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Stuff that matters - at least for me.

Why You Really Should Run Cyanogenmod 12 on Your Nexus 5

All who know me, know that I rather eat steak instead of pizza, work with Linux instead of Windows or Mac, and vastly prefer android to any other option.

A few months ago, when my old, trusty Samsung Galaxy S3 started to die, I bought a Google/LG Nexus 5. For the price, I got an excellent phone I am happy with.


I was so stoked when Android Lollipop 5.0 came out that I couldn’t wait for the OTA update, but rather unlocked my bootloader and installed the factory image I downloaded from the Google developer page.

For months, I was pretty happy. The UI was more responsive, I had less lag, it felt as if either 3G and WLAN connections were faster, and the battery held up for longer. There were quite a handful of annoying bugs, though. I mean, I am using my phone a lot. And having to reboot the phone every other day because of the memory leaks got old pretty fast.

So, I was chuffed to bits when they announced Lollipop 5.1. This time, I waited for the OTA update, and lo and behold, it arrived a few weeks ago.

And frankly, it’s bollocks. It blows. It’s just bad, bad, bad. The memory leak didn’t disappear, but got worse. I was no longer bothering with rebooting the device every other day, because before I could do that, it locked up every single day and rebooted. Oh, and then I still had to remove all the re-opened programs by hand. Yes, I had to swipe every single one. And then more often than not, I had to reboot the phone again.

Please, let me also tell you about the battery life. Yesterday morning I was surfing the web with a dimmed screen, just after unplugging the phone from the charger. After 30 minutes the battery was at 42%. Forty-two. Effing two times twenty-one.

I subsequently informed myself about the current state of Cyanogenmod. I learned that the release 12 still has no stable candidate. It’s all nightlies - or nothing. Still, I was so fed up with the current state that I had to give it a try. So, after an unsuccessful attempt to install CWM (hint: don’t reboot into android, go straight to bootloader, install the zips you hopefully pushed earlier), after 20 minutes, CM 12 was booting the first time.

And I am happy. Why?

  • better battery life (I am at 11 hours, charged it for about 10 minutes from 54% to 62%, and I am still at 33%)
  • more stability
  • fewer memory leaks
  • smoother UI
  • more customization options (lock screen, brightness, fonts, themes, …)
  • same improvements UI-wise and featurewise that I love in Lollipop (unlock features, flat design, pinning, …)
  • I can use Titanium Backup again
  • Privacy Features (and SuperSU works again, too)
  • shhh … there’s a button that closes ALL open programs and tabs at once. No more swiping your fingers to a stump!

So, if you feel that you have been handed a doozy with the Lollipop 5.1 update on your Nexus 5, don’t hesitate, grab CM 12. In all honesty, it can’t be worse than the current state.

Do it.

Disclaimer: there are bugs, and annoyances (like the wording in the ‘sensitive notifications’ settings, or the fact that you have to remove spaces from a filename before it can be used as a ringtone). But that’s nothing compared to the utter clusterfuck of Lollipop 5.1 stock ROM for Nexus 5 hammerhead.

And - Google: a word. A handful of volunteers manage to improve your AOSP vastly beyond anything you made of it yourself. Why can’t you do the same? It’s a real shame.