Try iPhone apps before you buy them? Sure… if you’re jailbroken with Installous

DISCLAIMER: Installous should not be used for piracy and this article in no way advocates such acts. Installous should be used as a “try before you buy” system so that you can decide if you like an application before spending money on it. If a Lite version is available, that version should be used rather than Installous.

That said…

$0.99 here, $1.99 there… oh, look at that game! Only $4.99!… (15 minutes later)…. Wow! What a waste of money!

Typically, that’s how Apple’s App Store works. Now, let’s talk about what has become a great alternative to hoping your hard-earned money isn’t wasted: Installous.

Installous is a jailbreak-only program that allows the user to install App Store applications without having to pay first. The applications available are the same ones as those listed in the App Store for the iPhone/iPad/iPad. However, not all applications that are in the App Store will necessarily be available in Installous. But, considering how many times I have personally bought an application only to regret the decision within an hour, one can easily see the value in such a program. Installous is easy to use and will be intuitive to anyone who has experience with using Apple’s App Store.

How do I get Installous?

The first step in getting Installous is to jailbreak your device. This can be done in several methods and many online tutorials are available. I have covered a few of the methods in a previous post and thus will not be covering them again here.

Now, assuming you have already jailbroken your device, you will need to follow the following steps to get Installous. First, open Cydia and add http://cydia.hackulo.us to the Sources in Cydia, as shown in the following screens:

Next, Installous will be available for install in Cydia’s program listing. Choose Installous from the program list and then press Install located in the upper right corner of the screen. The below image shows Modify because Installous has already been installed on my test device.

After you have accomplished these tasks, the Installous icon will be available on the Springboard:

Note: The example shows Installous in a folder. The Installous icon will initially display on the Springboard.

Now that I have Installous installed, how can I try out applications?

Installous is an incredibly well-written and intuitive piece of software. Let’s look at the homescreen:

As you can see, applications are placed into categories just as they are in the App Store. You can also use the Search function to quickly find applications and the Settings button to adjust how Installous works. The Downloads icon tracks the status of application downloads and the Updates icon alerts the user to application updates for applications installed with Installous.

NOTE: Updates for Installous-installed applications can not be installed though the App Store. Installous does allow for the complete pirating of App Store applications and Apple will obviously not support this activity. Application developers will not continue to make applications if they can not make a profit doing so. However, it is unfair to “rip off” users by listing sub-standard applications without any way of finding that out until you purchase the software. That’s why Installous is best as a “try before you buy” program.

Within each category, there are additional options as shown here:

Applications can be further sorted by Applications + Updates, just uninstalled applications, and applications listed by popularity. These options allow for users to quickly see what is available to try and also to see what other applications users are checking out.

Once you have found an application you want to download, simply tap the application’s name and a description and download link will appear. Click “Download” and you’ll be offered the choice of the free locations and an official link to Apple’s App Store when you’re ready to buy.

That friends is all there is to Installous. As you can see, it’s a powerful program that brings a new level of fairness to the App Store. No longer do you have to hope your $1, $5, $10 or even $50 will be well-spent. Now, you can find out before you ever punch in your iTunes information and send your money off into the cloud.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the apps (but don’t forget to buy)!

2 Responses

  1. This doesn’t work on my iPod touch

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