Installing the CyanogenMod 12 alternative OS on an Android phone

Delta Overview

CyanogenMod can do (almost) anything Google Android can do (Figure 5); however, you might want to consider a few practical extensions. For example, you can completely customize the notification bar: The clock can be on the left, on the right, or in the middle. Access the quick settings using a swipe gesture from the top-right corner without going through the notifications on the screen.

Figure 5: At first sight, CyanogenMod does not look different from any other Android system.

If you want to do completely without a Google account, you can create a CyanogenMod account when setting up the device. An account will allow you to use the remote maintenance function to locate and lock the device. Cyanogen Inc. is also hoping to open its own app store. The company recently became a Microsoft partner and will probably also preinstall some of the group's apps or offer them for download outside the Google Play Store.

You can completely change CyanogenMod's appearance using themes. The CM makers have revised the theme engine for Android 5.0 and extended the theming options.

CyanogenMod 12 lets you manipulate the CPU frequency and the I/O scheduler if you are interested in tuning and modding. However, tinkering with these settings rarely brings noticeable performance benefits. CyanogenMod also offers customized apps based on Google open source counterparts. In addition to the camera app, these apps include the calendar, the text messaging app, and the clock. CyanogenMod 12 also provides its very own apps, such as the Eleven audio player and the Audio FX sound effects tool.

Profiles also offer many practical options. You could configure a profile to let you mute your phone or make the volume particularly loud, and profiles support time-based, location-based, or NFC tag-triggerable settings for virtually any value. Thus, a profile can automatically switch your mobile phone to flight mode on contact with an NFC tag. Last but not least, CyanogenMod provides advanced security settings, with which you can revoke the privileges of prying apps (Figure 6).

Figure 6: As a user of CyanogenMod, you can assign and revoke privileges for specific applications.

Conclusions

Installing CyanogenMod can be easier than you think. It is important that you understand the basic steps and that the downloaded firmware and software are guaranteed to match your device. For a while, CyanogenMod even supported a graphical installer for Windows users.

With the information in this article and a modicum of Linux knowledge, you should be able to complete the entire process in about 30 minutes, plus the preliminary research stage. Make sure you back up your data beforehand, especially if you have to unlock the bootloader. The result for your labors will be a CyanogenMod system that offers more options and freedom than Google Android.

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