How to install a .deb file via SSH and terminal

Hey guys, this was a request from one of our readers, Mason, who was having trouble finding Ultrasn0w in . This is a great method to quickly install any . file on your iDevice from your computer. This is useful if won't install an app for whatever reason or you just can't find the app in the database. In this tutorial I will be installing the ultrasn0w deb since that is the specific tweak that Mason was having trouble with.

Step 1: Go into Cydia and search for "OpenSSH" and install it if you haven't yet. This will allow connections between your phone and your iDevice(please note that the computer and the iPhone have to be on the same network in order for this to work, otherwise you need to forward ports and get your static IP and it gets a little more complicated).

Step 2: now that you have OpenSSH installed you are going to need to get a PC client in order to communicate with your device. IMO is the best program for Windows, you can download it here

Step 3: Now you need to find the .deb file you want to install, this is pretty easy just go to Google and type in the name of the app you want to download and add "deb download" to the end of it. In this case I would type "ultrasn0w deb download" after you have downloaded the deb(Ultrasn0w 1.1-1 deb here), the best thing to do is rename it to something very short(you will see why in a little bit). The name of the file doesn't matter as long as it ends in the extension .deb I have renamed the ultrasn0w deb from ultrasn0w-1.1-1.deb to us.deb

Step 4: Open up WinSCP and the first screen you come up to is the login screen. Click "new" in the top-right and copy the information as seen below into your screen(you can find your iDevice's IP address by opening up SBSettings or by going into the wi-fi section under settings if you don't have sbsettings). Change the "Host name" to whatever your iDevice's IP address is. The username is "root" by default for all iDevices and the password is "alpine" you can and SHOULD change your SSH password but that's for a different tutorial. Now click "save" and name the connection and then connect. If you get a pop-up box when you connect this is normal just click the far left option.

Step 5: After you have connected you will see a directory of your iDevices filesystem. Navigate to private/var/tmp this is where you want to upload the deb that you just downloaded and renamed, so in the left column navigate to the folder where your .deb is saved and in the right column navigate to private/var/tmp and drag the deb from the left side into the right side to transfer it over to your device.

Step 6: Now that you have the deb on your iDevice in the tmp folder it is time to install it. This part is extremely easy once you've done it a few times(in fact, this whole process is extremely easy after you've done it a few times, I've gotten to the point where it takes me less than a minute from start to finish for this whole process). Click the little terminal-like icon directly under the "S" in the word "Session" on the top menu. This will open up a terminal window which should be familiar to mac users and will kind of resemble DOS for Windows users. Then all you do is type in the following command(Please note you have to have Cydia fully closed before executing this command):


This is where the shorter filename comes in handy. Many deb files will have prefixes or suffixes containing the name of the repo they came from and this just makes it a little easier to type in the command. Obviously if you are installing a different deb you would change the last part to reflect the filename of your deb. Your terminal screen should now look identical to how Cydia would look if you were installing through Cydia. When it says "setting up....." that's how you know it's done. Now just respring your device and the app will be installed just as if you did it through Cydia!

So that's about all I can think of right now, if any of this is unclear or you are having trouble please comment and let us know so we can try and get any issues resolved for you. Thanks!

31 Responses to How to install a .deb file via SSH and terminal

  1. Mason says:

    hey man i appreciate this. having another problem though. every time i enter dpkg -i /tmp/us.deb i get an error msg

    failed with return code 1
    dpkg: error processing tmp
    cannot access archive no such file directory

    any ideas?

  2. Mason says:

    ok i figured it out and got it installed . anything further? its back on the ol searching spree. how can i tell if i did this correctly?

  3. Mason says:

    im also having an issue with itunes
    cannot backup iphone because a session could not be started
    any ideas on this one lol?

  4. JaeM1llz says:

    Glad you figured it out Mason, I forgot to mention that you can’t have Cydia open while you do this. The error you mentioned can sometimes be due to anti-virus programs. Here is a solution you could try, copy your latest device backup to your desktop /Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup is where you can find it. Then you want to go into iTunes and delete all your previous backups here’s how:

    1) Go to iTunes>Preferences>Devices
    2) In the “Device Backups” window select your last backup on that device. If you have other iPhones they will show up as well…so choose the device your having issues with.
    3) When you’ve selected the correct device and the last backup the button that says “Delete Backup” will darken. Click it.
    4) Continue and click “OK” when prompted.
    5) Go back into your iTunes window and **right click** on your device that is having backup issues.
    6) In the pop up window choose “Backup”.

    See if that fixes it

  5. JaeM1llz says:

    If you see “setting up …” that means it worked, you have to respring the device to reflect the changes though.

  6. Mason says:

    no dice. its still giving me the backup error it wont start a session with my iphone.
    im checking antivirus out. Any other possibilities?

  7. Mason says:

    Damn, nothing… this is posing to be quite difficult. I shall do some research

  8. Lee says:

    Bitvise Tunnelier is way better than Win SCP, try both and make your own decision though.

  9. Good stuff. Looking forward to reading more from you.

  10. […] 1: If you don’t already know how, please read this tutorial to learn how to SSH into your […]

  11. Harley says:

    Hey Jae,
    I’m trying to follow these instructions, but I’m getting stuck at the terminal. I put in dpkg -i /tmp/us.dep (I renamed the .dep like yours, us.dep). I hit execute, but I’m getting this error message:
    /private/var/root$ dpkg -i /tmp/us.dep
    dpkg: error processing /tmp/us.dep (–install):
    cannot access archive: No such file or directory
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    Please help. Thank you.

  12. newton_tony says:


    I’ve followed the excellent instructions (with Cydia closed on my ipHone 4). When I re-open Cydia it tells me Ultrasn0w 1.2 is installed, despite having removed it via Cydia and installing the 1.1 deb file as per your instructions.

    Any suggestions? Thanks.

  13. zac says:

    great tutorial, understood every word for a noob like me! question – after whole process is complete, what do i do with deb file, delete from var/root folder or leave it in there?

  14. […] Honeypot.deb and then after you have downloaded the file, please follow our tutorial on how to manually install .deb files via OpenSSH and […]

  15. […] Alternatively, you can download the 1.2.1 deb and install it manually by following our manual deb installation tutorial. […]

  16. rabinshr says:

    Great tutorial..
    worked great for me.
    Thanks heaps

  17. […] Just update to the new Winterboard via Cydia, if you do not see the update you can download and install the deb manually from […]

  18. sammy says:

    hi im trying to install installous since it gives hash sum mismatch on my ipad 1 5.1 but when i execute the command it shows:
     Errors were encountered while processing:

    what does that mean?
    how do you fix it?

    sorry im a total noob

  19. Pedro V says:

    Could i use a dpkg -i to install SBsettings  on iOs 6 ? (via ssh using developer-only thetered jailbreak)?

  20. maxwellc max says:

    AND I TRIED DOWNLOADING THE DEB FILE AND INSTALLING IT WITH IFILE!Executing Command: /usr/bin/dpkg -i “/var/mobile/Documents/cydia_1.1.26_iphoneos-arm.deb”

    dpkg: parse error, in file `/var/lib/dpkg/status’ near line 3068 package `cy+lib.corefoundation’:
    error in Version string `’: version string is empty

    Finished with Result Code: 512

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