How-To backup and restore cydia packages

When upgrading the iPhone or iPad firmware, if you own a jailbroken iDevice, you may want to make a backup of the list of installed Cydia (deb) packages to be able to perform a bulk installation of them after the firmware upgrade and jailbreak.

This procedure come from, and is suitable for, any deb (apt) unix system that need a bulk installation of packages, usually for deployment purposes, i.e. Mac OS X configured with Fink, GNU/Debian based Linux distributions like Ubuntu probably the ANDROID mobile phones too.

The following procedure will show you the necessary command-line instruction necessary to backup and restore the list of current installed packages on Cydia, please mind that the configuration of the installed packages will not be preserved, you need to follow other instruction to backup and restore your personalised configurations:

  1. Before upgrading or restoring the device firmware login to the console of you iPhone or iPad via a terminal application, possibly from an external computer and issue the following command:
    dpkg –get-selections > packages_list.txt
  2. Save the packages_list.txt file (and your packages personalised configurations) in an external location like your computer or a web site and then you can perform the upgrade or restore of the device firmware.
  3. After the iPhone has been reinstalled and jailbroken update the Cydia sources and then install OpenSSH to be able to remotely connect the the device in command-line.
  4. Copy the file packages_list.txt to the iPhone or iPad and from the console issue the following commands (you can copy and paste):

    apt-get update;
    dpkg –set-selections < packages_list.txt;
    apt-get -u dselect-upgrade;
    rm /private/var/mobile/Library/Caches/com.apple.mobile.Installation.plist;
    killall SpringBoard
  5. Restore your package personalised settings according to the backup method you used to save them.

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About marcomc

Marco M.C. is a System Administrator with 10 years of professional experience in ICT. He has deep knowledge of Mac OS X, Windows, and GNU/Linux. His hobbies vary from DIY, Traveling, learning foreign languages and especially he love to cook and experiment with food from all around the world.
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