What happened to Installous?
For many years, Installous was one of the most popular .ipa installers out there. It was free, it had a large library of .ipa files, and it was well-supported. One day, though, Installous users woke up and found that the application was dead. Their downfall was kind of a cumulative happening. Emerging alternatives meant that they suddenly had a lot of competition, and it was difficult for their development team to maintain the application with so many iOS updates. If you want an .ipa installer, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
Luckily, those emerging alternatives that I mentioned have made a name for themselves in recent years. I don’t think there’s really a single dominant application, though, in terms of popularity. This means that you have a little bit of research to do before deciding which .ipa installer is right for you — it’s not just a matter of choosing the brand name. In this article, I’m going to talk about the top five best Installous alternatives in 2017.
Installous was first shut down in 2012, and I have vivid memories of Zeusmos being the most popular alternative immediately afterwards. I think this popularity came with Zeusmos’s similarity to the original Installous interface. There wasn’t much that you had to learn, and the transition wasn’t all that jarring. This app offered the exact same functionality, presented in a similar way, which truly made it the “best” alternative. Thousands of users flocked to it, and they loved it. If this article were being written in early 2013, I think Zeusmos would be a lock for #1. However, public support for the app shrank over time, and by 2014, people had moved on to different apps. Why?
Although .ipa installation apps are frequently used by developers to test apps, or to install third-party applications not available on the standard App Store, they’re also frequently used to pirate paid applications. Zeusmos disliked being known as an “Installous alternative”, because the developer didn’t like being associated with piracy. They made the app more difficult to pirate apps with (which subsequently made the app more difficult to use for legitimate purposes), and they made it a paid app, which pushed away a lot of potential users. Still, Zeusmos remains a very effective .ipa installer, so long as you’re willing to put in a little extra money and work. All of the other alternatives on this list are free, and they’re a bit more user-friendly than Zeusmos.
AppAddict is probably the least popular application on this list, but I think that’s just because it’s much newer to the scene than all of the others. It hasn’t been around as long, but it has already assembled a bit of a cult following. This app offers a user experience that is roughly comparable with Installous’s, and I think it’s pretty clean overall. One functionality that I really like out of AppAddict is the ability to very easily download third-party apps like Moviebox without having to put in all that much work. All of these apps allow you to install pretty much any .ipa file, but AppAddict does a lot of the work for you, which I appreciate.
This is a solid Installous alternative, but that isn’t to say that it’s without its faults. Although the developers work actively to keep the application up-to-date with the latest versions of iOS, support is generally lacking. They have a service called iSignCloud, which is an app that pay a subscription fee for. It’s basically just AppAddict that’s able to be used without a jailbroken device. Over the years, there have been many stories from individuals who purchase subscriptions and never hear back from AppAddict again. Their “user community” is lacking, if only because they don’t have one to begin with. I like AppAddict, but I wish more emphasis was placed on making it more user-friendly overall. Aside from that, it’s great.
I may be cheating a little bit with this choice, since iFunBox isn’t technically an app. It’s something that you download to your computer, and use with your iDevice like iTunes. I think that this set-up makes it inherently less convenient than the other apps on this list, but I think that it still deserves some recognition. iFunBox is great, because it’s an .ipa installer that doubles as a lot more. Personally, I like to use it to import and export music to and from my iPod’s music library. If you have iFile on your iDevice, iFunBox is basically just a more comprehensive, desktop version of iFile.
As I said before, this software isn’t really as convenient as some of the apps on this list. You have to put in a little more work to get the functionality that you need, but I don’t think any of is it is necessarily hard to do. You find the .ipa file that you want to install, you download it, and you use iFunBox to install that file onto your iDevice. Yeah, there’s no fancy interface or curated library of files to choose from, but it gets the job done, and it does it well. I think iFunBox is a must-download for any jailbroken iOS user to begin with, so I don’t think there’s any reason not to use it to install .ipa files, too. Even so, I understand that the use of a computer to perform this function isn’t all that efficient, so I ranked iFunBox on this list appropriately. It’s still probably my personal favorite, though.
Here’s where the list may get a little controversial. vShare, which is well-loved by millions of iOs users, sits at number two. I should probably preface this by saying that I really like vShare. The user interface is simple enough, and the developers do a really good job at making sure the latest release is as well optimized and stable as possible. It’s a great .ipa installer, and you don’t even need a jailbroken device to use it. It also has a very large library of .ipa files for you to choose from. It’s very easily accessible, which makes it one of the most popular .ipa installation apps out there.
However, there are a couple of issues with vShare that I think prevent it from taking the top spot. To begin with, download speeds with this app tend to be very slow. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but I think that the vShare installation process is sort of inefficient to begin with. When you install an app, the icon appears on your home screen. When you delete the app from your home screen, it will still sit in your storage, since it hasn’t been deleted off of the vShare app yet. Sometimes, apps deleted from within vShare will still have files sitting in your storage. In general, I don’t think the process is quite as intelligent as it could be. Still, it’s popular for a reason. Like Installous, it’s easy to use, easy to get your hands on, and it works for what you want it to do. It still has some room for improvement, though.
Like Zeusmos, Appcake was one of those Installous alternatives that exploded in popularity when the original installer shut down. Unlike Zeusmos, however, Appcake hasn’t ever looked back. They have delivered nothing but quality since, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that. Their .ipa library is massive, and in my experience it is larger than vShare’s library. Plus, this app benefits from its large user community. Appcake has forums where users come together and upload .ipa files to be put into the app. Can’t get your hands on a quality file for a third-party app that you really want? Put in a request form, and someone will probably find one for you within a few days. Unlike vShare, I feel like Appcake really takes advantage of their popularity by creating the ideal conditions for this kind of community.
Not to mention, Appcake makes manual .ipa installation really easy. It does pretty much everything that the other apps on this list does and more. The only functionality that I wish Appcake had was the ability to install without a jailbroken device. However, this is an article about Installous alternatives, and Installous was jailbreak-only application, as well. Aside from that one thing, I think that this app is pretty much perfect. It’s easy to use, it’s nice to look at, it’s well-supported, and it has a lot to offer. I don’t think that you could ask for much else out of an Installous alternative, and I recommend this app above all else for someone looking for one.
Let us know if you have any other great installous alternatives for 2018!