In the custom ROM world, the name CyanogenMod derives a lot of respect and admiration. Unlike the more flashier ROMs like Paranoid Android and MIUI, CM has always been the quieter, more focused cousin. What it compromises in terms of over the top features, it gains in solid reliability and less but important functionality.
When CyanogenMod graduated from 10 to 11, not much changed. It still had the same stock Android look and offered some extra features here and there. Yes, it was fast and stable.
If you’re running CM 11 or just upgraded from 10 to 11, you might be forgiven to think that CM has perhaps become a dud, lost its charm maybe. But you’re not looking deep enough. Because with CM 11, there are many little things that still make CM one of the best ROMs out there.
It’s the little things.
1. Download Speed In Notifications
CM 11 by default shows you the download speed when you’re downloading something, anything that shows up in the notifications drawer. That means apps from Play Store or downloading any file from the internet.
2. Status Bar Tweaks
CM was the first ROM to bring the status bar brightness control feature (used to be a pretty big deal in 2011). It allows you to increase or decrease the brightness just by swiping your finger across the status bar. It was amazingly useful then and continues to be so even today.
Another neat feature that you can access from Settings -> Status Bar is Double-tap to sleep and it puts your phone to sleep when you double tap the status bar. It’s easy and works every time. If you’re carrying a particularly big phone with a hard to reach power button, this feature can be helpful.
3. Bring Back The Notification Toggles
CM 10 used to come with default notifications toggles in the notifications drawer (not the quick settings panel). It would have toggles like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc by default and you could add more.
If you just installed CM 11, you’ll find there are no such toggles. The developers might have skipped it thinking the quick settings panel was just two finger swipe away. But I like those toggles and if you do too, there’s a way to bring them back.
Go to Settings -> Notifications Drawer and under the Quick Access Ribbon title you’ll find an option that says Show in drawer. Check that option and all the toggles and options you have in the quick settings panel will show up in the drawer as a horizontal scroll.
Only after you uncheck the option Linked Layout can you customize it. From the Tiles and Layout menu, drag around the options that you want to see in the drawer.
The process is a lot longer than what I would have wished for, but hey, you got the toggles back!
4. Google Now Gesture Shortcuts
From Settings -> Buttons -> Quick launch shortcuts you can add two more shortcuts to the swipe up from home gesture that usually launches Google Now. You can remove the Google Now functionality entirety if you want.
You can add any app, or shortcuts like torch, camera, screenshot etc.
5. Pulse Notifications
If you have a phone with RGB notification light, you can create wonderful notification colors for different apps. This is also possible with apps like Light Flow but in CM 11 you have this feature built-in.
Go to Settings -> Display and lights -> Pulse notifications and play around with it.
6. Heads Up Notifications
Previously I’ve shown you how to get Android L’s heads up notifications on any Android 4.3+ device using an app called Heads Up! If you’re running a relatively new version of CM 11, you can enable this option from Settings -> Notifications drawer -> Heads up without the need to install any app.
The feature only has two options (lot less than the Heads Up! app). You can add apps you don’t want heads up notifications from to a blacklist or add apps where you don’t want to see heads up notifications to a do not disturb list.
7. Increase Or Decrease Font Size
Stock Android lets you increase the font size from Accessibility but you don’t really have much control over the specifics. If your eyes are weary or you think the font size if too small, go to Settings -> Display & lights and from the Font size play around with the slider. It can go up to 130% from 100% default.
On the other hand, if you want to view more text on your screen, you can decrease the text to 85%.
8. Theme Engine
Theme Engine isn’t really a small thing. It’s one of the headlining features of CM 11 and many other AOSP ROMs. But still it needs to be mentioned. I’ve written a complete guide on how to use Theme Engine and listed the best themes for you.
With Theme Engine, for the first time on Android, you’ll find themes that are actually beautiful. Thanks to the rewritten Theme Engine you can mix and match different components of one theme with another.
What Do You Like Most About CM?
Are you a CM fan? Let us know your favorite thing about CM in the comments below.
Last updated on 23 February, 2022
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