Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by Shivanandana Hegde
It is quite challenging to install third-party apps on iPhone and iPad from alternative app stores. In other words, side-loading tweaked or cracked apps is not an easy task when it comes to the Apple ecosystem, especially on iPhones and iPads. However, several options exist to install third-party apps on Apple devices.
Generally, people who come from an Android device to Apple eco system find it hard if not intimidating to install third-party apps on iPhone and iPad
Most people believe that Apple devices need to be “jailbroken” in order to install tweaked apps (aka cracked apps) and any third-party apps that cannot be found on the app store. This is similar to ‘rooting’ an Android device.
My personal favourite however is ‘Altstore‘ to install third-party apps on iphone.
Using Altstore to install tweaked and third-party apps on iPhones and iPads
The instructions are very simple and easy to follow. There are a few steps like:
- Installing alt-server on your Mac or Windows machine
- Trusting the alt store app and its security certificate and enabling developer mode
- Use an Apple ID to login to the app ( My suggestion is to use a separate Apple ID for this. Yes, it will work even if your original Apple ID is different)
- Finding a trusted source of the tweaked app (Best to find them on the GitHub app repository rather than third-party app stores)
- Download and install the app on the phone while being connected to AltServer
- *Important*: Detailed documentation on how to get started with Altstore and Altserver can be found here.
Pros of using AltStore to install third-party and tweaked apps on iOS devices 👍
- The biggest pro is that we don’t have to ‘Jail break’ the device. Note that jail-breaking an Apple device voids the warranty on it.
- A large number of tweaked apps for iPhone are available
- Emulators and terminals for command-line execution can be installed
- Altserver can be installed in Windows and Mac without any issues (requires iTunes on Windows)
- Apps can be downloaded and installed from within the phone via a wireless network i.e. if both server (laptop/MacBook) and iPhone are on the same Wifi network
- Built-in app store with some cool apps to consider including Onion browser and Delta emulator
- Diligent developer who is trusted by hundreds of thousands of users and he releases fixes quickly when required
Cons of using Altstore to install tweaked and cracked apps on iPhone and iPad 👎
- The first on the list is ‘security’. When a third-party app is tweaked (or cracked), only an experienced developer can tell what is working under the hood. This tweaked app is trusted by ‘you’ and you alone. There could be an injection of malware or data stealth software in the app. Be diligent and pick your source carefully
- Apps installed from Altstore have to be ‘refreshed’ at least once in 7 days. It is a pain if you are away from your laptop or Mac with Altserver. There is an option to automatically refresh the apps but both the server and device need to be on the same network
- We can install only 2 apps on a free account. This is perhaps a limitation set by Apple. You can use ten Apple ID instances at once. Using a tweaked app with its extension generally eats into these ID instances. At least 4 Apple Id instances are used per app limiting the number of apps to two.
- Tedious to install on open-source Linux operating systems
Re-inventing the wheel when Apple decides to send OTA updates
- Apple updates usually ruin the Altstore integration 😔. Some of the security or general updates released by Apple somehow mess up the app. Though the Altstore developer Riley Testut is quick to fix the app, it is still a pain. Sometimes, we have to re-install the server with the app and redo the whole process all over again 😤. It is best to follow their Twitter handle to get updates on bug fixes and new releases
All in all, installing a tweaked or cracked app and side-loading a third-party app isn’t as easy when compared to Android phones and tablets. However, there is still hope for enthusiasts with apps like Altstore.
Are you planning to install third-party apps on an iPhone or iPad? What apps are you interested in? Let me know in the comments.
🥂 Cheers! 🥂