CyanogenMod is one of the most talked about Android custom ROMs available today.
But if you’re new to the rooted Android community, then you might not know much about CyanogenMod.
What is it? Why do people talk about it so much? Let’s find out what CyanogenMod is today in our guide.
What is a Custom ROM?
As you may know, Android is an open source operating system. Anyone can visit the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and download the code for themselves.
Many people download AOSP and make various modifications to improve different aspects of the OS. They might add new features, or optimize Android specifically for battery life or better performance.
When people talk about “flashing ROMs”, they’re talking about replacing the old version of Android (currently installed on their device) with a new, third party Android alternative.
This “alternative” Android OS is a custom ROM. CyanogenMod is a custom ROM.
Are Custom ROMs Safe?
Many rooted Android fans will tell you that custom ROMs are perfectly safe.
Others will tell you they’re incredibly dangerous.
The truth is somewhere in between: CyanogenMod and other popular ROMs are totally safe and stable. They’re well-supported operating systems that often receive more updates than the version of Android you have from Samsung or LG.
On the other hand, there are hundreds of worse-supported ROMs out there. There are ROMs that receive infrequent updates. There are other ROMs that are designed to trick you into downloading and installing malware.
Do You Need to Root your Device to Use Custom ROMs?
No, you don’t need to root to install CyanogenMod. You do, however, need to unlock your bootloader and install a custom recovery. most people who do this also root their devices.
In general, it’s rare to encounter someone who has installed a custom ROM without rooting. They go hand and hand and many custom ROMs won’t work without rooting.
Many people root Android specifically to install a custom ROM.
CyanogenMod Release Cycle
One of the things you learn about CyanogenMod is that its makers love to stick to a specific release cycle.
The developers of Cm release their custom ROM in various stages, according to the level of completeness of each build. Those stages include:
-Nightly: These builds are generated every 24 hours and include new features but are HIGHLY unstable and in most cases, unsuitable for anybody’s daily driver Android
-Experimental: CM’s Experimental builds are more stable than the nightlies and may be used in other custom ROMs as a base.
-M Snapshot: More stable than the previous two versions, but there may still be some minor issues.
-Release Candidate: Pretty much stable, although with a few small bugs. This is suitable for daily use for most Android users.
-Stable: Basically all of the bugs have been eliminated and CM is as stable as it’s ever going to be. These builds take a lot of time and effort before they’re eventually released.
These versions were only seen between versions 9 and 10.2.
After version 10.2, CM changed their old release cycle to just two more simplified versions:
-Development Channel: Similar to the nighty builds from before and are released every 24 hours while being highly unstable.
-Release Channel: M snapshots are made every month that are suitable for daily use, although they’re typically behind the nightlies by two weeks in terms of features and improvements.
Why Choose CyanogenMod Over Stock Android?
CM brings a lot of options and features to the table, and some of its features have even influenced future versions of Android:
-Root access (gives you administrative rights to your file system, which means you can access all of the system files, allowing apps to do more to your device)
-Install the latest Android version, even if your manufacturer hasn’t officially upgraded your device (CM gets updated more quickly)
-Built-in CM app
-Simple to use interface
-Over the air updates (just like with your manufacturer)
-Stock Android experience, including a more minimalistic interface than you’re probably used to with Samsung, HTC, Huawei, etc.
-CM privacy guard that lets you control permissions each app requires
-Customize your phone inside and out, including picking your fonts, sound, boot animation, icon, and entire themes, and much much more
There are plenty of other benefits to CyanogenMod. Basically, it’s a more freeing version of Android than you’ve ever experienced from traditional manufactures.
How to Flash CyanogenMod Onto Your Device
AndroidBeat.com has written an excellent guide on how to update CyanogenMod here.
Basically, you unlock your device’s bootloader, install a custom recovery, and flash the ROM onto your device.