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CyanogenMod 13 is currently rolling out to various phones and tablets. This iteration of the custom ROM provides Android 6.0 and all the goodies that come with it. But that’s not all you get when you install this alternative operating system How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device Android is super customizable, but to fully take advantage of that, you need to flash a custom ROM. Here's how to do that. Read More .

The latest CyanogenMod version offers features you won’t find on a stock Android device. Some you won’t find on any manufacturer’s custom skin Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More either.

Not every feature can find its way into Android. Still, here are a few things you can do in CyanogenMod 13 that would be great to see Google add in Android N.

1. Customize the Homescreen

Google has changed the default launcher over the years. Regardless, there’s always been an aspect I wanted to tweak but couldn’t. Either the labels looked cluttered, the app drawer felt messy, or there was an extra search bar. Then I’m off to install Nova, Apex, or some other alternative launcher Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Given the huge number of launchers available, there's something for everyone. Here are the best app launchers for particular needs, depending on what kind of user you are. Read More .

With CyanogenMod, I don’t have that strong urge to replace the default launcher. The app drawer is more organized and quick to navigate. A search bar at the top lets you search only for apps. The letters at the bottom skip to those parts of the list. I also prefer the transparent background over solid white, though this is a matter of taste.

CyanogenModStockAndroid-Homescreen

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Even better, you can tweak any aspect of this drawer. You can turn off the alphabetical categorization. The search bar can disappear. And yes, you can make the background white if you prefer.

There’s also the option to make icons larger. This is a visual tweak I’m fond of even with great eyesight. Plus you can hide apps from your drawer without having to install anything extra.

2. Configure Lockscreen Options

Customization matters for reasons more than mere personal preference. Some changes are a matter of security.

Take the lockscreen. Android comes with three methods of unlocking a device: password, pin, or pattern. Passwords offer the most variations, but patterns are easier to enter.

Most Android devices let you toggle whether to show the pin or pattern, but that is where the choices stop.

Each of these security methods has a weakness. Pin codes may offer more complexity than patterns Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Our smartphones carry a lot of personal information. All of your text messages, emails, notes, apps, app data, music, pictures, and so much more are all on there. While it's a very great convenience to... Read More , but they can be easy to watch someone enter. Patterns seem pretty safe, until someone looks at the smudges on your screen.

For PINs, CyanogenMod 13 can scramble the location of numbers each time you turn on the screen. With patterns, you can increase the grid size from 3×3 up to 6×6. This multiplies the possible combinations many times over. You can then make the dots invisible and enter the pattern based on haptic feedback, so no one knows how many dots there are.

CyanogenModStockAndroid-Lockscreen

Some people may view these options as infuriating or impractical. Others appreciate having more ways to protect the data on their most personal device. To each their own. Having these few extra options gives people more space to create a method that’s right for them.

3. Hide Status Icons

Phone manufacturers and carriers love cramming extra icons into the status bar. My old Sprint HTC One had icons to show that I had enabled GPS and NFC. When I left these features on, the indicators never went away. Even worse, disabling GPS didn’t remove the icon — it only crossed it out! At least turning off NFC left me with one less icon.

Stock Android isn’t immune to this problem. An alarm clock icon appears whenever an alarm is set. If I create a recurring alarm to wake me up every weekday morning, then that alarm clock icon never goes away. A permanent unchanging icon isn’t convening any information. It’s clutter.

Because of this, I hardly ever set alarms on stock Android.

CyanogenModStockAndroid-Status-Bar

CyanogenMod 13 lets me show or hide the icons I want. I leave most of them visible, because status icons do serve a purpose. But the alarm clock icon is definitely gone. Now I’m willing to experiment with recurring alarms again. And my lockscreen still tells me that an alarm is set, so a reminder is present either way.

4. Tint Screen Red at Night

The blue light that radiates from our screens isn’t good for our sleep. We can solve this by filtering that light and turning our displays a more natural red instead Get a Good Night's Sleep by Filtering Your Phone's Blue Light Get a Good Night's Sleep by Filtering Your Phone's Blue Light Your phone's screen is keeping you awake. Don't let it. These apps will help you rest well. Read More .

There are plenty of apps available that get the job done. But with CyanogenMod, there’s no need to go hunting for one. The option comes built-in. Turning it on is as easy as setting your phone to change screen brightness based on your surroundings.

CyanogenModStockAndroid-LiveDisplay

CyanogenMod calls this feature LiveDisplay. It’s available as a quick toggle, but you can make further adjustments under Settings.

5. Edit Power Menu

On stock Android, the menu that appears when you hold down the power button is useless. You get one option, to turn off your device. A menu with only one choice makes no sense. If Google is set on this being how the power button works, at least turn this into a prompt instead. Are you sure you want to turn off your device?

Samsung and others keep some of Android’s old options around in the power menu. These include the ability to restart or activate airplane mode.

CyanogenModStockAndroid-Power-Menu

CyanogenMod does this too, but it also lets you pick which items go on the list. Never use airplane mode? Get rid of it. Want an option to take a screenshot rather than hold down the power and volume buttons? Add it in. Make the power menu what you want it to be.

6. Change Your Theme

Search the Play Store for an icon pack. They’re everywhere. But you need to install an alternative launcher to use any of them.

CyanogenMod doesn’t stop at app icons. You can alter the notification panel, the navigation bar, and interface colors. There are many themes The Best CM11 Themes For Your Android Device The Best CM11 Themes For Your Android Device Running CyanogenMod 11 and want to customize your device? These themes make it easy and super fun. Read More floating around the Play Store More Of The Best Free CyanogenMod Themes More Of The Best Free CyanogenMod Themes Looking for a quick, easy, and free way to customize your Android device? Check out these themes! Read More that only work if you’ve installed a custom ROM. You can also take matters into your own hands and create a CyanogenMod theme yourself How to Make Your Own Custom CyanogenMod Themes Easily How to Make Your Own Custom CyanogenMod Themes Easily CyanogenMod's theme engine is great for customizing your device, but what if you can't find that perfect theme? Easy, just make it yourself. Read More .

CyanogenModStockAndroid-Themes

HTC, LG, and Samsung each let you theme their phones in one way or another. But with stock Android, there’s still no way to do this out of the box.

These Features Could Come Someday

In CyanogenMod 13, you can add and remove quick toggles. They appear as pages, and you can reorder them as desired. Starting with N, stock Android will offer this too Everything You Need to Know About Android N Everything You Need to Know About Android N Want to install Android N or just learn about the next Android version? We've got your back. Read More .

Google is also adding some of the more specific features already in custom ROMs. In the developer preview of N, you can alter your phone or tablet’s display DPI.

We may not see the features listed above appear in N, but some could arrive in later releases.

What features already present in custom ROMs do you wish Google would adopt? What would you like to see in general? Leave a comment down below!

  1. Rann Xeroxx
    May 4, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Nova launcher does a lot of these except themes but has things like gestures and other plugins.

  2. GodSponge (EB)
    May 4, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Finally got to install CM13 on my Note 3. Before installing CM13, I always installed xposed to force my phone to work the way I wanted. Now that i have CM I haven't felt much pull to reinstall xposed. So much of what I used xposed for is already built in to CM.

    I love it.

    • GodSponge (EB)
      May 4, 2016 at 10:15 am

      I didn't know about being able to hide status bar icons yet, so yay! While messing around I found the notification filter. Another xposed module I won't need anymore!

  3. pmshah
    April 24, 2016 at 4:45 am

    You will find all these feature already built into Xiami phones.

  4. Alex Sim
    April 22, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Well, about the first one, you can just install the cm13 launcher... Some developer folk (me :D) has made a porting, just search for cm13 trebuchet port.

  5. John Smith
    April 22, 2016 at 4:41 am

    With Android N, you can turn on Night Mode and remove Status Icons through System UI Tuner.

  6. Alex
    April 22, 2016 at 3:54 am

    In regards to #3, you can hide status bar icons in stock Android using the System UI tuner, which is a hidden menu. I have disabled my alarm clock icon using this.

  7. Guille
    April 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    One thing Android should have is to hide when you draw a wrong unlock pattern. Currently there is only the option to hide the correct one but if you make a mistake, the red dots appears and somebody watching can deduct the rest of the pattern. It is like giving part of your PIN number.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      April 21, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      On my Nexus 5 with stock Android 6.0, incorrect patterns do not display if I toggle "Make pattern visible" under Settings > Security.

      • Guille
        May 4, 2016 at 11:52 pm

        Yes, my old HTC One dual SIM with Android 5.0.2 and Sony Xperia Z2 with 5.1.1 do that. None of the Samsungs (several galaxy note and S) and two LG G4 in my family does.

  8. Davin Peterson
    April 21, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    It would be nice if the Google Launcher had more customization options so that we don't have to go get an alternate launcher.

    Also, I don't know why with Android 5.0, Google removed options from the Power menu. It should have options to reboot or sleep

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