They will see it and feel much more comfortable than if they were to use Cydia for the first time. A lot of people keep referring to us as a Cydia alternative, we keep trying to say how we are not.”

Will Cydia repositories be supported?

“The repo exclusion clause was made to prevent multiple Debian repositories, also called Cydia repositories from having the same package, something that could cause a clash. However, iMods is not based off a Debian server and its server won’t be accessible through Cydia hence, iMods does not qualify as a Cydia Repo. The repo exclusivity agreement states, ‘I will not submit to another community source’, thus iMods exactly, because it’s not a Cydia source, is not affected by the above clause.”

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Thanks to one of the iMods developers, who wished to remain anonymous, for providing this interview with iPhoneHacks. Hopefully it clears some of the confusion surrounding the upcoming jailbreak store.

There has been a lot of opinions circulating online about iMods, and we invite you to share your own thoughts on the initiative in the comments section below.

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  • Erick121

    Seems interesting and nice design but still think even new users would stick with cydia since it’s well known hope they do well, anyone remember installer and rock?

    • Agru

      Installer came before cydia, are you referring to the new installer 4.0?

  • Alan

    It has been great to see competition on the jailbreak front with the entry of the Pangu team. It would be great to see competition to Cydia as well. The UI looks quite sleek.

    • gaucho

      I agree with what you said about competition on the jailbreak, now think about this new store that is not good

  • Jesse

    You really have to pay for all the mods??
    On cydia, just add a repo and you get all the tweaks for free!!

    • Erick121

      That takes away from all the hard work the developer of the tweaks put into if you install a cracked tweak from an unofficial repo

    • Andrew

      GTFO, Pirate.

      • Tsabaax

        either you are st***id or just simply crazy. :))))

    • Damian

      I would not mind stealing from big corporations, but you are talking about robbing one person who pours sweat into his tweaks.

  • Sebastian Rasch

    How does “I will not submit to another community source” NOT affect iMod? What else is iMod then if no ‘community source’?

    • Agru

      I’m confused about that statement too. I think they’re not a “community” source, since they consider themselves as a “private” source open to the community.

    • John Sklikas

      As a dev, I can explain. ModMyi rephrases the same thing as “default Cydia source”. A community source is a repo (or source) that can be added by the community to Cydia. Since iMods is not a repo, nor a Cydia source, it doesn’t classify either as a default source, or as a community source, since it can’t be added as a source to Cydia by the community. Hence and thereafter, the exclusivity clause doesn’t apply to iMods.

      • Damian

        So what tweaks would feature on imods? Since big boss has he right to keep the tweaks, I don’t think developers would switch from Cydia repos to imods.

        Would it mean Imods will need a completely new tweaks and start from scratch?

        • iMods

          No, as John has mentioned above, the repos can not stop the devs from posting onto our store as their exclusivity clause doesn’t apply to us.

          • Damian

            Ok so would not that mean the developers have to remove their tweak from bigboss before submitting it to your store. Also we users would have to purchase the tweaks again.

            How would you organize the purchase methods?

            Could you explain more in this regard?

          • Sebastian Rasch

            I was asking that myself. If you have to purchase your hacks again I doubt it’s gonna be successful.

    • thevmax

      You are wrong. Especially with Cydia’s latest update. I have been jailbreaking since IOS 4. I purchased PKGBACKUP which allows backup of all Cydia apps. After install of new IOS and jailbreak, the first app I install is PKGBACKUP and then RESTORE from it. Everything comes back, including my themes, spacing, and apps.

      • Sebastian Rasch

        I know, I tried that once. However it’s not as convenient as it could be, but it’s a start for sure. Better than nothing, I suppose.

  • iPhonist von Gates

    ‘we plan to release the official build alongside the iOS 8 jailbreak’
    Im going for my pilot license as soon as Mercedes sells a hybrid S65 AMG which also can fly.

    • Damian

      Don’t doubt it. Jailbreak iOS 8 is very likely to happen fast

  • Vincent Zauhar

    I don’t really like it because we do not have a lot of details on the tweaks extensions and drivers that are installed… In Cydia there is the “expert” tab but it seem that in iMods this is more simple like the AppStore.

  • Jeremy

    The design is impeccable but the rating system is a horrible idea, instead there should just be a list of other jailbreak tweaks that aren’t compatible with the current tweak. That way you will no if it will work on your device or not.

    • Damian

      Instead of rating system, it should be allowed to leave comments for each version of the tweak and browse the comment history. That way people would not be mislead by faulty ratings.

  • mE.!

    “Because there is a negative stigma of it messing up your phone.”

    And that’s what is almost guaranteed to happen. If you’re going to promote and support this you had better get used to the idea of telling the consumer “Sorry – the jailbreak is a bit jacked up at the moment and you will have to do a complete restore, re-jailbreak and install mods one at a time, testing in-between to find out which one is behaving.” Jailbreaking is frequently imperfect and modding is even more risky.

    This is precisely what’s happening to me. Pangu JB on 7.1.2 won’t uninstall anything. Something was acting up and I had to start over.

    That said… Your new store looks slick. And I would love to be able to see reviews before I install new mods.

  • Siddharth Rohra

    How can IMod work without jailbreak?

  • http://www.twitter.com/auriculogenesis auriculogenesis

    >implying newcomers to the scene will try iMods over traditional jailbreaking

    These “iMods” losers don’t understand that the number one turnoff from jailbreaking is the whole Apple Care fiasco. New users avoid jailbreaking because they believe it voids the Apple Care warranty. When these idiots aren’t upfront about Apple possibly denying servicing due to third party code running on these devices without approved provisions and QC checks, shit will hit the fan and I guarantee these guys will fall hard. Some may even seek them out and press charges in a class-action lawsuit.

    I’ve spoken to peers at my university and it’s the same excuse time and time again; nobody wants to risk losing warranty for a device that costs several hundred dollars. Get real. This marketing strategy will not work.

    • http://antgly.tumblr.com Anthony Glyadchenko

      It’s called restoring your phone.

      • http://www.twitter.com/auriculogenesis auriculogenesis

        It’s nice that you understand. Can you explain that to the average consumer and quell their fears?

        Restoring your phone would wipe out all tweaks and data on the phone, and subsequently, tweak-based bugs, glitches, and errors. For the majority of average users, now they have no reason to go to the Genius Bar to file an exchange claim. Upon realizing this, they’ll restore their device to recover their user data and most likely end up with the same tweak(s) that caused the same problem that they had in the first place. It becomes a vicious cycle that would ultimately push users away anyways. Most iPhone users don’t even wipe their phones before going into the Apple Store, so what makes you think they’ll take that initiative to begin with?

        • http://antgly.tumblr.com Anthony Glyadchenko

          They won’t always exchange. Sometimes they just restore and it’s fine.

  • David Buenrostro

    So if I’m understanding correctly, this iMod will basically be a jailbreak for the average consumer who isn’t necessarily “tech savvy” or has cares for or has knowledge of things such as repos and tweak conflicts and things your “advanced” user would know about. My girlfriend is one of those people who has that negative connotation with the word “jailbreak” and thinks it (jail) is illegal or (break) messes up your phone. She might even think “tweaks” might break something too. This iMods sees to want to provide the same basic service as jailbreaking but without the stigma that comes with it to the average user. My question is this; obviously it would have to be an untethered jailbreak at it’s core, so would it include cydia with it as an “advanced” option for users or would it only include this new store exclusively. Would iMods be something bundled into a release by another team such as evad3rs or pangu? Cydia is not dead yet, and I would assume it would be included in a jailbreak by them, so how would this new store be distributed in relation to Cydia.

  • wchp

    iMods user:
    “I took my car to the indi shop and they replaced the windshield wipers and then the transmission failed! I don’t know anything about cars but if they were working on it and it broke, It must be the shops fault.”

    Cydia user:
    “I pulled my car into my garage and I replaced the windshield wipers and then the transmission wouldn’t let me change gears! What are the chances? Now Ill need to chmod the tranny.”

    The faithful:
    “I took my car to the dealer and they replaced the windshield wipers! They ran diagnostics and told me I needed a new transmission. Thank goodness the dealer saved me. I just wish they weren’t do darn expensive!”