How to install CyanogenMod on your Android

Did you know that you can install other versions of Android on your smartphone or tablet? With such a 'custom rom' you breathe new life into an old device that no longer receives updates, you expand the possibilities of your device or you give it a speed boost. Let's get started with CyanogenMod.

Every Android phone you buy in the store comes with Google's mobile operating system. There are differences: for example, Google's Nexus devices come with the most 'pure' version of Android, as Google intended the OS. Other manufacturers put their own sauce on this. Samsung does that with its TouchWiz interface, HTC with Sense and Huawei brings Emotion UI.

If you are not happy with the Android version on your device, you can install an alternative Android version (a 'ROM') on your device. There are several reasons for this. The main reason is often that a lot of alternative ROMs offer extra features that you don't find in Android by default. Also, most roms do not suffer from bloatware (pre-installed programs that are often impossible to remove). Your device therefore consumes less memory and works faster.

Finally, an alternative ROM is an ideal way to put the latest Android version on your device if the manufacturer no longer offers updates.

Other roms

In this course we'll get started with CyanogenMod, but it's not the only ROM you can install on your Android device. It can't hurt to take a look at other ROMs, because they all specialize in slightly different things. For example, there is AOKP (Android Open Kang Project), which extends Android with, among other things, more control over LED notifications and custom vibration patterns for people who call you.

Another popular ROM is Paranoid Android, but it only works on Nexus devices. Popular in China is MIUI (pronounced "Me You I"), a ROM with a heavily modified user interface. And those who care about a full open source ROM can turn to Replicant, which mainly supports the Samsung Galaxy devices and some early Nexus devices.

Limit yourself to the well-known ROMs and only download them from the official website. After all, there are also a lot of amateurs who offer homemade roms on forums, often of dubious quality.

The alternative rom AOKP describes itself as 'Android infused with magical unicorn bytes'.


The most popular Android ROM is CyanogenMod, which has over ten million active installs worldwide. CyanogenMod has been around since 2009, first for the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1), the first commercial Android phone. Meanwhile, the ROM officially supports more than 220 phone models and unofficially even more. CyanogenMod is based on Android source code that Google releases. To this it adds quite a few features, some of which we will demonstrate later in this course.

There are several versions of CyanogenMod, and not every version is supported by every device yet. So it's best to first check the CyanogenMod wiki to find out about the support of your device. If the latest supported version appears to be CyanogenMod 7, then it doesn't make much sense to proceed with the installation, because it is based on the ancient Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). CyanogenMod 9, 10, 10.1 and 10.2 are based on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 (Jelly Bean), respectively. Most relatively recent Android phones are currently supported by CyanogenMod 10.1 or 10.2. A select few devices already support CyanogenMod 11, based on Android 4.4 (KitKat).

You should also know that there are several versions for each device. The main ones are stable, monthly and nightly. The stable version is currently Cyanogenmod 10.2 for many devices. It has been extensively tested. Every month, the monthly version comes out, which gets an M in the version number, such as 10.1-M2. Finally, the nighly versions are experimental versions with a new one coming out every night.

Check the wiki to see if CyanogenMod supports your device.

CyanogenMod exists in many versions.

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