Should I Modify ("mod") my device?
When making the decision on whether or not to modify the software on your device, several factors come into play. Your Android device is pretty much a full computer (and if it's a phone it has additional mobile functions), so it may help to think of it in the same way as you would consider modifying your laptop or desktop computer from its stock installation.
Common reasons to modify your device's operating system include:
- Remove unwanted programs ("bloatware") installed by your carrier
- Receive more frequent security updates (ie, get the latest fixes from Google in the newer OSes)
- Having access to the most current version of Android available (including new features)
- Most carriers take months to update to the latest version of Android, whereas rooted devices usually receive updates within days or weeks
- Better performance
- Extra features
Common concerns include the following:
- Some device manufacturers or mobile providers may offer a limited or voided warranty after modifying
- It is possible that by installing a rooted operating system, you may be introducing new potential security issues (although this argument could be switched-- older operating systems may be insecure as well...)
- Non-stock firmware could contain malicious code - which is a good argument for making sure you download custom ROMs from a trusted source, or even better, learn to build it yourself!
- Stability issues may arise when using an experimental operating system. However, for many people, CyanogenMod has proven to be more stable than most 'official' ROMs.
To read more about the pros and cons of rooting and installing custom roms, check out this article from Android Authority.
For a good overview of CyanogenMod specifically, check out this article from Addictive Tips.
Why use CyanogenMod?
What's a list of 'why' without some compelling reasons to entice you?
The core ideas are the same throughout our releases:
- Light footprint
This translates into an abundance of features that let you truly own your phone.
- Feature List
CM Updater: Never miss an update! Our updater not only let's you have the latest releases, but you can update on your own schedule.
Privacy Guard: Control what your applications can learn about you and your contacts. Protect yourself with a simple click, or long press an app to delve deep.
Global Blacklist: Baked right into the OS is the ability to flag telemarketers, robo-callers, annoying people (yes even the in-laws) and blacklist them. Never receive another call or message from them (or maybe just ignore them for a little bit).
Quick Setting Ribbon: Embed quick toggles (and even your camera) right in your notification drawer. Just one swipe away.
Quick Settings Config: Whether using the ribbon view, or the larger grid view, customize the layout and order of your quick settings.
Theme: With the integrated theme engine, you can change the look and feel of the entire OS. Sports fan? Why not get a sports theme for your favorite team. Or maybe you just need a lighter overall look. Or red, green, or yellow. Endless possibilities!
Trebuchet: Not only does our custom, application 'Trebuchet' allow for customizing the layout of the homescreen, but it also features integrated icon pack support! With custom icon packs, you can taking your themeing and customization to a whole new level.
Status Bar Behavior: Customize your status bar and unlock some additional behavior. Tap the time to quickly set an alarm or tap the date to access your calendar. Show or hide as much as you'd like.
CM Account: We built in a secure, encrypted and optional service right in. Get remote find and wipe capabilities (for free) so even if you lose your device, you still have some control.
CM File Manager: Organize, edit and manage your files with this simple - yet powerful - file manager.
Display and Lights: Control brightness, rotation, wallpapers, remote displays, notification lights and battery lights. You decide what suits your tastes.
Profiles: Our lives are always subject to context - what's appropriate at home may not be at work. So why aren't our devicess? With profiles you can control application, sounds and even connectivity to quickly adapt to the environment in which you are using your phone. Go one step further and set up a profile to be location aware, or use NFC to trigger a profile change.
Button Configuration: Enable additional functionality from your hardware keys, or even remap them altogether. Your choice.
Navbar: Why stop at hardware buttons? Customize the software navigation bar to your liking as well.
LockScreen: Add quick unlock targets to access your favorite apps directly from the lockscreen. Use our custom lockscreen widget to increase your productivity - show the weather and your calendar events without unlocking the device. Optionally display battery status or even your name and ICE information.
DSP Manager: For you audiophiles, unlock the potential of your speakers and tune your music to your liking with our built in Equalizer.
Tethering: Share your device's data connection with your PC, tablets, friends and families with built in tethering over USB, WiFi and Bluetooth.
Developer Tools: We add a bit more for developers as well. Customize your device hostname, go wireless and use ADB over your network.
Root Access: Useful to developers and users alike, control your exposure to root applications and debugging tools.
Superuser: Manage what apps you've granted root access to, check access logs, and revoke their when you are done.
Performance Options: Push it up to eleven and access power tools to over-clock, manage device governors and more. Recommended for advanced users only.
Advance Device controls: These options vary by device, but allow for even more control over the hardware on your phones.
SMS Rate limit: There are bad apps out there, and one common vector is to make money off of spamming bogus SMS message services. Get a notice if your phone is sending higher than normal message counts. Or maybe you just have a teenager and this is perfectly normal.