To the Android user, you must have heard about the CyanogenMod. It is one of the most known developers of custom ROMs, which help the users to customize the device. The CyanogenMod is very popular with the developer community and its user. The people behind the Cyanogen started Cyanogen Inc. aiming to establish a partnership with the phone manufacturing company to have CyanogenMod as the default operating system and to overcome the domination of google in the Android community. To some extent the company was successful, with the partnership with the company like OnePlus and YU Televentures (a subsidy of Micromax). However, the company is not able to simulate same success in the last some years. Let’s, learn about CyanogenMod operating system.
What is a custom ROM?
Google releases the source code for Android via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which allows anyone to download the source code for the stock Android and modify it to their liking. Many people add features or try to further optimize the operating system to improve performance. When people talk about flashing ROMs, they are referring to overwriting the old version of Android that is installed and replacing it with a third party alternative, like CyanogenMod. Thus sounds sketchy in a way, but just because the ROM is supported by the community, rather than a commercial entity, it does not mean that they are any less stable. According to the experience of users, custom ROMs have been just as stable if not more so than OEM supplied ROM, depending on the ROM of course.
However, the term “ROM” is not necessarily used correctly when talking about the third party custom firmware. A “ROM” in computer science is “Read-Only Memory” which can only be read and not written to more than once in the most basic sense. Smartphones and tablets use flash memory to store the android OS, so the correct term should be “custom firmware”. This naming convention may lead to some confusion when talking about custom ROMs, just remember, the firmware is being changed, not any ROMs that might be in the device.
How the CyanogenMod started?
In the year 2009, CyanogenMod started as the alternative for the stock Android on the HTC Dream and HTC Magic, with the initial release of CyanogenMod 3.1. As the Android is an open source operating system and its easy availability of obtaining root access, anything is possible, which make the custom ROMs popular, with this, the CyanogenMod community started to grow. Actual rise of the CyanogenMod started with CyanogenMod 7, which was based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread which has added improved and new features.
How often do you get updates?
CyanogenMod is always updated with a major update of the Android. But there are minor updates often to fix bugs. The version numbers work same as the Android version number. The initial number represents the major update and secondary numbers represent minor update for e.g. CM 10.2. From version 9 to 10.2, there were a few different types of releases. These included:
- Nightly – A build generated every 24 hours, newest features but HIGHLY unstable in most cases, not good enough for a daily driver.
- Experimental – More stable than the nightlies and may be used in other custom ROMs as a base.
- M Snapshot – More stable than the last two, but still may have some minor issues.
- Release Candidate – Basically stable, some very minor issues may be present, good enough for daily use.
- Stable – Pretty much all of the bugs have been squashed. These builds will take a very long time to actually be released.
After 10.2, CyanogenMod has changed the release cycle and the names of everything to simplify the process. This time there are only two options:
- Development Channel – Same as the nightlies from before, every 24 hours and are highly unstable.
- Release Channel – M snapshots are made each month which is suitable for daily use, although they lag behind the nightly builds by two weeks as far as features and improvements.
What are the advantages of CyanogenMod over stock Android
The custom ROM has added features, improved performance, and change in the look of the stock Android, which is the main reason custom ROM are installed on any devices. There are the features you get with the CyanogenMod. With the CyanogenMod, you can do some tweaks that you cannot perform with stock Android like changing the status bar or applying different themes.
The biggest advantage of the custom ROM is that you get root access. With root access, you get the administrative right to the system. This means you have access the system files, which helps apps to perform a different task which you cannot perform on stock Android. For example “Titanium Backup” which can be used only on the rooted devices. This is the best app to backup and transfer apps on your phone to other phones. There are other apps like this which can only be used after the rooting of the phone. But there is a catch; the rooted devices are not secure as non-rooted devices and the warranty of the device will be void.
Flashing CyanogenMod ROM on your device
If you wish to ditch you stock ROM and enjoy the benefit of the Custom ROMs, you must be ready say goodbye to your warranty. Before the process starts you backup all the data from your device. Here is how you install Custom ROMs on your device. Follow the following procedure:
Download a ROM
First of all find the compatible ROM for your device, you can find the ROM from XDA forum or here. Some phones have several variants, so make sure you are downloading the right one for your device. You can check the model number on the phone and download the ROM according to you the model number. Once you find the right ROM, download the .ZIP file. Do not extract it! After downloading ROM find the right GApps. Download the GApps according to the version of the Android of the ROM. Now, save the both the downloaded files on internal storage, SD card or flash drive.
Boot into Recovery
Now turn off the phone completely, once the phone is turned off completely, boot the phone into recovery mode. Hold Volume Down + Power for 5 seconds to boot into recovery mode, this should work for most of the device. If that don’t work see this. Once you are in recovery, you should see like this.
Now go ahead and select “Install”…
Once you have selected your ROM file. Proceed to flash the zip…
After the installation is complete, back out and clear your cache…
That’s it, you are done. Now you can enjoy the new CyanogenMod. However, this is the most common way to flash a ROM, there are many different ways specific to each device. There are some Softwares that will allow you to flash a ROM from your computer, Odin is one of the best out there.