CyanogenMod, the ever popular Android modification, is one of the oldest and most robust distributions of Android in the wild, and it has finally officially started to release their version 12 Lollipop nightlies, in preparation for a final release. CyanogenMod is popular because it brings modern versions of Android to devices that would commonly not get official support, and this time is no exception. At this moment, there are over 30 devices supported with nightly releases already available for download, and more devices coming later. Let’s take a peek at what CM12 brings to the table and what devices it supports at the time.
Devices supported at this time by CyanogenMod (CM) include the HTC One S, LG G-Pad, Samsung Galaxy S4 and S4 Mini, the Nexus 4 and many others. It should be noted that some of the devices that were supported with CM11 will not be supported, in large part due to the outdated hardware that would struggle to run modern Android, but for the most part, all the usual suspects are there. You can check out the current list of devices and download the most current build of CM12 by clicking this link. Installation instructions vary from device to device, so you should look for instructions for your specific device. If you’re already a CM11 user, you should be able to simply upgrade by flashing the newest ROM.
Of course, another thing to look out for is the fact that this is not a final release. Nightly releases are for the most part unpolished and have some small issues, so if you’re worried about stability, you may be better off waiting for the final release. At this point, all devices with a nightly release support all the basic functionality of the device (including Calls, WiFi, BT, GPS and Camera), but there may be some issues that need working out. So, if you rely on your device to always be working properly, or some app you want is not working yet, it may be better to hold off on CM12 at this point. These issues are rare, but they do happen.
With that being said, let’s take a look at CM12 itself. As excpected, it’s based on stock Android Lollipop, so the visual elements and basic functionality remain the same for the most part. CM distributions look and feel like stock Android, and the differences all tend to be under the hood, with extra features and performance improvements. CyanogenMod also includes some replacement apps in case you don’t want to use the stock Google apps, including their own Browser, Music Player, Gallery, Camera and Launcher. They all resemble their original Google counterparts, but they have extra features and are often built from scratch.
Unfortunately, seeing as we’re still dealing with work in progress, some of the most beloved features of CyanogenMod have still not been adapted to the newest version of the OS. These missing features include the Theme Engine, that allows the user to customize the look of their device with a simple tap, Quick Settings customization and reorganization of the Live Tiles. All of these features are still being worked on, and should be merged to the mainstream builds soon. Still, at this point, CM12 already offers features that are not in stock Lollipop, such as weather and temperature display in the notification bar, battery percentage indicators, performance options (allowing you to overclock and change system settings), Privacy Guard (that allows you to limit personal data access from apps you don’t trust) and notification bar customizations. Things are still pretty green, but it’s getting more and more polished with each passing day.
So, that was our overview of CM12 at this point. As you can see, it’s still under active development, but the users looking forward to Lollipop on their device can already try it out and see what it’s all about. For the most part, CM12 seems like the most polished and reliable version of CM yet, even with some missing features, and the hardware support is impeccable, as always. New fixes and options are being added all the time, faster than Google itself, and so you can always be assured that you’re running the latest and greatest version of Android. Any questions or comments? Let us know in the section below!