There is little denying the fact that CyanogenMod is the most popular custom ROM in the Android world right now. Other ROMs that were popular at one point of time, like Paranoid Android and OmniROM, have all but vanished from the scene.
The reason CyanogenMod continues to remain popular among advanced users is because the team continues to innovate with new features and enhances existing features in such a way that makes it more useful.
We have already taken a look at all the features included in CyanogenMod 12 — which is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop — and now, we look at the top 10 features present in the custom ROM.
#10. Change DPI
Despite coming with bigger screens and higher resolutions, most Android devices are only able to display a similar amount of information on the screen as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This is due to the software density of the OS, lowering which can lead to more content being displayed on the screen and vice versa.
Changing DPI requires root access and modifying some system files or a third-party app, but to make the lives of their users easier, the CyanogenMod team has included this option right under ‘Display’ in their ROM.
This feature is only available on CyanogenMod 12 and above versions of the ROM, and is located inside Settings -> Display & Lights.
#9. Quick Settings Customisation
The ability to customise Quick Settings is offered by every major Android OEM skin, so it is a bummer that AOSP lacks a similar feature. CyanogenMod also comes with an option to customise the tiles in Quick Settings, though their solution is superior to every other OEM implementation. Not only does the ROM offer more tiles, it also does not impose any limit on the number of tiles that you want. Additionally, you can also setup custom times with quick shortcuts to your frequently used app or even configure it to some tasker action.
#8. Privacy Guard
With Android M, Google is adding a permissions manager to the OS, but CyanogenMod 12 already comes with one. The permissions manager in the ROM offers a great way to control and manage the different set of permissions that are requested by apps.
I use Privacy Guard to disable bloated and poorly coded apps like Facebook and other unneeded apps from waking up my device and accessing my location, which thereby leads to a slight improvement in battery life.
Privacy Guard is located Settings -> Privacy -> Privacy Guard.
LiveDisplay is similar to f.lux — a popular app that automatically changes the brightness and color temperature of the display of your PC depending on the time of the day.
CyanogenMod’s LiveDisplay feature is similar to it, and allows you to tweak the display color temperature and calibration according to your liking. You can also set LiveDisplay to automatically tweak the saturation and brightness levels when you are in direct sunlight.
#6. Expanded Volume Controls
Google greatly screwed up Volume controls in Android 5.0 Lollipop. While the new Priority notification system is great for power users, it is extremely complex for casual users. Worse, putting the handset in silent mode in Lollipop is a frustrating experience, since it also silences alarm and there is no vibrate only mode as well.
The expanded volume control feature in CyanogenMod 12 works around this problem by providing you with complete and individual control over the system volume, notification volume and alarm volume. You will be able to control these volumes right from the volume control bar. There is also a vibrate only mode, so that you don’t lose your sanity the next time your try to put your Android device into silent mode.
#5. Double Tap to Sleep
Most Android phones nowadays come with a handy double tap to wake feature, which makes it possible to wake up the device even from sleep by simply double tapping on the display.
In CyanogenMod 12, the CM team has gone ahead and included a handy option to switch off the display by simply double tapping the status bar. While this feature might seem trivial at first, you will not be able to live without it, once you get used to it.
#4. Advanced Power Menu
CyanogenMod 12 allows you to customise the power menu according to your liking. So, not only can you have quick shortcuts to reboot the device to bootloader or fastboot mode, you can also have handy shortcuts to torch, airplane mode, and more.
You can also prevent the power menu from coming up on the lock screen, which is a great way to prevent thieves from switching off your handset, in case they manage to steal it.
A seemingly simple feature, but one that I cannot live without now.
#3. Theme Manager
One of my favorite features of CyanogenMod 12 is the built-in theme manager. While a theme manager was present in CM11 as well, the CyanogenMod team has rebuilt it from the ground up for Lollipop to make it more powerful.
Themes in CM12 are able to change almost every nook and cranny of the OS including the font, System UI, icons, wallpaper, boot animation, and more. They offer a great way to freshen up the look of the OS every once in a while.
#2. System Profiles
If you had ever used a Symbian device, you will be familiar with profiles — which allow you to quickly change certain phone settings depending on the time of the day, your location, and more. CyanogenMod 12 also comes with a similar feature called System Profiles, though their implementation is more advanced and suited for power users.
System Profiles in CyanogenMod 12 allow you to quickly change a bunch of aspects of the phone at once. For example, you can set a profile to quickly switch on Wi-Fi, turn off Bluetooth, change the volume level to silent, and more. Additionally, you can setup profiles to automatically trigger when your phone comes in contact with an NFC tag, connects to a particular Wi-Fi network, and more.
The number 1 feature of CyanogenMod 12, according to me, is that it offers you a choice. The choice to switch over from the default firmware that your Android device comes with, to an OS built by lovers of the OS. The choice to tweak and play around with nearly every aspect of the OS. The choice to either update the ROM on a nightly basis, monthly basis or only stick to stable releases for stability purposes.
No other OS is able to offer such kind of choice to their users, which is why CyanogenMod remains a very popular choice among Android users even after all these years.
What are your favorite features of CyanogenMod 12? Or are you running any other custom ROM on your handset? Drop in a comment and let us know!