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Theos is a cross-platform suite of development tools for managing, developing, and deploying iOS software without the use of Xcode. It is an important tool for people building extensions (tweaks) for jailbroken iOS; most extension developers use Theos.


The Theos suite of tools consists of a handful of important components:

  • A project templating system (NIC), which creates ready-to-build empty projects for varying purposes
  • A robust build system driven by GNU Make, capable of directly creating .deb packages for distribution in Cydia
  • Logos, a built-in preprocessor-based library of directives designed to make MobileSubstrate extension development easy

Theos is primarily used for jailbreak-centric iOS development (such as MobileSubstrate extensions, PreferenceLoader bundles, and applications intended for distribution in Cydia), but can be used for other types of projects as well. This can be helpful for someone wishing to develop an iPhone SDK-based application without using Mac OS X or Xcode to do so, as Theos can be used on Linux and iOS as well.

Theos also includes Logify, which accepts a class header and generates a MobileSubstrate extension which hooks all of that class's methods, printing log messages when they are called. This helps a hook developer see when certain methods are invoked during use.

How to start using Theos

See Installation.

This Stack Overflow answer may also be helpful.

For reference, check out this Theos documentation by theiostream.

Theos variables

You can configure theos by setting variables in a project's Makefile or having them exported as environment variables (affecting all your projects).

This list is incomplete. You can help by expanding it. From here?

Variable name Description Default value Notes
THEOS The directory where Theos is installed on your machine. It is platform dependent
ARCHS List of architectures to build for.

Possible values: i386 x86_64 armv6 armv7 armv7s armv7f armv7v arm64

TARGET Target specification for the build. Some values can be obviated.

Formatting: platform:compiler:sdk_version:deployment_version

<local machine platform>:gcc:3.0:3.0
THEOS_DEVICE_IP IP used to install packages to a remote device. (Can also be the name of a host defined in ~/.ssh/config)
THEOS_DEVICE_PORT Port used to install packages to a remote device.
THEOS_BUILD_DIR Packages will be placed in the specified directory .
DEBUG Set to 1 to enable debug mode. undefined

Theos directories

This list is incomplete. You can help by expanding it. From here?

Path Description Notes
layout Acts as / directory. Useful for static resources outside of the project install path