Custom ROMs are very popular, but installation is often overly laborious. The CyanogenMod team wants to change that with Installer, an installation program that can also be used by people with little technical knowledge. Today I tested the software, which is still in its Beta version, and here are my impressions.
THE CyanogenMod Installer has two components: an Android app will help you prepare your smartphone for the Windows installer, which actually does all the work. If you want to test the CyanogenMod Installer, you must first place an order in the program’s Beta community on Google+. If it is accepted, you will receive more information and download links. The Google+ community can be found here: CyanogenMod Installer Beta
Note: I tested the CyanogenMod Installer on a Nexus 4.
The app actually has only one function: it prepares your smartphone for the installation process, performed later by the Windows program. It will be checked if USB debugging is enabled and if the USB PTP transfer mode is configured on your smartphone. The application will help you step-by-step through each configuration, and at the end will show you a link to download the installer for Windows Vista 7/8.
After you have downloaded, installed and started the CyanogenMod Installer for Windows, it will be updated first. This may take a few minutes the first time. In my test this process took 15 minutes. After the update, the Installer will ask you to disable your antivirus program before proceeding. This is necessary so that the Installer has free access to the system and is not blocked, a fact that could lead to complications and failed installations. Then, you must connect your smartphone via USB to your computer and wait for CyanogenMod to be recognized.
After being recognized, the Installer starts to download the recovery software, CyanogenMod itself and Google Apps. This can take up to an hour, depending on your internet speed. The progress you can check on the download bar. Here in the AndroidPIT newsroom the download took an hour.
When finished downloading, the CyanogenMod Installer is ready to install the ROM, and informs that during the installation a factory reset will be done, and with that all data from the device’s internal memory will be erased. If you have not yet backed up by now, this is your last chance. Unfortunately the CyanogenMod Installer does not offer this function. You must download it manually or use a tool like Helium (see here how to backup).
After clicking on the “Install” button, the bootloader is unlocked first, and you must confirm this on the device. After that obstacle, recovery, CyanogenMod and Google Apps are installed. This takes about five minutes, and in the end you just need to make the first settings on your device and you can now use CyanogenMod!
Attention: with the installation complete, don’t forget to activate your antivirus again, so that your computer remains protected.
Depending on the version of the smartphone, installing a customized ROM can be quite laborious: the bootloader needs to be unlocked, the device must be rooted and a custom-recovery needs to be installed. Only then can CyanogenMod & Co. be flashed, if it is not necessary to flash a boot image. This discourages many users before they even try. Despite this, I think everyone should do this process at least once before testing the CyanogenMod Installer’s 1-click solution, to familiarize themselves with the story and know what happens at each stage. For the rest, I only see advantages in the Installer. The time savings are enormous, because the whole process takes place automatically. The installation is comfortable and the margin for errors is much less.
Information: Currently, the Installer is only compatible with some devices, including the Google Nexus series. Other smartphones / tablets will be included throughout the development of the program. Here is the list of devices that can already receive you (on 10/8/2013):
- Galaxy Nexus (maguro, toro, toroplus)
- Nexus S (curly)
- Nexus 7 (grouper)
- Nexus 7 – 2013 (flo)
- Nexus 4 (mako)
- Nexus 10 (blanket)
- Galaxy S2 (skyrocket, hercules, i9100)
- Galaxy S3 (i9300, d2att, d2spr, d2tmo)
- Galaxy S4 (jfltexx)
- Galaxy Note (quincyatt, quincytmo)
- Galaxy Note 2 (t0ltetmo)
- HTC One (m7ul)
If you also decide to test the Beta version, share your impressions with us in the comments!