If you’re like me you might have upgraded your phone a fair amount of times over the last few years, and just like grandpa Simpson languishes in the nursing home, your old equipment gets left behind with no updates to keep it fresh, and it ends up looking sad and old. Now, I personally don’t mind walking the mindfield that is the custom ROM, (I’ve even done it to my good old Galaxy Tab 7.7) but there is an easier way. Meet the CyanogenMod installer app, now available on Google Play.
You can take your old phone, convert it into a fresh little smartphone that’s snappier and full of new features that you would never have got if you left it in the hands of the original manufacturer. and it is really easy to do. In fact I’m going to show you can convert your sad old phone into a fully updated Android weapon of mass communication in a few ridiculously easy steps, using the CyanogenMod installer app.
First go to Google Play and download the official Cyanogenmod installer app. Open it and it will make sure that you have setup the phone for the installation. Back up all your personal stuff like photos etc, because the phone will be wiped. The CyanogenMod installer app will prompt you to go to get.cm where you then download the installer onto your Windows PC.
Run the downloaded file and it will open up a dialog box where it will ask you to connect your smartphone. It will then download the relevant operating system and system apps for your phone and then give you the go ahead to install. You just press install and your phone will go into download mode, then if all goes well you should see the blue CM man giving you a wave, hey there blue man, and then it will reboot and you have the latest Cyanogenmod OS on your phone. You can choose to set up an account with CM, then log into google, and the great thing is all the standard google apps are preloaded – you don’t have to do a thing.
And on the particular phone we tried it on, the Samsung Galaxy S3, it’s been upgraded to Android 4.3.1 – not too shabby. As you can see on the video below it’s pretty snappy, and you can really get down and dig into the settings to customise it – it’s honestly like having a new phone. No bloatware, nice and quick and of course free.
So that was a short but sweet demo of the new CyanogenMod installer app – great if you’ve got an old phone that is real creaky and could do with a refresh. A couple of pointers – once you go CM, you can’t easily revert back to the original OS, so maybe do a bit of research before you decide to jump in. You also lose some of the unique hardware features that CM doesn’t yet support, so be aware of that as well if you’re planning on switching and like to use things like smart stay, or watch now, or air view.
And lastly, sometimes the installation won’t go the way you would have liked it to, and you might have to get your geek on. For example I tried this on an original Galaxy Note and I ended up having to replace the driver on the Note using a Zadig program – it’s not always plain sailing. That said, I found the answer pretty quickly on the CM forums, so go through that as a lot of people are talking about issues with their phones and others are coming up with solutions.
So is the CyanogenMod installer attractive to you, have you given it a go and have you had any issues?
UPDATE: It looks like there is now an extra step for the Installer, as Google Play have now pulled the CM Installer app from their store. Here are the sideloading steps you now need to take: http://beta.download.cyanogenmod.org/install