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There are a whole host of alternative ROMs just waiting for you to flash them to your Android phone or tablet — so why should you choose OmniROM?

Perhaps it’s the philosophy behind the project. Developed by a lot of former CyanogenMod team members, OmniROM was built as a reaction to CyanogenMod How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device A lot of people can agree that the Android operating system is pretty awesome. Not only is it great to use, but it's also free as in open source, so that it can be modified... Read More “selling out”, as it is now being developed as a commercial enterprise — a decision that has led to a lot of controversy. After all, CyanogenMod was an open source project, one that relied on a community of developers.

OmniROM, then, can be considered the spiritual successor to the “classic” CyanogenMod, and this reason alone should make it your first alternative Android ROM. Available for new and old devices (including those using Tegra 2 processors) from seven manufacturers (including HTC, Samsung and Sony), head to http://dl.omnirom.org/ to find a ROM for your device (requires a rooted device and TWRP recovery What's a Custom Recovery? Exploring CWM, TWRP, and Friends What's a Custom Recovery? Exploring CWM, TWRP, and Friends If you've ever considered tinkering with your Android device, you've probably read that you need to flash a custom recovery onto it before you can do anything serious. But, that begs some questions. Read More for flashing).

However if that’s not enough, there’s a lot more on offer…

Choose Your Own Google Apps Build

OmniROM isn’t alone in not including Google Apps when newly flashed to an Android phone or tablet, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t something to talk about.

The ROM uses the Paranoid Android 0-Day Gapps build from XDA-Developers.com, which means that you can choose from four different collections of Google Apps, which you should select based on your requirements.

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mou-omnirom-gapps

You might, for instance, require the Google Stock Package (279MB) which features everything from Google Now to Chrome browser and YouTube.

Alternatively a smaller choice, Full Modular Package (232MB) skips Hangouts and a couple of other Google apps.

The Mini Modular Package (143MB) strips things down further, with just 11 Google Play apps included, while the Micro Modular Package (89MB) features just six.

Once downloaded, you’ll need to flash your chosen Gapps file in recovery.

All in all, you can tailor your Google experience on Android to your requirements, which can’t be a bad thing.

Active Display Is Included

Active display is a really useful way to view notifications and messages from your lock screen and can be enabled and configured via the Android Settings view.

mou-omnirom-activedisplay

Here, you can set notification frequency, repeat rate, and specify that they should appear around the lock screen ring. Elsewhere in this screen, you can alter brightness, specify which apps notifications you wish to keep hidden using Privacy mode, and even manage pocket mode settings.

The advantage of all of this is that notifications on your phone can be quickly dealt with while the device is locked, while maintaining privacy.

Flick2Wake & Pick2Wake

OmniROM also includes an Advanced settings app, in which various tweaks can be applied. Of particular note here is the Flick2Wake tool and its battery draining sister Pick2Wake. The latter, when enabled, will turn the screen on when the phone is in the vertical position, which might be useful in some scenarios.

mou-omnirom-flick2wake

Flick2Wake is more effective, however, and comes with a companion settings, Flick2Sleep. Put simply, with either or both of these enabled, you can turn the display on or off simply by flicking your wrist.

On devices where the power button is slightly out of reach (such as the HTC One M7, which has several other ROMs available Alternative ROMs For The HTC One: What Are Your Options? Alternative ROMs For The HTC One: What Are Your Options? Want to try out some other ROMs? Here are four awesome ROMs for the HTC One you just have to try. Read More ), this is an extremely useful enhancement.

Customize The Status Bar & Notification Drawer

Via the Settings screen you can set some customizations for the Notification drawer, such as activating a background image and configuring shortcuts for the date and time to open.

mou-omnirom-brightness

With the Settings > Bars screen, meanwhile, you can also enable the ability to adjust brightness by sliding your finger across the status bar, as well as displaying the number of pending notifications. Changing the position of the clock and date, adjusting how the notification drawer can be pulled down, and keeping an eye on network traffic with indicators are further features that can be added here.

Customize Your Launcher And Use Voice Controls

If you’ve ever found that the number of columns on your Android homescreen are limited, using the OmniROM home screen settings (tap the menu/long tap the homescreen to open) will enable you to change the dimensions of the icons and shortcuts to as high as 10×10!

mou-omnirom-hotword

You can also toggle the appearance of the search box, specify which homescreen should be displayed by default when you hit Home, and customize hotwords for launching particular apps.

All in all, a great selection of improvements to stock Android can be found in OmniROM, and although a little slow at times, performance is good and battery life is excellent.

Have You Tried It Yet?

If you’ve made it this far without taking a look at OmniROM on your own device (or at least started to download it), you’re lagging behind!

This is a really good ROM from a project that deserves the support of the Android community. Moreover, there are whispers that OmniROM may begin to focus on security What You Really Need To Know About Smartphone Security What You Really Need To Know About Smartphone Security Read More and privacy 3 Ways To Make Your Smartphone Communications More Secure 3 Ways To Make Your Smartphone Communications More Secure Total privacy! Or so we think, as our words and information went flying through the air. Not so: First it's word of warrantless wiretapping, then it's word of newspapers, lawyers, insurers and more hacking your... Read More , something that the vast majority of ROM devs overlook in favour of the popular “embrace everything Google does” philosophy (which is fair enough).

Have you tried OmniROM on your Android phone or tablet? What did you think? Are you impressed with the enhancements that are included? Let us know how you feel with a comment below.

Featured image credit: PlaceIt.net

  1. Jolly
    January 18, 2016 at 1:51 am

    GUYS TRY MIUI 7 IF YOUR DEVICE ISNT LISTED IN THIS ROM IT IS WAAAAAAAY BETTER THAN ANY OTHER ROMS OUT THERE. FAST. SMOOTH, CLEAN AND A LOT OF OPTIONS TO CUSTOMIZE. SIMPLY. YOURS BY DESIGN.

  2. Name
    November 30, 2015 at 2:45 am

    thanks

  3. jerry
    March 31, 2015 at 10:38 am

    will this work on tab 3 kids version

    • Christian Cawley
      April 2, 2015 at 9:54 am

      As explained in the post, you'll need to go to http://dl.omnirom.org/ and look for your device.

  4. jerry
    March 31, 2015 at 10:38 am

    will this work on tab 3 kids version

  5. Merlve
    March 6, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Does this ROM work on any android device.. especially mtk devices.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Check the list on the OmniROM page to get an idea of the supported devices.

  6. Devender
    January 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Hi, will it work on an old tablet Coby Kyros MID7022? If not then is there any other ROM which can be installed on it and is not too heavy for this hardware.
    Thanks

    • Christian Cawley
      January 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Devender, if your tablet isn't listed on the OmniROM page then the chances are that the answer is "no".

      For something suitable head to xda-developers.com and check their forum.

  7. John
    January 8, 2015 at 7:20 am

    I have just installed on a Galaxy Note N7000 the original note. I all works great.

  8. TI1358
    December 2, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    The Samsung Relay 4G port is known as OmniToad ...Everyone raved that it would help my battery issues ...It did ...If you want extra life there is a great "Performace" settings screen :)

  9. Harald Arnesen
    December 2, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Compared to the Cyanogenmod ROM I earlyer had on my Galaxy Tab 3 P5100, it eats battery like a hungry R2D2.

  10. Arnav Gosain
    August 6, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    How much of a fanboy can you be, author?
    One of Five Reasons to Flash Omni.
    "Choose your own Gapps Package"
    Excellent.

    That can be done with ANY I MEAN ANY AOSP ROM for ANY DEVICE.

    • Christian C
      August 6, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      You know that, Arnav. I know that. But to the majority of people reading this post, that is completely uncharted territory, and this post is not the time nor place for explaining how, simply introducing them to the idea.

  11. Walter E. Bott
    August 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Do any of these programs work on a Samsung SGH-1847 Rugby smartphone?

    Can anyone help?

  12. astral_cyborg
    August 2, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Thanks. Keep up recommending useful roms.

  13. Sankar Mohan
    August 2, 2014 at 6:08 am

    I tried it on my GT-I9300. Wifi direct is not working. No file manger. Camera app is good as Samsung's. But phone performance improved no lag. Phone became fast compared to Samsung stock rom 4.3

  14. Sulasno
    August 2, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Not available for Samsung S4?

    • techno
      August 5, 2014 at 2:41 am

      Yes it is. It's on the compatibility page as being available for S4 for any major carrier.

  15. Pradip S
    August 2, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Regardless of the custom rom or the device, what the first guide should be is about how to extract the original rom from your device in the vent of needing to go back to original factory settings. There are number of sites that have rom images available for download, which are VERY country/region specific. Finding the exact original one is kind of a major PITA.

  16. Luis A Ramos Jr
    August 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Does not work for Motorola Xoom Tablet

  17. LeoV
    August 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Are there any negative consequences when the carrier sees your phone has been rooted and had a custom ROM installed?

    • Clive R
      August 1, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      how is your carrier supposed to see this? Carriers do not monitor what you do with your phone! However you will no longer be able to use updates supplied by your carrier and you will lose all that "essential crapware" they installed for you!

    • Christian C
      August 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      The carrier shouldn't even be looking! I'm in the UK and it certainly doesn't happen here or in the EU.

      Can anyone else help LeoV on this?

    • David P
      August 2, 2014 at 4:33 am

      I've been rooting my phones in the US for 4+ years now on Verizon. They don't care as I know, although I've read somewhere (on some ROMS) they can see if you tether the device for wireless internet hotspot functionality. This matters to me as I have no reliable/decent internet access where I live - but have great 4G speeds and service. I've been tethering for 4 years also and haven't had the Verizon black suits show up at my door to take my phone. I love the different things each ROM does, and while some can be very buggy, I just go find a new one. I think I'm called a crack flasher for the addiction.

  18. Larry Sessions
    August 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Not much into Android, although I have an HTC phone and a generic tablet. Just how do you flash a ROM? Can you direct me to a blog or some source of help?

    • Christian C
      August 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Hi Larry, see this post by Danny which explains the best approach: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-find-and-install-a-custom-rom-for-your-android-device/

      Here's an example post for the HTC One X: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-unlock-root-install-a-custom-rom-on-your-htc-one-x/ - note that the process differs from device to device, so it can prove tricky unless you have the steps for your particular handset.

    • Clive R
      August 1, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      I would suggest that you head over to the XDA-developers forum where you should then look for the forum specific to your device. It takes a while to find your way around but you should find guides there to (1) rooting your device and (2) installing custom roms.
      My advice is to learn all about rooting first and once you feel confident (an only when you have thoroughly read the guides and the risks) first ROOT your device. You will then have access to a wide range of apps that require root and will be able to disable crapware etc. This may well be enough for you if you dont hate the interface that came with your phone.

      The guys at XDA are very helpful as long as you read existing threads first - "how can I root my HTC xxx?" is unlikely to produce a too friendly response because it will almost certainly be outlined in a guide already. If you have questions about a step you dont understand or if something isnt working for you then that is the point to start asking questions. These guys are developers and not suppport agents!

      The sanest piece of advice I was given there was - "if you are not prepared to research and learn how to root your device properly, then you are better to leave it alone because getting things wrong can leave you with a bricked phone"

      It's great fun as long as you are cautious and aware of the risks

    • Larry S
      August 2, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Thanks for your replies, Clive and Christian!

  19. Pitey
    August 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    You should mention, that Flick2Wake and Pick2Wake are kernel specific features. It won't work with every phone and kernel.

    • Christian C
      August 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Pitey - you're quite right, this should have been mentioned.

  20. Peter
    August 1, 2014 at 5:09 am

    "Available for new and old devices" you say? I beg to differ: exactly 2 (yes, two) HTC devices are supported: the HTC One International and the HTC One AT&T. Oh wait, that's just one (1) device... And it's not exactly "old", is it?

    • Christian C
      August 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      The HTC One M7 is now considered an "old" phone by HTC, having been released in March 2013 and succeeded 12 months later by the HTC One M8.

      Checking http://omnirom.org/supported-devices/ will show you the list of "new and old devices", where you will find some that are "exactly 'old'".

  21. Justin K
    August 1, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Doesn't work with Note 3 :(

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