A few years ago I wrote an article that explained why I found it worth jailbreaking, but at the time there were only a few apps that I found useful. Since that time the jailbreak community has quickly evolved, and has turned into something pretty incredible. Some of the apps we are about to cover have been downloaded millions of times… such as iFile which has racked up over 6.4 million total downloads, and one of the latest releases has been downloaded over 2.1 million times. This is a true testament to how popular jailbreaking iOS devices has become.

This article covers what are my favorite apps as of today, and I’m sure we all have our own list that differs from minet. Be sure to share what are your best Cydia apps in the comments below. Here’s my list in alphabetical order:

  • Activator (Free) – This is a must-have, and a lot of jailbreak applications require that this is installed in order to work properly. I use this to create all kinds of custom shortcuts, such as the ability to open the camera app from anywhere (including the lock screen) by holding down the Home button for a few seconds. It’s a great shortcut to have when you’re in a rush to snap a photo.
  • FullForce (Free – iPad only) – FullForce makes a change to the configuration file of iPhone-only apps to make them think they have been optimized for the iPad display. Your iPad will then try to make the app fit the larger display instead of using the 2x scaling, but there are only a handful of apps this works well with. Most of the time I prefer to use RetinaPad, which is covered further down in this list.
  • iFile ($4) – iFile is definitely an app a lot of people have heard of, and it’s one of the few ways to browse, view, and modify all the files that are located on your iOS device. The best part is that this has interfaces optimized for both iPhone and iPad viewing. It also has a web-based file management that you can activate for grabbing or putting files on your device using your desktop web browser.
    Ifile 1 Ifile 2
  • LockInfo ($8) – This is a powerful notification management solution for your iPhone/iPad. It has a custom lock screen that can replace what you currently see on your phone when you hit the power button, but you can also see the notifications when using any other app thanks to the info panel that can be activated with a multitude of customizable gestures (thanks to Activator). It also provides access to your favorite contacts from the home screen.
    Lockinfo 1 Lockinfo 2
  • My3G ($4) – With My3G you’ll be able to make apps think that you’re connected to a WiFi network even when you’re only on 3G. Then you can do things like make Facetime calls over 3G, or even download apps that are larger than 20MB in size.
    My3g 1
  • MyWi/MyWi OnDemand ($20/$5) – MyWi falls a little on the pricier side when it comes to apps, but it is well worth it. It’s such a polished tethering app that I’d hate not to have it on my phone. The MyWi OnDemand aspect is really only something you need to consider if you have an iPad you want to tether, because it will instantly tether your iPad to your iPhone via Bluetooth whenever your iPad’s screen comes on. It will then shutdown the connection between the devices once it isn’t in use anymore.
    Mywi 1
  • Phone GV Extension ($3) – This will let you use the native phone dialer with your Google Voice account. With it phone calls you make will appear as though they are coming from your Google Voice number rather than your carrier-supplied phone number, but you can have it prompt you each time you make a call so that you can decide which number you want to use.
    Phonegv 1 Phonegv 2
  • RetinaPad ($3 – iPad only) – Apple should look heavily at this app because it is the perfect demonstration as to how iPhone apps should scale up 2x on the iPad. When using a iPhone app that has retina-quality graphics this app will use those to make both the graphics and text crystal clear. It completely changes the way you use apps on your iPad that were designed for the iPhone. Here is a nice collection of screenshots showing the enhanced quality.
  • SBSettings (Free) – I imagine this is one of the first things that everyone installs on their jailbroken device. It adds quick toggles to turn things on/off like airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth and more.
  • SMS GV Extension ($3) – In my quest to solely use Google Voice this app has become rather essential. It makes it possible to use the native SMS app with Google Voice, and only uses your data connection. That means I can send an unlimited number of texts every month without having to pay the $20 that AT&T would otherwise require. It will also use the push notifications from the official Google Voice iOS app to know when you’ve received a new message. Genius!
    Smsgv 1 Smsgv 2
  • Wi-Fi Sync ($10) – I’m not sure if this is worth the $10, but I snagged it when it was on sale around the holidays for just a few dollars. It’s a great way to sync up your device without having to plug it in to your computer, but it can be slow if there is a lot of stuff that needs to be transferred.

As you can see only a few of my favorites are free, but in some ways I prefer it that way. The fact that the developers are charging a few dollars for their work gives me some reassurance that the app will continue to get better over time. Of course this isn’t a guarantee that the apps will get frequent updates, but either way they have put a lot of work into these and deserve the little bit they are asking for.