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Rooting and flashing a custom ROM on your Android device isn’t for everyone, but CyanogenMod’s latest ROM offers some great improvements over pretty much all stock versions of Android out there, making it one of the best custom ROMs What Are The Best Custom Android ROMs? What Are The Best Custom Android ROMs? The moment you realize you can flash your Android phone with a new ROM is a pivotal one. Suddenly, you're free: Endless customization options, no more vendor bloatware, and, best of all, you don't have... Read More  available.

But what if you don’t want to flash an alternative ROM on your device? It turns out you can still benefit from many CyanogenMod features without going the full ROM route.

Custom Launcher

Downloading a custom launcher from the Play Store is the quickest and easiest way to transform your Android experience. A launcher changes your entire homescreen and app drawer, allowing you to customize it nearly any way that you like. One of the best options for this is ADW Launcher, which we have a done a full review The Tried and True Free Launcher For Android - ADW Launcher The Tried and True Free Launcher For Android - ADW Launcher A confession: I've avoided ADW Launcher for the past two years and I don't know why. Maybe it was the not-so-catchy name of the app. Maybe I just had a bad day once and decided... Read More of.

ADW-Launcher-1

By default, ADW Launcher will look very much like stock Android, but you can download all sorts of custom themes. When opening up the launcher for the first time, it runs you through a useful setup screen to help you understand the many customization options. A nearly endless number of themes are available on the Play Store as well, allowing you to truly make your homescreen your own.

The launcher that comes with CyanogenMod, called Trebuchet, isn’t available on the Play Store, but Bazooka Launcher is similar in functionality. It has a large amounts of themes available and even replaces the lock screen by default.

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Bazooka-Launcher-1

Both of these launchers allow for creating folders, changing icons, and being used in landscape orientation. I really think that every Android device should ship with a more customizable launcher experience like these launchers offer. Download both and give them a try to see which you like better. ADW seems to offer a better stock experience, while Bazooka seems to be all about themes.

Clock Widget

On Cyanogenmod, the cLock widget is famous for being highly customizable and gorgeous. It can be put on your homescreen as well as your lock screen if you’re running Android 4.2 or newer.

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It shows the time, any alarms you have set, the current weather, and it can even show upcoming calendar events. Recently, a few changes took place: it had a name change and became Chronus, and it stopped being a CyanogenMod exclusive. You can find it on the Play Store if you’re running Android 4.1 or above.

Settings Toggles

Stock Android, before the introduction of Quick Settings in 4.2, didn’t have any toggles for settings from the notification drawer. Some phone makers changed that like Samsung with their TouchWiz interface, but even then, they’re usually not very customizable.

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With 1Tap Settings, you can do a lot from your notification drawer. Toggle your GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, even launch certain apps or put contacts in there. The possibilities are endless, and it brings you one step closer to the Quick Settings found natively in CyanogenMod.

Dialer

The phone dialer in CyanogenMod bears resemblance to the stock Android dialer, and for good reason: it’s a great dialer. Unfortunately, lots of manufacturers muck up stock Android with their interfaces, often cluttering up the dialer and making it all the more annoying to use.

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Swipe Dialer Free offers a nearly stock Android dialer experience with a few added extras. Contacts will pop up as you type them in using the number pad — which is only available on stock Android 4.3 or some manufacturers’ skins like Samsung’s TouchWiz — and it has a fourth tab for favorites. Additional customizations are available in the Pro version that costs $1.59.

Calculator

Many manufacturers bundle some kind of calculator with their software, but nothing beats the CyanogenMod calculator. It offers a simple interface while retaining the ability to do more complex calculations.

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Swiping from side to side in the app allows you to access the different types of text entry panels, and tapping the blank bar near the top will hide the panels so that you can see your history.

Camera App

Another CyanogenMod app to recently hit CyanogenMod's Focal Camera App Lands In The Google Play Store CyanogenMod's Focal Camera App Lands In The Google Play Store Focal has now officially landed on the Play Store for anyone running Android 4.1+ to download. Many users still swear by Focal as the best camera app available. Read More the Play Store is Focal, the simple yet powerful camera app. It’s actually no longer available in CyanogenMod builds after the developers had a bit of a falling out, but at least now it available for all in the Play Store.

Focal-Camera-1

By default, the shutter button and focus ring are the only things visible on the screen. Options can be found by swiping in from the left side and the gallery can be accessed by pulling down from the top. To access other shooting modes, you hold the shutter button and swipe away from it.

Conclusion

CyanogenMod is a great ROM, but I’m certainly happy to see that more pieces of it are becoming available on the Play Store. Releasing apps on the Play Store is a fantastic way to reach the largest number of users, rather than trapping apps inside a specific ROM. Besides, not everyone is comfortable rooting their device or has the time to do it.

If this isn’t enough for you, though, we do have a handy guide 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 on how to install CyanogenMod. Plus, it does look like the CyanogenMod team will be releasing a One-Click Installer CyanogenMod To Make One-Click Installer On Play Store CyanogenMod To Make One-Click Installer On Play Store The makers of CyanogenMod, one of the best custom ROMs based on Android, announced on Wednesday that CyanogenMod will be turned into an app you can download and install from the Play Store on unlocked... Read More on the Play Store soon, so don’t despair if the process seems too complicated right now.

Do you use CyanogenMod, a different ROM, or do you just customize your device with Play Store apps? Are there any apps that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Kamran T
    October 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    you have not entered about xposed framework and xtheme engine

  2. Rudi Pittman
    October 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    He said that David. "Another CyanogenMod app to recently hit the Play Store is Focal, the simple yet powerful camera app. It’s actually no longer available in CyanogenMod builds after the developers had a bit of a falling out, but at least now it available for all in the Play Store."

  3. David
    October 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Focal is no longer a CM app

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